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Deer Regulations for Archery, Muzzleloader, Firearms & Airguns

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Archery Deer Hunting Regulations

  • A hunting license is required to hunt deer during the Archery Season (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits (Hunting Licenses) for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
  • An Archery Stamp (Hunting Licenses) is required to hunt deer during the Archery Season except that:
    • Hunters entitled to hunt without a license and hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase an Archery Stamp.
  • Persons who hunt with archery equipment during the Muzzleloader Season must purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp (see Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Regulations, below).
  • There are tagging and checking requirements for all deer harvested. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking for instructions (Deer & Turkey Tagging & Checking).
  • Archery equipment may be used to hunt deer during all of the deer hunting seasons. This includes the Archery Season, Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days.
  • Deer taken with archery equipment must count towards the bag limit of the season in which they are taken, please note:
    • Deer harvested with archery equipment during the antlerless-only second split of the early Muzzleloader Season in Region B must count toward the Archery Season bag limit. Hunters may not carry both a muzzleloader and archery equipment during this split.
  • It is illegal to shoot on, from or across any public road.
  • Archery hunters are not required to wear fluorescent color clothing (Hunting Regulations) within the regular Archery Season dates. Archery hunters are required to wear fluorescent color clothing when hunting during the:
    • Deer Muzzleloader Season (including the Region B antlerless white-tailed Muzzleloader Season when it overlaps the Archery Season);
    • Deer Firearms Season;
    • Junior Deer Hunt Days; and
    • Black Bear Season in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties.
  • Firearms or airguns may not be carried while hunting deer during the Archery Season with the following exception. In Deer Management Region A, persons 21 years old or older may carry a handgun for personal protection against bear while hunting deer during the Archery Season.
  • The handgun:
    • May not be used for hunting any game species while the person is archery hunting for deer;
    • May not have a barrel length of more than six inches;
    • May not have a telescopic sight or electronic aiming device attached; and
    • May not be used to kill wildlife wounded by a vertical bow or crossbow.

Vertical Bow Regulations

  • The vertical bow shall have a full draw and pull of 30 pounds or more for deer hunting.
  • Draw locking devices are legal on all vertical bows for deer hunting.
  • Vertical bow release aids are permitted.

Crossbow Regulations

  • A crossbow used for deer hunting shall have a draw of 75 pounds or more.
  • All crossbows should have a working safety.
  • It is unlawful to have a loaded crossbow in, on or leaning against any vehicle.
  • A cocked crossbow without a bolt or arrow in the firing position is considered to be unloaded.

Regulations for Both Vertical Bows and Crossbows

  • Arrows or bolts used for deer hunting must have a sharpened broadhead with metal points and a minimum width of 7⁄8 of an inch.
  • The use of poisoned or explosive tipped arrows or bolts is not permitted.

Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Regulations

  • A hunting license is required to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits (Hunting Licenses) for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
  • A Muzzleloader Stamp (Hunting Licenses) is required to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season except that:
    • Hunters entitled to hunt without a license and hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp.
  • There are tagging and checking requirements for all deer harvested. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking for instructions (Deer & Turkey Tagging & Checking).
  • Muzzleloading firearms may only be used to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days.
  • Deer taken with a muzzleloader must count towards the bag limit of the season in which they are taken. Deer taken with a muzzleloader during the Firearms Season must count toward the Firearms Season bag limit.
  • All deer hunters are required to wear daylight fluorescent color clothing (Hunting Regulations) during all Muzzleloader Season and Firearms Season dates.
  • It is illegal to shoot on, from or across any public road.

