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Managed Deer Hunting Programs

Hunting Regulations Icon Maryland Hunting

In addition to satisfying Maryland hunter safety, licensing, and stamp requirements, a Shooter Qualification Card, a Managed Hunt Permit, and lottery selection are required to participate in the following managed deer hunting programs:

  • Fair Hill NRMA State Park
  • Fort Frederick State Park
  • Gunpowder Falls State Park
  • Seneca Creek State Park

DNR Shooter Qualification Card Program

Through the DNR Shooter Qualification Program local sportsman’s clubs, shooting clubs, and other groups avail their facilities and expertise to certify hunters for the program. Hunters, who meet certain shooting qualification standards become certified and receive a Maryland State Shooter Qualification Card valid for the current hunting license year. This card serves as “proof of proficiency” and enables a qualified hunter to be eligible for many of the managed deer hunts held across Maryland.

The Fort Frederick State Park qualification event will be held November 6, 2016 beginning at 10a.m. at the Fort Frederick Range in Washington County (all hunters must arrive by 10:00a.m.).

The qualification event held at the Notchcliff Army National Guard Range in Baltimore County for the Fair Hill and Gunpowder Falls hunting programs will be held on December 11, 2016 (all hunters must arrive by 10:00a.m.)

Other Shooter Qualification events are held at different times and locations throughout the year. Many of the organizations that host these events charge a fee. The DNR will issue a press release in the summer announcing the dates for the various qualifications. The DNR website will list the website addresses of participating sportsmen’s clubs and other locations where Shooter Qualifications will be held. The DNR website address for this information is: dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/Pages/shootqual.aspx. Hunters interested in participating in managed hunts should contact the organization holding the hunt to learn more about their program and any additional requirements.

Managed Hunt Permit

  • The annual Managed Hunt Permit (MHP) is required to hunt DNR properties that charge for managed hunts and covers all such hunts on DNR lands.
  • The MHP is not required to take part in lotteries or drawings but only to participate in the managed hunts.
  • Hunters should contact the properties they wish to hunt for site-specific rules and regulations.
  • Persons exempt from the MHP requirement are those legally hunting with a Junior Hunting License (see Maryland Hunting Licenses) or any person serving in the United States Armed Forces (see Armed Forces Members Hunting In Maryland, Maryland Hunting Licenses) that is exempt from needing a Maryland hunting license.

Managed Hunt Permit$35.00

(See Purchasing Your Maryland Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits, Maryland Hunting Licenses.)

For Managed Deer Hunts at Fair Hill, Fort Frederick, Gunpowder Falls, and Seneca Creek State Parks:

  • Hunters will be chosen by lottery. Only one application per hunter. Group applications of up to three hunters will be accepted and must be stapled together.
  • Shotguns with slugs are the only firearms allowed for these hunts.
  • The use of scopes is encouraged.
  • Deer taken during these hunts will not count toward the hunter’s regular deer firearms season bag limit.
  • Hunters participating in the Fair Hill, Gunpowder Falls, and Seneca Creek hunts will be allowed to harvest four (4) antlerless deer and approximately one (1) out of 10 hunters will be chosen by drawing on the morning of the hunt to harvest an antlered deer in lieu of one of the four antlerless deer.
  • Hunters participating in the Fort Frederick State Park hunt will be allowed to harvest two (2) antlerless deer.

The Fair Hill NRMA State Park managed deer hunt in Cecil County has a limit of 120 hunters. For more information call 410-356-9272 between 7:30a.m.–11:30a.m. or 410-398-1246. See the following pages for the Fair Hill Managed Hunt application form.

The Fort Frederick State Park managed deer hunt in Washington County has a limit of 30 hunters. For more information call 301-842-2155. See the following pages for the Fort Frederick application form.

The Gunpowder Falls State Park, Sweet Air Area managed deer hunt in Baltimore and Harford counties has a limit of 65 hunters. For more information call 410-356-9272 between 7:30a.m.–11:30a.m. or 410-592-2897. See the following pages for the Gunpowder Falls, Sweet Air Area application form.

