Sora and Virginia Rail

Species Description

Soras and Virginia Rails are legal to hunt during migratory bird seasons. They are typically 9 inches from beak to tail, and forage primarily in marshes and swamps.

Topic Category
Hunting / Fishing Guide
Biological Information
Sora and Virginia Rail

Photo of a Virginia rail walking on tamped-down aquatic vegetation.

Season Not Open
  • September 1, 2024 - November 9, 2024

One half-hour before sunrise to sunset

Daily limit: 25
Possession limit: 75

Combine total of all rail species

Migratory Birds: Hunting: Allowed Methods


Shotguns, 10 gauge or smaller. Must not hold more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined.

Hunting dogs

Motor boats or sailboats may be used, but only if the motor has been shut off and/or the sails furled, and the boat’s progress therefrom has stopped.

Additional Info

Special Provision for Firearms Deer Season: During the November portion and Antlerless portion in open counties, shot must be no larger than No. 4.

Migratory Birds: Hunting: Prohibited Methods


Rifles and pistols

Firearms that propel a single projectile at one discharge

Punt guns, battery guns, swivel guns, fully automatic firearms, traps, snares, nets, fish hooks, poisons, drugs, explosives, and stupefying substances

Lead shot is prohibited at some conservation areas.

Motor vehicles or aircraft. Paraplegics and people missing one or both legs may hunt from a stationary vehicle.

Sink boxes or any other type of low-floating device that conceals the hunter beneath the surface of the water

Electronic calls or electronically activated calls

Any sighting device that casts a beam of light on the game

Night vision or thermal imagery equipment

Live decoys