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Deer Hunting Rules & Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon Maryland Hunting

  • 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 in Maryland (with exceptions). See Maryland Hunting Licenses for requirements, types, costs, exceptions, purchasing, and Armed Forces information.
  • An Archery Stamp is required for archery deer hunting (Archery Deer Hunting Regulations) and a Muzzleloader Stamp is required for muzzleloader deer hunting (Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Regulations).
  • The use of a Maryland Big Game Harvest Record is required of all Maryland deer and turkey hunters. It is issued with the hunting license and is used to record the species, date, county, sex, hunting device, and Confirmation Number of every deer and turkey taken during a hunting license year. Those who may hunt deer without a license must obtain a free Big Game Harvest Record through the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal OR any DNR Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a DNR Sport License agent.
  • Deer and turkeys taken in Maryland must be field tagged immediately and checked in within 24 hours with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking.
  • There are fluorescent orange clothing requirements to hunt deer in Maryland. See Fluorescent Orange Clothing Requirements and Exceptions.
  • Archery equipment may be used to hunt deer during all of the deer hunting seasons. This includes the Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • Muzzleloading firearms may only be used to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season, and Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • Shotguns may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • Breech-loading rifles and modern handguns may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season in certain counties. (see map, Deer Management Regions)
  • 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.
  • There is no restriction on the number of 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 1-800-628-9944. 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 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 on to 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 woods, fields, orchards, livestock, wild mammals or birds, dwellings or buildings. See General Hunting Regulations for exceptions.