The Seneca Creek State Park managed deer hunt in Montgomery County has a limit of 60 hunters. 35 hunters on Jan. 19, 2017 and 25 hunters on Jan. 20, 2017. For more information call 410-356-9272 between 7:30a.m.–11:30a.m. or 301-924-2127. See the following pages for the Seneca Creek application form.

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center managed deer hunt in Anne Arundel County has these provisions:

  • A Shooter Qualification Card and verification that the hunter has complied with the Hunter Education and Safety Requirement are required to participate in this hunt.
  • Hunters will be chosen by lottery. Only one application per hunter. Group applications of up to three hunters will be accepted and must be stapled together.
  • All applications must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped, legal sized envelope.
  • Shotguns with slugs are the only firearms allowed for these hunts.
  • The use of scopes is encouraged.
  • The use of a portable tree stand is required.
  • Accommodations will be made for hunters with a Universal Disability Pass that will allow them to hunt from a vehicle.
  • The pre-hunt mandatory scout date is November 13, 2016 from 8:00a.m. to 2:00p.m..
  • See the following pages for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center application form.

The Wye Island NRMA managed deer hunt in Queen Anne’s County has these provisions:

  • Hunters are required to submit a copy of their current Maryland Hunting License along with their permit application.
  • Hunters will be chosen by lottery for both the October muzzleloader deer hunt and the December firearms deer hunt.
  • For more information call 410-827-7577.

Natural Resources Police Career Opportunities

If you have what it takes and the desire to serve, we’re interested in talking to you.

To begin your career as a Maryland Natural Resources Police officer, please contact Corporal Mance McCall at 443-534-2288, or mance.mccalliii@maryland.gov, or visit the Maryland Natural Resources Police Recruitment Facebook page.

Black Bears in Maryland

Western Maryland (Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick counties) is home to a healthy black bear population. Accordingly, people may find themselves encountering bears, especially in areas with natural or artificial food sources, such as berry patches, oak groves, or in areas where bait, such as corn, has been left to attract wildlife. If you encounter a bear, DNR recommends that you make your presence known by making noise. Clap your hands and speak with a firm voice to be sure the bear knows you are there. Remain upright and do not run. Back away slowly and leave the area. Although black bears are generally shy and run when confronted by people, they are wild animals that should be treated with respect.

For people wishing to carry a form of personal protection, DNR recommends the use of Bear Pepper Spray as a safe, legal, and effective bear deterrent. It has a long shelf-life, large volume, and is discharged in an expanding cloud that will reach its target up to 35 feet away. There are a variety of Bear Pepper Sprays on the market that can be purchased at local sporting goods stores or on the Internet. When purchasing Bear Pepper Spray, be sure that the product states that it is for use on bears and has been approved by EPA.

Free Central Region Public Hunting Permit

Available for most public hunting areas in Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard, Montgomery counties and Kent County for Millington WMA (Canada goose and spring turkey hunting). 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 7:30-11:30a.m. with questions or for instructions on how to apply by mail or in person.

Free Southern Region Public Hunting Permit

Available for most 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 through the DNR website. For information on the areas covered by this permit and to apply online, 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.

Maryland Trophy Deer Contest

The 2016 Maryland Trophy Deer Contest will recognize the “top” deer in each county taken during the 2014-2015 deer hunting seasons for the Maryland State Record Book. Highest scoring bucks are recognized for white-tailed deer (typical and non-typical), fallow deer, and sika deer taken during each of the vertical bow, crossbow, muzzleloader, and firearms seasons. The Boone and Crockett method of scoring is used.

The 2016 contest will be held at the Country Life Outdoors Festival on July 1–3, 2016. The Country Life Outdoors Festival location will be at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds near Leonardtown, Maryland. The contest is cosponsored by the Maryland Bowhunters Society, the Maryland Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association, and the DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service. For more information regarding the 2016 contest contact Mr. Walter “Tinker” Johnson at 301-349-2413, or DNR at 301-842-0332.