Individual Archer Standards

Individual Archer and Archer Organization Standards

Sustainability of deer harvests in developed areas will depend on mutual respect between landowners and hunters. It is unfortunate that the reputation of hunters in general is that they are not always respectful of safety, people they encounter during hunts, private property, or landowners.  Whether archers deserve such a reputation is open to debate.  What is not open to debate is that every archer represents all archers in developing and maintaining the respect they all require to be granted access to hunt on private properties.  

To foster a high level of respect among landowners and archers, Fairfax County sets high standards for archer skills and behavior. Archer groups participating in the Fairfax County Deer Management Archery Program (FCDMAP) must demonstrate that they both enforce and maintain the following Individual and Archer Organization Standards.


  • Each archer will keep an accurate log of each hunt to include:

    • Address of property hunted
    • Date
    • Start and end times of hunt
    • Number of deer observed
    • Number of shots taken
    • Number of arrows retrieved
    • Number of deer shot
    • Number of deer retrieved
    • Sex & age (fawn, yearling, adult) of deer retrieved
    • Disposition of each deer (archer, landowner, Hunters for the Homeless, private charity)
    • A brief narrative describing any significant events or observations that influenced your behavior in the field or that might be interpreted as a violation of these rules.  Include any observations of poor deer health or previous injury and people and animals other than deer encountered.
    • Enter hunt log information within 24 hours of the end of each hunt.
    • Report to your Archery Group Leader with any questions about or any violation of these Individual Archer Standards.

  • A special parking pass permit MUST be clearly displayed in the window of each vehicle belonging to an archery group participant parked on site.

  • Hunting is only permitted in designated hunt areas. Designated hunt areas will be clearly shown on park site maps provided to members of each selected Archery Group.

  • All qualified participants agree to abide by the rules, regulations or restrictions stipulated when participating in Archery Program activities.

Respect for Deer

  • Understand proper shot placement from all directions and elevations (including which shots not to take).

  • Exercise self-control – only shots with a high probability of quickly dispatching the deer should be taken.

  • Pass the County shooting proficiency test every two years.

  • Maintain your equipment in top condition at all times. Be sure your equipment is tuned and set up properly.

  • Practice as often as possible to keep your form and confidence.

  • Do everything in your power to retrieve any deer you wound and to put it to beneficial use.

  • Track a wounded animal until found. If the animal moves off the park property and advanced permission to enter for the purpose of tracking and retrieving has not been documented for the other property(-ies) involved, attempt to obtain permission to enter for tracking purposes. If unable to obtain permission, notify your group leader immediately. As soon as practicable, report the incident to your archery group.

  • If unable to locate a wounded animal, notify your archery group.

  • Plan how to make beneficial use of retrieved deer in advance of each hunt.

Respect for Property

  • When scouting or hunting, each archer’s vehicle shall display a parking pass issued by the FCDMAP.

  • Park on private property only at areas designated by your FCDMAP park map or park profile.

  • When scouting, hunting, or tracking/retrieving, protect foliage, crops and plants from damage, alteration or destruction.

  • Use only tree stands of a type that will not damage the tree.

  • Label all gear left in the park with your personal archer ID number.

  • Report trespass by any person to your archer group leader.

Respect for Landowners

  • Act courteously and respectfully while on private property.

  • Field dress animals in the woods well away from groves, trails, or other places where non-hunters travel frequently.

Respect for the Public (including individuals with values opposed to deer hunting)

  • Act courteously and respectfully toward any neighbor, passerby, or any other person encountered during any phase of a hunt.

  • If verbally assaulted, avoid engaging in an argument or becoming abusive. Under such circumstances, leave the area immediately and, if deemed appropriate, call the police. As soon as practicable, report the incident to your archery group’s designated incident responder and include details in your hunt log. You may advise any person that you may report violations of Virginia law regarding the illegality of interfering with a hunt, Virginia Code § 29.1-521.1. “Willfully impeding hunting or trapping”.  

  • Cover harvested animals at all times during transport when non-hunters may see them.

  • If a wounded animal moves to or dies in a conspicuous area, such as a field, grove, or roadway, remove the animal from the area and if a problem arises, contact your archer group for instructions.

Respect for Game Laws

  • Obey all Virginia State Game Laws

  • Participants are permitted to use crossbows or compound bows ONLY during the Archery Program.

  • When hunting, carry:

    • A valid photo identification card
    • A current Virginia hunting license and archery license or crossbow license
    • Big game tag and a DPOP tag
    • A local map showing properties for which advance permission to track and retrieve has been granted

  • During the regular hunting season where firearms may be in use, wear or display blaze orange as required by Virginia Game Laws. Check the state regulations for the minimum amount required.

  • Check the deer in on the day of harvest as required by Virginia Game Laws (Requirements may differ if hunting under kill permits or other State permits)

  • Report all violations of game law as recommended in Virginia regulations. In addition, report those violations to your archer group.

  • The Archery Program is a management tool used for deer population control in Fairfax County. “Earn-A-Buck” will be implemented again. The guidelines for this program will be discussed at the Safety Briefings and disseminated by the Group Leaders.

  • Participants will operate under special permit. No personal big game tags, with the exception of buck tags, will be used during the Archery Program. DPOP game tags will be supplied by the State. All deer must be tagged prior to leaving parkland.

Respect for Safety

  • When entering or exiting the woods in the dark, use a flashlight or other illuminating device.

  • Hunt from an elevated tree stand placed a minimum of 10 feet above the base of the tree in which the stand is placed.

  • Wear a safety harness at all times while hunting from a tree stand including ascent and descent.

  • Use an indelible marker to identify each arrow with your archer identification number issued by FCDMAP. Record all arrows used in the hunt log. Report the circumstances of any missing or unrecovered arrows as specified you your group’s incident response plan.

  • Tree stands must not be located closer than 100 feet from a visible property line with a neighboring property or closer than 50 feet from a park trail.

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