General Deer Hunting Rules
- A hunter must carry personal photo identification (such as a driver’s license) or a secondary form of positive identification while hunting.
- Written permission is required to hunt on private land.
- A hunting license is required to hunt deer (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses and Prices (Hunting Licenses) for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
- An Archery Stamp is required for Archery Deer Season and a Muzzleloader Stamp is required for Muzzleloader Deer Season (Deer Regulations for Archery, Muzzleloader, Firearms & Airguns).
- Deer and turkeys harvested must be field tagged before moving from the place of kill unless a confirmation number is obtained electronically at the place of kill. The carcass must also be field tagged when left unattended or given or left with another person. Deer and turkeys must be checked in within 24 hours of recovery with the Department of Natural Resources to obtain a confirmation number. Hunters must keep a record of their confirmation numbers by using the Big Game Harvest Record provided with their license, creating their own record or storing a record electronically on their mobile device. Proof of harvest must be furnished upon request. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking .
- There are daylight fluorescent color clothing requirements to hunt deer. See Fluorescent Color Clothing Requirements and Exceptions (Hunting Regulations).
- Archery equipment may be used to hunt deer during all of the deer hunting seasons. This includes the Junior Deer Hunt Days.
- Muzzleloading firearms may only be used to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days.
- Shotguns may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days.
- Breech-loading rifles and modern handguns may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days in certain counties (see map, General Deer Hunting Rules).
- Air guns that shoot bullets, arrows or bolts may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days only.
- Deer harvested 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 towards the Archery Season bag limit.
- Telescopic and laser sights may be used on all devices legal for hunting deer.
- The antlered white-tailed deer bag limit is statewide. It applies to both Region A and Region B together.
- Antlerless white-tailed deer bag limits are separate and independent for Region A and Region B.
- Sika deer bag limits are independent of the white-tailed deer bag limits.
- Only one antlered white-tailed deer may be taken per day within the season bag limits. There is no restriction on the number of antlerless deer that may be taken per day within the season bag limits.
- Recorded or electrically amplified calls or sounds are prohibited for the purpose of deer hunting.
- Non-electronic deer calls are permitted for deer hunting.
- Dogs cannot be used to hunt deer except trained tracking dogs may be used to find dead, wounded or injured deer. The dog handler must maintain physical control of the tracking dog at all times and only the hunter and dog handler may carry a hunting device while tracking the deer. Prior to tracking the deer, the hunter must notify the Natural Resources Police by telephone at 800-628-9944. The hunter may dispatch the deer only during legal shooting hours and by means legal for the current hunting season.
- Deer may not be hunted while they are swimming or taking refuge in water.
- Fallow deer (where they are found) may be taken in place of white-tailed deer during each of the deer hunting seasons. Fallow deer have escaped from captivity and are found in a few isolated areas in Maryland.
- It is legal to bait deer except on state owned or state-controlled properties.
- A person that intentionally wounds or kills any white-tailed or sika deer must make a reasonable attempt to retrieve and make use of the deer. This includes hunters and persons shooting under the authority of a Deer Management Permit (crop damage permit).
- A person must have written permission when entering lands owned by another person or organization for the purpose of retrieving a deer. Some publicly owned properties also require permission before a person may access them.
- It is unlawful to cast the rays of an artificial light from a vehicle on buildings or dwellings, fields, livestock, orchards, wild mammals and birds or woods. See General Hunting Regulations for exceptions.
Deer and turkey tagging and reporting requirements have changed. See the text above and Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking.