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Hunting Licenses

Hunting Regulations Icon Maryland Hunting

Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits

Full Season Hunting Licenses are valid from the day they are issued through the next July 31. A hunting license year is August 1 through the next July 31.

Be aware that a hunting license holder is required to have a printed paper copy or electronic copy of their hunting license in their possession while hunting.

Hunter Education and Safety Requirement

To hunt or purchase a hunting license state law requires:

  • Presentation of a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunting Safety (required of all first time hunters), or
  • Certification that you held a hunting license issued prior to July 1, 1977, or
  • Certification that you hunted on private property prior to July 1, 1977, and were legally exempt from purchasing a hunting license, or
  • Certification that you are purchasing a nonresident 3-day license and will only hunt waterfowl.

Exceptions: Compliance with the Hunter Education and Safety Requirement does not apply to those who are hunting only waterfowl with a Nonresident 3-day Waterfowl and Small Game License and those shooting under a Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License who are not hunting wild or free-flying captive-raised mallards (see Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License).

The Natural Resources Police, Safety Education and Outreach Unit provides the Hunter Education Course required to obtain the Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety. In addition to traditional classroom courses, an online course is available for those age 13 and older that requires a mandatory one day Hunter Education Field Day Workshop.

Information about Hunter Education Courses, Boating Safety Education Courses and Trapper Education is available from the Maryland Natural Resources Police, Safety Education and Outreach Unit, 305 Marine Academy Drive, Suite 1, Stevensville, MD 21666, 410-643-8502 and by visiting the website at dnr.maryland.gov/nrp/Pages/default.aspx

Note: RESIDENT Junior Hunters (under 16 years of age) are entitled to a one-time FREE annual hunting license, Archery Stamp and Muzzleloader Stamp upon successful completion of a Hunter Education Course. Please bring or fax the form provided by the course instructor to any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers). A Maryland resident who completes a Hunter Education Course in another state may contact a Licensing Service Center for the required application form.

Full Season Hunting Licenses

A Full Season Hunting License allows a person to hunt all legal game birds and mammals that are in season. There are additional stamps or permits required for hunting deer, migratory game birds, furbearers and bear (see each game section for its requirements).

Resident Apprentice
Hunting License $10

For first-time Maryland resident hunters of any age who never held a Maryland hunting license.

A person may not purchase an Apprentice Hunting License if they have previously obtained any hunting license in Maryland.

Use of an Apprentice Hunting License requires the following:

  • Successful completion of a short, online hunter safety course is required prior to purchasing this license.
  • Appropriate stamps are required to hunt migratory birds (federal and state duck stamps) and deer (Archery, Bonus Antlered and Muzzleloader Stamps).
  • The apprentice hunter must be accompanied and directly supervised by a Maryland resident at least 18 years old who possesses a valid Maryland non-apprentice hunting license.
  • The apprentice and mentor hunter must hunt in close proximity so that the mentor can take immediate control of the apprentice hunter’s hunting device.
  • The apprentice hunter can hunt unaccompanied if the full hunter safety course was taken and a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunting Safety was acquired.

Nonresident Apprentice
Hunting License$20

For first-time non-resident hunters of any age who never held a Maryland hunting license. Applicants must comply with the requirements listed above.

Resident Regular Hunting License$24.50

For Maryland residents age 16 to 64.

Resident Junior Hunting License$10.50

For Maryland residents under 16 years of age. Written permission of parent or guardian is required.

Resident Senior Hunting License$5

For Maryland residents age 65 and above. It may be purchased in the calendar year in which a resident attains the age of 65.

Senior Lifetime Consolidated License

This license is no longer available for purchase. Persons who already hold this license are “grandfathered” and:

  • Do not need to purchase the Senior Hunting License, Archery or Muzzleloader Stamps.
  • Must buy a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp to hunt a bonus antlered deer.
  • Must purchase a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp to hunt migratory game birds.
  • Must buy a Managed Hunt Permit (where required).
  • Must purchase a Furbearer Permit to hunt or chase furbearers.
  • 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 & Turkey Tagging & Checking.

