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Deer & Turkey Tagging & Checking

Hunting Regulations Icon Maryland Hunting

All hunters, including those who may hunt without a license (Hunting Licenses), must complete the tagging and checking procedure for each deer and turkey taken. In order to check in their deer or turkey, hunters must have a DNRid number that is available through the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ OR any Department of Natural Resources Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a Department of Natural Resources Sport License Agent.

Before moving a deer or turkey from the place of kill, hunters must do the following:

  1. Complete a Deer and Turkey Field Tag at the place of kill in ink and attach it to the animal, or;
  2. Check in the animal at the place of kill and receive a confirmation number that can be furnished upon request.
    • Place of kill is the location where the animal expired and was recovered.

If a confirmation number is obtained at the place of kill, the deer or turkey can be moved/transported untagged. Deer and turkeys cannot be moved or transported untagged if a confirmation number has not been received. Deer and turkeys must also be field tagged when giving, putting, or leaving them in possession of another person, or when left unattended; whether or not a confirmation number has been received. In this case, the tag shall remain attached until the animal is processed by the hunter for consumption, disposed of by a processing facility or left with a taxidermist.

When required, the field tag must be attached to the head of the deer or leg of the turkey. Hunters who plan to have their deer mounted should attach the tag to the antler and not through a hole cut in the ear. Field tags are available in the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping or a tag can be made by the hunter with the appropriate information (hunter name, DNRid number, county of harvest and date of harvest, or a Confirmation Number with the hunter’s name when the animal has been checked in).

Within 24 hours of recovering a deer or turkey harvest, hunters must:

  1. Register their game with the Department of Natural Resources using one of the following:
    • the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/
    • the Maryland Big Game Registration Phone Line 888-800-0121
    • The Department of Natural Resources official mobile app (AccessDNR)

TTY users, call through the Maryland Relay. For ease of use, deaf and hard of hearing hunters are encouraged to use the internet check-in site or mobile app.

  1. Make a permanent record of their deer or turkey registration by either:
    • Recording the confirmation number on a Big Game Harvest Record (provided with a hunting license) or creating a hard copy record of their own, or;
    • Maintaining an electronic record of the confirmation number on a mobile device.

Harvest records, whether recorded electronically or in hard copy format, must be furnished upon request and remain in possession of the hunter.

Please remember:

  • Hunters should indicate the actual hunting device used to take the deer or turkey when checking their animal (not the season in which it is taken).
  • Hunters must use their DNRid number when checking in a deer or turkey. The DNRid number is printed on all hunting licenses.
  • Each deer or turkey checked in will have its own confirmation number. If you have a question or need to retrieve a confirmation number, call your local Wildlife and Heritage Service office (Addresses & Phone Numbers).
  • A hunter may not remove the head or hide or any part from any deer (except internal organs), or cut the meat into parts, until the deer has been registered and the confirmation number received.
  • Hunters are required to furnish the confirmation number to taxidermists and processors/butchers before they can leave their deer or turkey. Hunters may use the Butcher/Taxidermy Tag that is provided in the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping (or a tag with the appropriate information can be made by the hunter) for this purpose.
  • If the hunter uses all of the spaces on the Big Game Harvest Record attached to the hunting license, additional Big Game Harvest Records can be created by the hunter or obtained free of charge through the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ OR any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a Sport License Agent.