Best place to deer hunt within 2 hours of Northern Virginia

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Best place to deer hunt within 2 hours of Northern Virginia

Postby whitewolf393 » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:44 pm

Here's a challenge for my fellow deer hunters - what's the "best" place to hopefully get a deer one a WMA that's no more than 2 hours from where I live in Alexandria, right outside DC. I want to get some venison before rifle season ends, and I'm hoping I can get some advice on the best public land to do that, if there is any, within that distance. I've been the Phelps but that place seems tapped out.

As always, any info is greatly appreciated!
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Postby SeaCop » Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:29 pm

If you can deal with all the restrictions and regulations, Ft A P Hill in Caroline Co. is one of the best places that I hunted when I lived in Fredericksburg. Its a military base but it is open to the public and you have to follow some really strict rules.

I also hunted Pettigrew WMA. Its on Hwy 17 just outside of Fredericksburg. According to the game regulations its a great place for deer. I never had any luck killing a deer, but I did see a few.
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Postby whitewolf393 » Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:47 pm

Thanks, SeaCop. I know about AP Hill, but I don't feel like taking the hunter's education course at this point. A friend of mine has taken two deer from there.

I'll check out the Pettigrew, it may be worth it.
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Postby mitchmtm1 » Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:29 pm

Yep A.P Hill is probably the best odds, but I have never hunted there either. I don't want to jump thru hoops and take the hunters safety course again either.

Phelps is now in late archery season and either $ex deer can be taken. The hunting is usually pretty good now, but I haven't seen many lately.

Pettigrew has deer, but I have never done well or seen many there. It is shotgun only. Only the last week of firearms season is either $ex (the other two days are passed)

I don't know much about Thompson except that there is only one either deer day and it is the last day of firearms season.

Rappidan may be a good choice for you. I am heading over there sometime this week. Rifles are legal. Either $ex deer season for the rest of the year. AND there are lots of bear there...nice bonus if you get a nice bruin. I would recommend doing some research before trying the rappidan and a GPS is very helpful. It is some big country there and getting lost could be very bad.


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Postby whitewolf393 » Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:44 am

Mitch,

Thanks very much for the info. I won't bother with the Pettigrew I don't think. I'll head to the Rapidan super early this Saturday morning since I didn't get the jump on it today. You're right - a bruin would be a nice bonus :]

Let us know how you do if you go this week!
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Postby Movinon » Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:22 am

Ok, I for one will give AP Hill its props. I have hunted there for 15 years and the program they have established just gets better each and every year. Yes, you need a hunter?s safety course. If you don?t have one it worth a few extra hours just to have the privilege to hunt there. You also need a background check every year (the same check you get when you buy a gun). They do the check there when you apply for your permit. It cost $50 per year to hunt there. They now have an automated phone reservation system so there is no standing in line. This year they added two machines where you swipe your access pass and it issues your permit for the day you hunt. Also this year they have implemented quality management limiting each hunter to only two bucks and one must have 4 points of better on one side. You are allowed to shoot as many does as you want. So far this year, I have one doe with the bow a 7 pointer T-giving week and this past Saturday I shot my biggest buck since hunting the hill, a dandy eight pointer with a 17 in spread. He is going to look great on the wall. Since the management restrictions this year I have been choosy on picking which bucks to shoot. I passed up a 6 pointer opening day of muzzleloader season and a spike. I did miss a big buck the same day but I am certain it?s the same one I killed this past Saturday. Oh, and they limit the number of hunters allowed in a particular area based on acreage. I am told it?s roughly one hunter per 125 acres.
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Postby whitewolf393 » Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:58 pm

One hunter per 125 acres is pretty impressive, as opposed to one every 1.25 acres on public land, or least the tracts I've visited as of late. I'm hoping the Rapidan will fare better, because I like to get out into the steep hills a bit when I hunt, and get the experience of it all as well as some meat out of it.

I will probably take the hunter education course if they offer it close enough to home here, so I'll have the option of hunting AP Hill. God knows I've been there more times than I can count for training exercises, so I'm familiar with the place already.
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Postby bsn » Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:28 pm

Rapidan doen't have alot of deer, but most are pretty good quality. My son has hunted Thompson for a few years, there are deer there but also lots of pressure.
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Postby Movinon » Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:56 am

If you bow hunt, FT Belvoir is probably one of the best places to hunt in N VA. You have to qualify at 20 and 30 yards (two out of three broad heads in a paper plate). Lot?s of big bucks. :D
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Postby SeaCop » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:19 am

I've heard that the new regulations, like background checks and gun registration, have really cut down the number of hunters at AP Hill.

Any truth to it??

I've actually thought about heading back up there for a weekend hunt next year.
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Postby Movinon » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:47 am

It's really hard to tell, particularly since they now have a phone reservation system whereby you call out the night prior and pick your pass up in the morning. As you know, areas are opened and closed based on training requirements.
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Postby whitewolf393 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:49 pm

No, I don't bowhunt at all, and I told myself I'd never start :O
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Have you tried Quantico

Postby pez814 » Sun Jan 28, 2007 1:35 am

I was talking to a marine last week who is an avid bowhunter. He mentioned that Quantico was a good place to hunt and they were going to extend the season there into early February.
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Postby TxninVA » Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:34 pm

A guy at work hunts Quantico and he said the season was extended until 50 more deer were taken, no deadline date.
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