Nonresident Hunting License$130

For hunters who are not Maryland residents and are age 16 to 64.

Nonresident Junior
Hunting License$32.50

For hunters who are not Maryland residents and are under 16 years of age. Written permission of parent or guardian is required.

Nonresident Senior
Hunting License$65

For hunters who are not Maryland residents and are age 65 or older. This license may be purchased in the calendar year in which a nonresident attains the age of 65.

Other Hunting Licenses

Nonresident 3-Day Waterfowl
and Small Game License$45

  • This license allows nonresidents of Maryland to hunt all legal game in season except deer, bear and turkey for three consecutive legal hunting days.
  • A Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp is required to hunt migratory game birds with this license.
  • A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is required to hunt waterfowl and coots with this license.
  • A Furbearer Permit is required to hunt, chase or trap furbearers with a Nonresident 3-Day Waterfowl and Small Game License.
  • The Hunter Education and Safety Requirement does not apply to hunting only wild waterfowl with this license.

Nonresident Trapping License$25.50

This license is required for nonresidents to trap furbearers (Furbearer Hunting & Trapping) in Maryland in addition to a Nonresident Hunting License and an Individual Furbearer Permit.

Regulated Shooting Area
Hunting License$6

This license allows a person to shoot captive-raised game birds on a state-licensed Regulated Shooting Area only.

  • A Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License and the purchase of a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp allows a person to shoot tower-released, flighted mallards on a Regulated Shooting Area.
  • This license cannot be used to hunt wild or free-flying, captive-raised waterfowl on a Regulated Shooting Area.
  • To hunt free-flying, captive-raised mallard ducks or wild waterfowl on a state-licensed Regulated Shooting Area a hunter must possess a Maryland hunting license, the printed validation showing proof of purchase of the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and Harvest Information Program certification and a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp or its proof of purchase (if over the age of 15).
  • A Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License is not required if you have a valid Full Season Hunting License.
  • Hunters on Regulated Shooting Areas may shoot captive-raised game birds on Sundays.

Stationary Blind and
Blind Site License$20

A Stationary Blind and Blind Site License allows a person to have an offshore waterfowl blind or blind site in Maryland public waters. For Maryland Offshore Waterfowl Hunting information see: dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/hunt_trap/offshore_intro.aspx.

Hunting Stamps

Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp At National Wildlife Refuges, U.S. Post Offices and at
duckstamp.com$25

From the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ OR any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a Sport License agent$27

A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (federal duck stamp) is required of all hunters 16 years of age or older to hunt brant, coots, ducks and geese (Migratory Game Bird Hunting).

Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp$9

A Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp is required of all hunters to hunt all migratory game birds in Maryland.

Resident Archery Stamp $6

Nonresident Archery Stamp$25

An Archery Stamp is required to hunt deer during the Archery Season (Deer Seasons & Bag Limits).

Resident Muzzleloader Stamp$6

Nonresident Muzzleloader Stamp$25

A Muzzleloader Stamp is required to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season (Deer Seasons & Bag Limits).

NOTE: Exceptions to the Archery and Muzzleloader Stamp requirements: Hunters entitled to hunt without a license and hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase an Archery or Muzzleloader Stamp.

Resident Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp$10

Nonresident Bonus Antlered
Deer Stamp$25

A Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp allows hunting license holders to take one additional antlered white-tailed deer in Region B during one season of their choice (Deer Seasons & Bag Limits).

Hunting Permits

Archery Hunting Permit for the
Liberty, Loch Raven and
Prettyboy ReservoirsFREE

Issued in cooperation of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service and the City of Baltimore Bureau of Water and Wastewater. Allows archery hunting only on the Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs.

Central Region Public
Hunting PermitFREE

Required for certain public hunting areas in Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. To obtain the free Central Region Public Hunting Permit apply online at dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/publiclands/wmacentral.aspx. Please call the Gwynnbrook Office at 410-356-9272 between 7:30-11:30 a.m. with questions or for instructions on how to apply by mail or in person.