Muzzleloader Regulations

  • Deer may be hunted with a muzzleloading rifle, muzzleloading shotgun or muzzleloading handgun (both single shot and revolvers) in all Maryland counties.
  • To be considered a muzzleloader, a rifle, shotgun or handgun must be loaded from the muzzle and a revolver must be loaded from the front of the cylinder.
  • Flintlock, percussion cap and inline ignition muzzleloaders are legal hunting devices for deer.
  • Muzzleloading rifles or shotguns used for deer hunting must be at least .40 caliber in size and must use 60 grains of black powder or more (a black powder equivalent is acceptable) and propel one all lead, lead alloy or copper soft-nosed or expanding bullet or ball at a single discharge.
  • Muzzleloading handguns used for deer hunting must be at least .40 caliber with a barrel length of at least 6 inches and must use 40 grains of black powder or more (a black powder equivalent is acceptable) and propel one all-lead, lead alloy or copper soft-nosed or expanding bullet or ball at a single discharge.
  • Sabot loads are legal for use in muzzleloaders used for deer hunting.
  • Muzzleloaders are considered unloaded if the ignition system is disabled by removal of the cap, primer, battery or primer powder.
  • It is unlawful to have a loaded firearm in, on or leaning against any vehicle. This includes a muzzleloader ready to fire.

Firearms and Air Guns Deer Hunting Regulations

  • A hunting license is required to hunt deer during the Firearms Season (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits (Hunting Licenses) for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
  • There are tagging and checking requirements for all deer harvested. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking for instructions (Deer & Turkey Tagging & Checking).
  • Shotguns, muzzleloading firearms, air guns and archery equipment may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the Firearms Season and Junior Hunt Days.
  • Breech loading rifles and modern handguns may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Hunt Days in some counties (see map on Deer Seasons & Bag Limits and Handgun Regulations below).
  • Deer taken with breech loading firearms, muzzleloaders, air guns or archery equipment during the Firearms Season must count toward the Firearms Season bag limit.
  • All deer hunters are required to wear daylight fluorescent color clothing (Hunting Regulations) during the Firearms Season dates.
  • It is illegal to hunt any animal other than deer on the first day of Deer Firearms Season except sea ducks in the Sea Duck Zone.
  • It is illegal to shoot on, from or across any public road.
  • Deer may not be hunted with a firearm that is loaded with more than eight cartridges or shells. Magazines do not have to be physically blocked.
  • Except in Dorchester County where #1 buckshot or larger may be used, firearms used for deer hunting may only shoot one all lead, lead alloy or copper soft nosed or expanding bullet or ball. Sabots are permitted. Non-expanding full metal jacketed, incendiary and tracer bullets are not permitted.
  • It is unlawful to have a loaded firearm in, on or leaning against any vehicle. This includes ammunition in the magazine or a muzzleloader ready to fire.
  • It is unlawful to hunt with an automatic firearm capable of firing a series of shots with one continuous pull of the trigger.
  • Firearms or air guns may not be carried while hunting deer during the Archery Season with the following exception. In Deer Management Region A, persons 21 years old or older may carry a handgun for personal protection against bear while hunting deer during the Archery Season. The handgun:
    • May not be used for hunting any game species while the person is archery hunting for deer;
    • May not have a barrel length of more than six inches;
    • May not have a telescopic sight or electronic aiming device attached; and
    • May not be used to kill wildlife wounded by a vertical bow or crossbow.

Rifle Regulations

  • The rifles referred to here are loaded from the breech of the barrel and use cartridges.
  • Rifles used for deer hunting must use ammunition developing a muzzle energy of at least 1,200 foot pounds. Consult ammunition guides for ballistics information.
  • Breech-loading rifles may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days in certain counties and locations (see map, Deer Seasons & Bag Limits).

Shotgun Regulations

  • The shotguns referred to here are loaded from the breech of the barrel and use shells.
  • Shotguns used for deer hunting must be 28 gauge or larger.
  • Shotgun ammunition used for deer hunting must shoot a single solid projectile except in Dorchester County, where #1 buckshot or larger may be used.

