Greetings Hunters and Trappers:
It is our pleasure to introduce the 2018-2019 Guide to Hunting and Trapping in Maryland.
Hunting, and the conservation commitment borne of the hunting heritage, is critical to the long-term sustainability of our wild natural resources. The men and women of Maryland Department of Natural Resources are dedicated to the sound scientific conservation and management of those resources. Likewise, they are working hard to provide diverse and enjoyable hunting opportunities across Maryland’s unique landscape.
The stewardship ethic derived from hunting experiences has spawned a long history of dedicated conservationists who remain passionate about the protection and scientific management of our natural resources. To ensure future generations of hunters will carry on this staunch conservation legacy, we will continue to develop new opportunities for promotion, education and training of hunting and hunters.
We offer you our personal best wishes for a safe and successful hunting season and thank you for your commitment to stewarding our important natural resources.
Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland
Mark Belton, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Welcome to another season of opportunity in wild Maryland! The Wildlife and Heritage Service team has been working hard to ensure your time afield will be safe, successful and enjoyable. We also remain committed to expanding hunting opportunities across Maryland so more newcomers can try hunting for the first time. To that end we are launching a first-ever pheasant hunt program that will open the door to new hunters of all ages and backgrounds. These hunts will be piloted this year on public lands and will afford a limited number of lucky hunters a chance to experience the thrill of pursuing the iconic game bird with an experienced hunting partner in an exclusive safe setting. As interest grows, we are hopeful that this program will be expanded to additional public lands across Maryland.
Interestingly, non-hunters might wonder why it is important to ensure the future of hunting and hunters in Maryland and the United States. Maryland and most other states, fund nearly all of the wildlife conservation and land management for wildlife from hunter dollars. Specifically, the sale of hunting licenses and the federal matching funds from those state-side sources, represents the vast majority of funding for wildlife management and conservation in Maryland. The majority of the funding is used to protect, conserve or manage species and habitats that are not hunted or trapped. In fact, only a handful of species managed by your Wildlife and Heritage team are subject to legal hunting or trapping. The remaining plants, animals and insects are all protected. However, it is hunters who fund that work and without the long-term sustainability of hunting dollars, all wildlife conservation and management will suffer or cease to exist.
So, whether you enjoy big bucks, abundant ducks or booming gobbles in the Spring – or are passionate about the conservation of our wild Baltimore Oriole, the iconic Bald Eagle or Osprey…or simply appreciate the beauty of natural lands on your daily commute to a brick and mortar office, it is hunting that makes those experiences possible. Likewise, if you have ever required the technical expertise of a state wildlife staffer to help with the deer eating your soybeans, bats flying around the home or snakes hanging around the local bus stop, you should know that hunting and hunters made those services possible.
Our team will remain dedicated to a science-based philosophy where a thorough analytical inquiry grounds the important decisions of the work we do. But the funding that makes all of our services possible rides on the backs of the minority who hunt while all others get to enjoy the free-ride and benefits borne of those passionate folks who love a day afield with a firearm, archery tackle or pack full of steel.
In the end, we thank the hunting and trapping community for continuing your commitment to making the experiences of all outdoors enthusiasts possible and I hope to personally have the chance to see you in the field this season and thank you for your continued commitment and passion.
Cheers and safe hunting!
Paul A. Peditto, Director of the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service