Southern Region Public
Hunting PermitFREE

Required for certain public hunting areas in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties. You can now apply for the Southern Region Hunting Permit online. For information, go to dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/publiclands/wmasouthern.aspx. For questions regarding specific areas and other methods to apply, please call the Myrtle Grove office at 301-743-5161 between 8 a.m.- noon.

Individual Furbearer Permit$5

Group Furbearer Permit$10

A Furbearer Permit is required to hunt, chase or trap any furbearer (Furbearer Hunting & Trapping).

Managed Hunt Permit$35

The annual Managed Hunt Permit is required to hunt Department of Natural Resources properties that charge for managed hunts and covers all such hunts on these lands (Managed Deer Hunting Programs).

Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season Permit$5

A Maryland Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season Permit is required to participate in the Light Goose Conservation Order Season (Migratory Game Bird Seasons & Limits).

Hunting Fees

Black Bear Hunt Lottery
Application Fee$15

A Black Bear Hunting Permit is only available through the Maryland Black Bear Lottery process. The lottery application fee is non-refundable (Black Bear Hunting).

Purple Heart Recipients

Maryland residents who were recipients of the Purple Heart Award are eligible for a discounted hunting license and any associated stamps and permits. This year’s discounted rate is 50 percent of the regular price of the license or stamp. These discounted hunting licenses and stamps can only be purchased in person at a Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers). Documentation proving the Purple Heart Award was received by the hunter must be provided at the time of purchase. The Purple Heart medal does not suffice as proof of receiving the award. All other requirements apply, for obtaining a hunting license and stamps.

Complimentary DAV-POW Hunting Licenses

A Complimentary Lifetime Hunting License is available to Maryland residents certified as a former prisoner of war or a 100 percent service-connected disabled American veteran (Veterans Administration documentation is required).

  • This free lifetime hunting license is available only at Licensing and Registration Service Centers (Addresses & Phone Numbers).
  • This license also includes free, lifetime Archery Stamps, Muzzleloader Stamps and Furbearer Permits.
  • The Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp are required to be purchased annually and are not included with this license.
  • Deer and turkey 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 & Turkey Tagging & Checking.

Members of the Armed Forces Hunting In Maryland

Active duty members of the Armed Forces stationed in Maryland:

  • are considered residents of Maryland.
  • must comply with the Hunter Education and Safety Requirement (Hunting Licenses).
  • must purchase a Resident Hunting License and all required stamps and permits before hunting, unless they are on official leave and possess a copy of their official leave orders.
  • while hunting during official leave in Maryland with a copy of their official leave orders:
    • do not need to purchase a hunting license, deer stamps or Managed Hunt Permit.
    • must purchase a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp, a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp and a Furbearer Permit to pursue migratory game birds and furbearers.

Any nonresident serving in the Armed Forces who is on leave in Maryland, but not stationed in Maryland, must purchase a Nonresident Hunting License before hunting.

Who May Hunt Without a Hunting License

All Maryland hunters must comply with the Hunter Education and Safety Requirement (Hunting Licenses).

You are not required to possess a Maryland hunting license if you are:

  • a resident of Maryland (or their spouse) who owns property and who hunts only on that property. This also applies to:
    • The landowner’s children and grandchildren if they are under the age of 16.
    • The landowner’s children and grandchildren, and the spouse of the children or grandchildren, regardless of age, if the child, grandchild, or their spouse lives on the property, or has worked on the property for at least 30 days during the preceding 12 months, or manages the property.
      (Each person must individually qualify under these criteria. To qualify for this exemption, a landowner does not need to live on the property but must be able to prove ownership.)
  • A person (or their spouse) who holds land under lease for agricultural purposes (or a sharecropper), and lives on this farmland, and hunts only on this farmland. This also applies to:
    • The lessee’s children and grandchildren if they are under the age of 16.
    • The lessee’s children and grandchildren, and their spouses, if the child, grandchild, or spouse of the child or grandchild, lives on the property, or has worked on the property for at least 30 days during the preceding 12 months, or manages the property.
  • A nonresident (or their spouse) who owns a contiguous piece of farmland that is in both Virginia and Maryland and the person’s primary residence is on the Virginia portion of the property. Thus, they may hunt on the Maryland portion of the property without a Maryland hunting license. This also applies to the owner’s children and grandchildren if they are under the age of 16.
  • A Maryland resident serving in the Armed Forces that is on official leave in Maryland (whether stationed in Maryland or outside Maryland) and possesses a copy of official leave orders while hunting.
  • A person serving in the Armed Forces who has a service-connected disability and possesses a valid military identification while hunting.
  • A person who is a retired former member of the Armed Services and hunting on farmland that is in active farming status and owned by the person or the person’s spouse, child, child’s spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, niece or nephew. A retired former armed forces member who hunts on farmland without a hunting license must possess the retired military identification card and written permission from the owner of the farm property specifying the relationship of the person to the owner of the property.

