Hunting Regulations Icon Maryland Hunting

Greetings Hunters and Trappers:

Welcome to another season of opportunity for all of you who enjoy time afield with friends, family or four-legged hunting partners.

Maryland offers some of the most remarkable hunting in the mid-Atlantic region, including large white-tailed deer, free-ranging sika deer, waterfowl in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and wild turkey in the spring, fall and winter. Our state has close to a half-million acres of public hunting land across our diverse landscape.

The ways in which one can enjoy time outdoors has been expanding with each and every legislative session. Together with supportive lawmakers, we have been authorizing extra Sunday hunting days, adding junior hunting and women-in-the-outdoors programs, and signing Maryland’s first-ever apprentice hunting license into law this year.

The apprentice program will kick-off this fall and allow newcomers the chance to take part in hunting in our state with an experienced mentor – at a cost less than half of the regular license fee. Our hope is that these first-timers will enjoy the unique opportunity, embrace the adventure of hunting, and become life-long conservation and wildlife stewards. We urge you to take advantage of this wonderful new program – either as a mentor or new hunter – and we look forward to hearing your stories of success in the field.

Finally, outdoors enthusiasts know that some of the best memories are made outside in wide-open spaces. Please enjoy your outing, but also please remember to follow the principles of safe hunting and ensure your chance to return again in the future.

Hunt safe and have a great year afield!

Larry Hogan,

Governor of Maryland

Mark Belton,

Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources


Greetings Maryland Hunters and Trappers:

This edition of the Guide to Hunting and Trapping coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Maryland Natural Resources Police (MNRP). It is my pleasure to use this space to celebrate this milestone for our peers in law enforcement and recognize several units of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources who contribute to the wildlife conservation mission of the department.

In recent years we have been fortunate to watch the NRP team develop a finer focus on wildlife violators and poaching enforcement. To that end, we saw the first Poaching Restitution Act sentences and license suspension penalties handed down by Maryland courts this year. The successful adjudication of these cases is also a tribute to our partners in the legislature and the Maryland Hunting Coalition.

We also saw the ranks of our NRP grow despite a number of critical vacancies borne of personnel retirements. Recruiting new staff is one of the more under-valued elements of any agency operation. We are fortunate to have a committed and dedicated team at our Human Resources Service and their efforts contribute immensely toward maintaining a skilled workforce for our law enforcement and other wildlife conservation operations.

Likewise, our ability to enforce game laws is of limited value without the opportunities to hunt and trap on Maryland’s public lands. We are blessed with an extraordinary portfolio of public hunting opportunities in Maryland – nearly 500,000 acres checkered across our diverse landscape.

The Wildlife and Heritage Service is proud of our efforts to maintain access to more than 125,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas in Maryland. However, it is the efforts of our peers in the Maryland Forest Service, Park Service and Fisheries Service who also deserve recognition here. The Parks, Forests and Fisheries teams manage an extensive network of public hunting areas – with new opportunities offered by each unit for the coming season.

Equally important is the work of our Land Acquisition and Planning team. This group represents the wizard behind the curtain, working tirelessly to identify, negotiate and successfully acquire private lands for public ownership and, in nearly all cases, public hunting opportunities. Their work is complemented by our Engineering and Construction unit who ensure that these public places are safe and accessible for our visitors.

Finally, our DNR Communications team is the hub that ensures all of you receive the latest news about the Department and shares timely information with Maryland’s hunting enthusiasts.

So, as you travel across our great state and enjoy the wonderful opportunities in the field, forest or marsh, please take a minute to recognize the remarkable contributions of the entire team at Maryland DNR and their efforts to make Maryland a great place to enjoy life outdoors!

On behalf of the Wildlife and Heritage Service team, I wish you a successful and enjoyable hunting season and thank you in advance for your continued commitment to ensuring the future of wildlife conservation and the hunting tradition in Maryland.

Paul A. Peditto,

Director of the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service


NEW laws & Regulations for 2017–2018

  • Air guns that shoot bullets, arrows or bolts are legal for most game species, see each game section for regulations.
  • Certain air guns are legal for hunting white-tailed and sika deer during the firearms season ONLY, and black bears during the bear season. To be legal for deer and bear hunting an air gun must have a working safety and:
    • Shoot one .40 caliber or greater bullet or ball at a single discharge which generates at least 400 foot-pounds of muzzle energy; or
    • Shoot an arrow or bolt at least 18” in length with a minimum speed of 300 feet per second at release with a sharpened broadhead with metal points and a minimum width of 7/8 inch.
  • Legislation passed during the 2017 General Assembly created several changes for hunters in Maryland:
    • Sunday hunting has been added for deer hunting in Kent County on private land only, some new shooting hours restrictions apply.
    • Sunday hunting has been added for deer hunting in Montgomery County on private land only, some new shooting hours restrictions apply.
    • Sunday hunting has been added for turkey hunting during the Junior Hunt and spring season in Kent County on private land only.
    • Non-residents are no longer prohibited from trapping beavers or river otters in Maryland.
    • In Montgomery County, the safety zone for archers is now 50 yards, however, archers must use a tree stand when hunting within 50 to 100 yards of an occupied dwelling or other building.
    • A hunting license is no longer required to hunt groundhogs in Frederick County.
  • A new Apprentice Hunting License is now available for first time hunters. The Apprentice Hunting License is available to both residents and nonresidents who have never hunted before. Satisfactory completion of a short, online hunter safety course is required prior to purchasing the license and the apprentice hunter is required to hunt with a resident at least 18 years old who possesses a valid Maryland hunting license.

Myrtle Point Park Cooperative Wildlife Management Area is a new, 192 acre public hunting area located in St Mary’s County. Hunting is limited to archery deer hunting and waterfowl hunting. Access requires possession of a free Southern Region Public Hunting Permit and daily reservation.