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VIRGINIA LAW AFFECTING LIONS

Awareness and preparation are powerful precursors to positive integration


In the box below you will find all the governing state statutes, mountain lion legal status, state laws, information about the state legislature, initiative and referendum processes, and the state wildlife agency, mountain lion management plans, mountain lion hunting laws, depredation laws, and other regulations as appropriate.

    USE THE TABS TO THE LEFT TO EXPLORE:
  • Return to the portal page for Virginia.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Virginia.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Virginia.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Virginia.

  • Cougar science and research in Virginia.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

Virginia Cougar Laws and Regulations



Generally, treatment of wildlife in the Commonwealth of Virginia is governed by the Code of Virginia – the state’s collection of all its current laws. Since our summary below may not be completely up to date, you should be sure to review the most current law for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

You can check the statutes directly at a state-managed website
These statutes are searchable.


Virginia’s wildlife regulations can be found in Agency 15 – Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in the Virginia Administrative Code – the state’s collection of all its agencies’ regulations. The regulations are written by the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The Legislature

The Virginia General Assembly is the state’s bicameral legislature. Established on July 30, 1619, the Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuously active legislature in the Western Hemisphere. The legislature’s lower chamber – the House of Delegates – is made up of 100 members who serve 2-year terms. The Republican Party has controlled the Virginia House of Delegates since 2000. The upper chamber – the Senate – consists of 40 members who serve 4-year terms. Unlike other in states, Virginia’s state legislators are elected in odd-numbered years. You may contact your Virginia state delegate here and your Virginia state senator here.

The Virginia Constitution requires the General Assembly to meet yearly on the second Wednesday in January. Regular sessions are limited to 60 days in even-numbered years and 30 days in odd-numbered years. However, regular sessions may be extended up to 30 days if two-thirds of the members of each chamber vote to do so. The governor may call special legislative sessions when he or she believes it necessary, or when he or she receives a petition for a special session from two-thirds of the members of each legislative chamber. On the sixth Wednesday after the adjournment of a regular or special session, the General Assembly must reconvene in order to consider bills that the governor has returned with recommendations for amendment or with objections. These sessions are limited to 3 days unless a majority of the members of each chamber vote to extend the session for up to 7 days.


Click here to visit the scorecard's website...



Environmental Scorecard

League of Conservation Voters

The League of Conservation Voters' scorecard considers the State Legislature's environmental records since 1971. It quantifies the environmental votes of each individual legislator — an important first step in considering accountability — and provides critical qualitative assessments as well. The scorecard will help you to know your legislator before you write a letter in support of cougars.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.



Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Robert “Bob” Duncan, Executive Director

Director’s Office
Virginia Department of Game and
Inland Fisheries
P.O. Box 90778
Henrico, VA 23228
(505) 476-8000


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Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in VA.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.


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