Be aware that hunters not required to have a license:

  • must obtain a free DNRid number available through the COMPASS portal at
    compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ OR any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a Sport License agent.
  • must keep a record of their deer and turkey 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 & Turkey Tagging & Checking.
  • must have a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp to hunt migratory game birds.
  • must possess the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp to hunt waterfowl and coots.
  • must obtain a Furbearer Permit to hunt, trap or chase any furbearer.
  • are not required to purchase Archery Deer Stamps, Muzzleloader Deer Stamps or Bonus Antlered Deer Stamps.

Nonresidents of Maryland who own property in the state and hunt on that property are required to purchase a Nonresident Hunting License and all other appropriate stamps and permits.

Individuals who are exempt from Maryland hunting license requirements are subject to all state and federal laws and regulations relative to hunting and trapping.

Universal Disability Pass

Hunters with mobility impairments may obtain a free Universal Disability Pass that will allow them to hunt from a vehicle in designated areas. Applications are available from the website dnr.maryland.gov/Documents/vehiclept.pdf. See Public Hunting Lands for areas that have provisions for the mobility impaired. Please contact each area for their specific conditions.

Purchasing Your Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits

A DNRid number is required to obtain hunting and trapping licenses, stamps and permits.

A DNRid Card and number, hunting licenses, stamps, permits and Big Game Harvest Records are available through:

  • the COMPASS portal at dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/licensing.aspx.
  • Licensing and Registration Service Centers– Services, hours, addresses and phone numbers are listed on Addresses & Phone Numbers.
  • Sport License Agents– A list of agents is available at: dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/licensing.aspx and your local Licensing and Registration Service Center can provide the location for Sport License agents near you.

You may obtain a hunting license 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the COMPASS portal at dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/licensing.aspxYou may print your license and receipt at the end of your purchase. A confirmation email will be provided shortly after purchase. You may print or reprint your license then and do so any time through the COMPASS portal. The license immediately authorizes your participation in all purchased activities, including deer and turkey hunting. Supporting documents for some privileges will be mailed. Payment can be made by electronic check, Visa, Master Card or Discover.

You may obtain a Hunting License Application by calling or visiting a Licensing and Registration Service Center or from the website: dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/licensing.aspx. Complete all applicable sections and mail it with the appropriate fee to any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers). Applicants for nonresident licenses are required to submit a copy of their driver’s license, voter registration card or home state hunting/trapping license.

Lost or damaged hunting licenses can be reprinted for free. Call any Licensing and Registration Service Center or log into your account at compass.dnr.maryland.gov.

Online License System

The web-based COMPASS licensing system provides the fastest and greenest way to purchase your hunting license. In addition to our seven Licensing and Registration Service Centers and more than 250 sport license agents, this web-based system is available 24/7 for self-service online purchases. Connect to COMPASS through dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/licensing.aspx.

On your first visit, you will supply your personal information. You will receive a free DNRid number and can then print your free DNRid Card. Your DNRid number is all that will be needed to locate your account for future purchases. You may print your license and receipt at the end of your purchase. A confirmation email will be provided shortly after purchase. Hunting and recreational fishing licenses can be reprinted at any time, free of charge. Hunters can print additional Big Game Harvest Records and check your harvest, both free, through COMPASS online.