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Greetings Hunters and Trappers:

It is our pleasure to welcome you to another season of hunting and trapping in Maryland.

There are few places in North America where you can enjoy the remarkable array of opportunities offered in Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay serves as the anchor between our sweeping scenic mountains in the west and the sandy shores of our Atlantic coast. In Maryland we pride ourselves on balancing conservation with recreation; and each unique natural community offers Marylanders and our nonresident guests some of the finest hunting in the region. Maryland is recognized as home to the largest white-tailed buck ever taken on the East Coast, it is the only place on the continent where you can hunt free-ranging sika deer, and it is the wintering grounds for wild waterfowl in the Atlantic flyway.

Our fields, forests, and wetlands offer some of the finest outdoor experiences in the region. Featuring more than 500,000 acres of public land, we provide opportunities for all outdoor enthusiasts across the state. We are also proud of the hard work by our dedicated team of public land managers, biologists, and scientists who are committed to ensuring our public parks, forests, and wildlife management areas remain safe, accessible, and available to all who visit.

Finally, we offer our sincere thanks to you—the hunting and trapping community—for the critical role you play in managing and conserving wildlife in Maryland. You are conservationists at heart and an important part of our economy—we offer our sincere thanks for your continued support.

Please enjoy your time afield and remember to share your stories. Have a wonderful and safe hunting and trapping season wherever your Maryland adventures take you!

Sincerely,

Larry Hogan,

Governor of Maryland

Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio,

Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

 

On behalf of your Wildlife and Heritage Service team, it is my pleasure to welcome you to another season of outdoor opportunities in Maryland!

This past season we introduced our first-ever mentored hunter pheasant program. The pilot program was limited to a few counties and public lands in western Maryland. The program exceeded our expectations and left many first-time hunters with memories of a lifetime and the spark to continue hunting in the future. A small team of enthusiastic staff, underwritten by the federal match to your license purchases, will expand the program to include new areas in Maryland—with a goal of introducing new hunters, of any age, to the traditions and experiences that anchor all of us to this great passion.

We were also pleased to support the proposed expansion of Sunday hunting opportunities in the recent legislative session. Beyond the clear benefits to reducing overabundant deer populations in key areas across Maryland, the extended weekend affords many hunters a chance to get afield who might otherwise miss those opportunities. We acknowledge that there are other outdoor enthusiasts who are concerned with the perceived conflicts of hunting on Sunday. Although we recognize there are dozens of states and provinces across North America that have enjoyed hunting on Sunday for decades without issue, we acknowledge and respect the concern, and to that end have never opened a State Park to Sunday hunting in Maryland. Thus preserving those open spaces for our non-hunting public land visitors.

Finally, a quick personal tale—this past season I finally took my first deer with traditional archery gear. It was an average size antlerless white-tailed deer during a wicked cold January afternoon. It was also a wonderful experience that will be with me forever, and I suspect with those who experienced my enthusiastic story-telling shortly thereafter.

More importantly, it was time that I spent solo in the woods without the constant clutter borne of our otherwise busy and connected lives. I can still recall thinking aloud how blessed I was to be able to simply have the opportunity to be in that tree-stand and overwhelmed by the chance to be successful at something that is a true throw back to those hunters who started this tradition for the rest of us. Taking that animal was a remarkable experience and one that further fortified my enthusiasm as a passionate hunter. It also reminded me that Maryland is a wonderful place to be outdoors and experience our public lands and wild resources—and to get away from the constant connectivity to those less natural distractions in our everyday lives.

So, as our team embarks on another year of passionate work for the resources we are charged to protect and manage and the stakeholders we serve, I would encourage you to get outside and enjoy the opportunities that exist in this great landscape of ours. On behalf of the entire Wildlife and Heritage Service family, I wish you a safe and successful season and would welcome the chance to hear your stories from the field!

Cheers and safe hunting.

Paul A. Peditto,

Director of the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service