Membership Application Process

How can I join SWM?

NOTE: Application does not guarantee acceptance. Applications may only be submitted between February 1 and July 31.

Membership is by invitation of the Governing Committee, hereinafter referred to as the GovCom. Such factors as integrity, ethics, attitude, and quality of experience weigh heavily in the selection process. SWM maintains stringent qualification procedures, which are intended to select hunters who are safety-conscious, proficient, ethical, discreet, and respectful of landowners and their property. This is very important as many adjoining property owners may object to hunting.

*NOTE: The GovCom may periodically freeze applications as conditions dictate (due to fluctuations in property/member numbers).

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Successfully pass a Criminal Background check.
  • Applicant must provide proof of at least one of the following:
    • Current Concealed Weapons Permit
    • Purchased a firearm from a licensed VA firearms dealer within the past twelve months
    • Currently hold an active Personnel Security Investigation Certificate
    • Active duty law enforcement officer or a retired officer drawing a pension
    • VA State Police Background Check
      • If you do not currently meet any of the above options you may apply for a criminal background check as follows:
        • VA State Police Background Check – Submit form SP-230 along with a $15.00 company check or money order to:
  • Be willing to volunteer six hours of time to the organization not directly related to hunting.
  • Have prior experience harvesting at least five big game animals within the last ten years with bow and arrow, including compound and crossbow. You must be able to provide proof by either photos or game check cards.
  • Complete a state-sponsored hunter safety course and the International Bowhunter Education Program (IBEP).
    • All applicants must provide evidence of the successful completion of a state-sponsored hunter safety course – being “grandfathered” does not satisfy this requirement.  Additionally, each applicant must successfully pass the International Bowhunter Education Program (IBEP) safety course.
  • Your application should provide a hunting history supported by references.

Fill out online application

  • Applicant is required to pay a non-refundable Application Fee of $60 via PayPal within seven (7) business days of the original online application. Upon submitting your application you will receive an email acknowledging our receipt of your application and a link to PayPal for payment of the application fee.
  • All required supporting documents must be received by the Membership Officer within seven (7) business days of submitting the online application.  The applicant may forward these documents to the Membership Officer via email at, or via mail to the attention of the Membership Officer at the mailing address listed on the Contact Us page.
  • Required Supporting Documents:
    • copy of state-sponsored hunter education
    • certificate or card
    • copy of state-sponsored I.B.E.P card front and back
    • copy of driver’s license
    • Criminal Background check documentation; and,
    • proof of five big game harvest by either photos or check cards

Applicants are selected for membership consideration using this process.

  • Upon the timely receipt of a complete application, the Applicant will be contacted by the Membership Officer and provided with the information necessary to schedule the shooting test.  The applicant will have fourteen (14) business days to schedule the test with one of the qualification officers provided.
  • The shooting proficiency test consists of placing two out of three broadheads, the broadheads that you hunt with, and not practice broadheads, in a six-inch circle at 20 yards and at 30 yards. This test demonstrates shooting skills with actual hunting equipment. This test meets or exceeds the shooting proficiency tests required on area military bases such as Fort Belvoir Army Reservation and Quantico Marine Corp Base.  If the applicant fails the range qualifications, it is the applicant’s responsibility to schedule another test no less than one (1) week from the original qualification date.
  • The GovCom shall examine all of the above information as well as evaluating the additional information obtained during the in-person interview when deciding whether to accept, decline or defer the applicant’s request for membership.

What happens if I’m accepted for membership?

  • Attend Orientation Meeting
    • When accepted for membership the applicant will be required to complete an orientation briefing to ensure all bylaws, rules and regulations, policies and procedures of SWM are clear and understood.
  • sign a liability waiver agreement
  • complete a registration form
  • receive website login and usage tutorial
  • pay annual dues – currently $100

Member activity reports are periodically solicited from cooperating landowners, game wardens, and biologists. SWM shall continually monitor members and take any disciplinary action necessary for reports of unsafe, unethical and/or improper activities, up to and including expulsion.

  • You will receive periodic newsletters and flyers informing you of upcoming meetings, events, subjects of interest, etc.
  • Access to public and private property for regular in-season hunting.
  • You will have the opportunity to be placed on public and private property for out-of-season harvesting of deer.
  • Liability Insurance coverage.  (On SWM managed properties only)
  • An opportunity to improve the image of bowhunters with the general public.
  • An opportunity to participate in a sport you love while serving your local community.

As members join, they are assigned properties, introduced to property owners, given reference materials (maps, aerial photos, etc.), and physically shown the boundaries of assigned properties. Most members prefer property locations close to home and/or work for ease of access. SWM accommodates such preferences whenever possible. However, due to management constraints, SWM makes no guarantees for such assignments. Client and property/member coordination needs take precedence.

Rules may be customized to accommodate specific requirements on “special” properties.

County Coordinators, District Leaders, and Team Leaders provide local leadership for members.  Each member may be reassigned or rotated by the leaders to best achieve SWM management objectives.

If you are still interested in becoming a member of SWM, please make sure you understand the application process above and continue to the Rules and Regulations.

See Rules & Regulations

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