Handgun Regulations

  • The handguns referred to here are loaded from the breech of the barrel or rear of the cylinder and use cartridges.
  • Handguns may be used to hunt deer only in those counties where the use of a breech-loading rifle for deer hunting is permitted (see map,Deer Seasons & Bag Limits) with the exception that handguns may be used to hunt deer throughout Frederick County.
  • Handguns used for deer hunting must have a barrel length of six inches or more and use ammunition which produces a muzzle energy of 700 foot pounds or more. Consult ammunition guides for ballistics information.

Air Gun Regulations

  • An air gun is defined as any gun that propels a projectile by means of non-ignited compressed air or other gas. Projectiles include bullets, arrows or bolts.
  • Certain air guns may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the deer Firearms Season only.
  • To be legal for deer hunting an air gun must:
    • Shoot one .40 caliber or larger bullet or ball at a single discharge which generates at least 400 foot pounds of muzzle energy; or
    • Shoot an arrow or bolt at least 18” in length with a minimum speed of 300 feet per second at release with a sharpened broadhead with metal points and a minimum width of 7/8 inch.
  • The use of poisoned or explosive-tipped arrows or bolts is not permitted.
  • It is unlawful to have a loaded air gun in, on or leaning against a vehicle.
  • An air gun with the projectile removed is considered to be unloaded.

Archery Hunting at Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs

Special rules and regulations for deer hunting are in effect on the Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs. By accepting the permit, the permittee agrees to having read and accepted these rules and regulations governing the Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs established by the City of Baltimore, Director of Public Works.

  • Parking or driving motor vehicles of any description except on hard surfaced roads is prohibited.
  • No fires are permitted on the watershed areas at any time.
  • Hunting is permitted only from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.
  • No hunting within 50 feet of high water shoreline.
  • No hunting is allowed south of Liberty Road (MD Rt. 26) on Liberty Reservoir in Baltimore County.
  • Hunters must adhere to all regulations established by the Baltimore City Bureau of Water and Wastewater.
  • Hunters are warned against the disposal of refuse and trash on the watershed area, and violators will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
  • Although not recommended by Baltimore City Department of Public Works, the use of patented portable tree stands is permitted.
  • Portable tree stands must be removed at the end of each day.
  • Masks or other face gear shall be removed upon leaving the woods and when approaching within 100 yards of another person.
  • Permits are valid for the entire season for the taking of game, except waterfowl, WITH ARCHERY EQUIPMENT ONLY at Liberty and Prettyboy Reservoirs.
  • On Loch Raven Reservoir, the permit is valid for deer hunting only with archery equipment in designated areas.
  • It is illegal to bait for deer.
  • On Loch Raven Reservoir hunting is prohibited on the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail/NCR Trail.
  • Baltimore City Department of Public Works regulations allow for use of crossbows on Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs during the entire deer bow season established by the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Deer archery hunters hunting during the Junior Deer Hunting Days, Deer Firearms and Deer Muzzleloader Seasons are required to wear daylight fluorescent color clothing.
  • Archery Hunting Permits for Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs are available online at dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Documents/Reservoir-Permit.pdf.
  • For reservoir hunting questions call 410-356-9272.

 

Maryland Archery Hunter Survey Cooperators Needed

We need your help!

Archery hunters are among the most active outdoor enthusiasts in Maryland. The time you spend afield and the experiences you enjoy are of great value to us. The hunting observations you make, day after day and year after year, can be used as a powerful tool to effectively track fluctuations in many different wildlife populations (e.g. deer, bear, turkey, small game and furbearers). Therefore, we are asking you to take the time to become a cooperator and document information about each of your archery hunts. The data you provide will be added to the data already collected by over 300 other archery hunter cooperators and will make the results even stronger.

If you are interested in becoming an Archery Hunter Survey Cooperator, you can download a copy of the survey at dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/hunt_trap/bhsurvey.aspx or contact Brent Evans at 443-786-3656 or brent.evans@maryland.gov. Cooperators will receive an annual survey form to complete during the deer archery season and an annual report of the results after they are compiled. We appreciate your interest and cooperation.