We are your neighbors and friends, people from all walks of life, with a strong desire to pass the hunting heritage to the next generation of hunters. We volunteer our time and knowledge to teach, mentor, and support hunters of all ages, genders, abilities, and backgrounds. Virginia has several hundred certified volunteer instructors across the state.

The Virginia Hunter Education Association (VAHEA), a 501 ( c) (3) non-profit organization, began in 2007 with a group of volunteer hunter education instructors. Our goal is to work in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to support and improve hunter education opportunities. The cooperation between DWR Recreational Safety Coordinators, Conservation Police Officers, and volunteer instructors keeps the hunter education program in Virginia successful. 

We strive to improve our teaching abilities through DWR advanced instructor training, equipment acquisition for the classroom and hands-on activities, and creative class and workshop development to keep Virginians interested, active, ethical, and responsible hunters.

We teach basic hunter education classes, wildlife management, species-specific hunting workshops, webinars, and more, always with an emphasis on ethical behavior, safe firearm handling and shooting skills. We understand that each individual hunter represents the hunting community as a whole and has the responsibility to make a positive impact on conservation, the public’s perception of hunting, and our ability as citizens to maintain access to Virginia’s rich wildlife resources for future generations.

Our leadership consists of VAHEA members elected by VAHEA members. Officers and regional directors serve two-year terms with no financial compensation. We are always entirely volunteer.

Calendar of events



March 18, 2023

Hunter Skills Weekend

September 15-17, 2023

Go to Registration Page

(You will be re-routed to the Holiday Lake 4-H Center Page)

Bulletin BOard


January 21, 2023

Shady Grove Kennel and Hunting Preserve, Remington, VA

Fifteen participants spent the day with a great group of experienced volunteer instructors. The day included tips on how to be safe with firearms, how to hunt in groups and with a working dog, some practice shooting on clay birds, a hearty lunch, then going afield with dogs and handlers to find birds. Thanks to the partners that helped make this event possible – Leslie and Neil of Shady Grove, the Virginia DWR, and event coordinators Glenn Waleska and Aaron Grimsley. 

Hunt (8 of 8)


Since the September 2022 Hunter Skills Weekend  participants have been putting their lessons into practice. 

Maria DeCristroforo, Megan Coley, and Richard Gabbert, pictured here, recently went on a pheasant hunt at Shady Grove Kennels and Hunting Preserve in Remington, VA. with DWR Master Instructor and guide/dog handler Aaron Grimsley. How did it go?

  • “I was out with Aaron this afternoon and had a fantastic time.”
  • “I had a great time and was so excited for my first pheasant hunt!”
  • “Hunting with Aaron and his dogs was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It was a joy to be outside in great company with an amazing guide and dogs.”

This is why we do what we do as volunteer instructors and members of VAHEA. Thanks, Maria, Megan, and Richard for sharing your experience with us!

hunter skills weekend 2022


September 23-25, 2022 

Perfect weather set the stage for a fun-filled weekend at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox for the annual Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend. This year’s crowd of 85 students participated in classes all over the grounds, taking advantage of the multiple firearm and archery ranges, open-air classrooms, and wooded surroundings.

Organized and planned by VAHEA members, the event is staffed primarily by certified volunteer Virginia DWR hunter education instructors and offers nearly 30 different activities during the two-day weekend. Lodging, meals, and registration support were handled by the Holiday Lake Center staff, and event partner DWR provided equipment and staff support from a small game biologist, a local wildlife manager, and several recreational program coordinators.

New classes were offered in advanced shotgun shooting, bear hunting, and tracking. Popular recurring classes included a guided squirrel hunt, archery, muzzleloading, rifle, skeet, basic shotgun shooting, deer hunting skills, field to table deer processing, and wild game cooking.

An estimated 85% of the participants were first-time attendees. Many newcomers shared that they did not know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the diversity of opportunities and the level of experience and enthusiasm from the team of instructors. That’s what we like to hear!


Logo design by Tori Farmer

The new VAHEA logo represents our core values:

Blaze Orange is the universally recognized color for hunting safety

The four Compass points represent Ethics, Integrity, Values, and Respect

The Tree signifies strength in the power of knowledge and education

The Deer and Turkey represent Virginia’s most successful wildlife restoration efforts, conveying the positive impact hunters have on conservation and the environment


Virginia Hunter Education Association

1267 4-H Camp Road

Appomattox, VA 24522