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Migratory Game Bird Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Maryland Hunting

Federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations can be viewed at: http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Documents/MGB_FederalHuntingRegs.pdf

Offshore Waterfowl Hunting Rules & Regulations (offshore duck blinds, sea duck and offshore waterfowl hunting zones) can be viewed at: dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/hunt_trap/offshore_intro.aspx

General Migratory Game Bird Hunting Rules

  • Migratory game birds may not be hunted on Sundays.
  • A hunter must carry personal photo identification (such as driver’s license) or a secondary form of identification while hunting.
  • Written permission is required to hunt on private land.
  • A hunting license is required to hunt migratory game birds in Maryland (with exceptions). See Maryland Hunting Licenses for requirements, types, costs, exceptions, purchasing, and Armed Forces information.
  • A Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp is required of all hunters to hunt all migratory game birds in Maryland. This includes persons not required to have a hunting license and holders of senior hunting licenses.
    • This stamp may be obtained through the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal OR any DNR Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a DNR Sport License agent.
    • While hunting migratory game birds, hunters must possess the printed validation showing proof of purchase of the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and HIP certification.
    • Hunters are not required to possess or sign the actual stamp.

Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp$9.00

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

  • A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (federal duck stamp) is required of all hunters over the age of 15 to hunt brant, coots, ducks, and geese in Maryland. This includes persons not required to have a hunting license. (See Who May Hunt Without a License, Maryland Hunting Licenses).
    • This stamp may be purchased from National Wildlife Refuges, Post Offices, online at duckstamp.com and through the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal OR any DNR Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a DNR Sport License agent.
    • If you order your federal duck stamp online (duckstamp.com), you will receive a purchase code. If you purchase your stamp through COMPASS, a DNR sport license agent, DNR online licensing, or a DNR Licensing and Registration Center, you will receive a printed validation showing proof of purchase. Both the purchase code and the validation will be accepted as proof of the purchase for 45 days, and must be possessed while hunting waterfowl and coots. The paper stamp will be mailed to the purchaser.
    • The proof of purchase will expire after 45 days after which the purchaser must possess the stamp, signed in ink, while hunting waterfowl and coots.
    • This stamp must be signed in ink but does not have to be attached to the hunting license.
    • If you do not receive your federal duck stamp within 2-3 weeks after purchase from DNR online or by phone, please email duckstamp@amplex.com or call 1-800-852-4897.

Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp

At National Wildlife Refuges, U.S. Post Offices and at duckstamp.com$25.00

From the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal OR any DNR Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a DNR Sport License agent$27.00

  • A Harvest Information Program (HIP) Certification is required of all hunters to hunt all migratory game birds in Maryland. The certification is free and issued with the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp.
  • Hunters must have the the printed validation showing proof of purchase of the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and HIP certification in their possession while hunting migratory game birds.
  • When you purchase your Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp, you will be asked the following HIP questions that are used for harvest survey sampling only:
    • Do you plan to hunt brant this coming hunting season?
    • About how many ducks, geese, doves, and woodcock did you bag last season?
    • Did you hunt sea ducks (eiders, long-tailed duck and scoters), coots, snipe or rails last season?
  • A Maryland Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season Permit is required to participate in the Light Goose Conservation Order Season. Hunters must possess the printed validation showing proof of the purchase of this permit while hunting. (See Light Goose Seasons & Bag Limits below).

Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season Permit$5.00

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

  • A Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License allows you to shoot only captive-raised game birds on a state-licensed Regulated Shooting Area (see Other Licenses, Maryland Hunting Licenses). 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 the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp, and a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp or its proof of purchase (if over the age of 15).
  • A Stationary Blind and Blind Site License is required to hunt from an offshore waterfowl blind or blind site in Maryland public waters (see Other Licenses pg. 54). For Maryland Offshore Waterfowl Hunting information see: dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/hunt_trap/offshore_intro.aspx.

Migratory Game Bird Seasons, Bag Limits, & Locations

There is no open season for gallinules, harlequin ducks, moorhens, or swans.

Early Resident Canada Goose
Eastern Zone Season 2016

Season Dates:

  • Sept. 1 – 15

The Eastern Zone season is open in these counties:

  • Calvert
  • Caroline
  • Cecil
  • Dorchester
  • Harford
  • Kent
  • Queen Anne’s
  • St. Mary’s
  • Somerset
  • Talbot
  • Wicomico
  • Worcester; and
  • that part of Anne Arundel County east of Interstate 895, Interstate 97 and Route 3; and
  • that part of Prince George’s County east of Route 3 and Route 301; and
  • that part of Charles County east of Route 301

Early Resident Canada Goose
Western Zone Season 2016

Season Dates:

  • Sept. 1 – 24

The Western Zone season is open in these counties:

  • Allegany
  • Baltimore
  • Carroll
  • Frederick
  • Garrett
  • Howard
  • Montgomery
  • Washington; and
  • that part of Anne Arundel County west of Interstate 895, Interstate 97 and Route 3; and
  • that part of Prince George’s County west of Route 3 and Route 301; and
  • that part of Charles County west of Route 301

Early Resident Canada Goose Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The Eastern and Western Zone daily bag limit is eight (8) geese and the possession limit is 24.
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset for both zones.
  • Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells may be used to take resident Canada geese during the September seasons only.

Migratory Canada Geese (Atlantic Population–AP) and Resident Canada Geese have different hunting zones.

Migratory Atlantic Population Canada Goose Season 2016-2017

Migratory (AP) Canada Goose Season Dates:

  • Nov. 19- Nov.25, Dec. 16- Feb. 4

The Atlantic Population Hunt Zone includes these counties:

  • Anne Arundel
  • Baltimore
  • Calvert
  • Caroline
  • Cecil
  • Dorchester
  • Harford
  • Howard
  • Kent
  • Queen Anne’s
  • Somerset
  • St. Mary’s
  • Talbot
  • Wicomico
  • Worcester;
    and
  • that portion of Carroll County east of Route 31 to the intersection of Route 97, and east of Route 97 to the Pennsylvania line; and
  • that portion of Prince George’s County east of Route 3 and Route 301; and
  • that portion of Charles County east of Route 301

Migratory (AP) Canada Goose Zone Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The daily bag limit is two (2) geese (in the AP Hunt Zone) and the possession limit six (6).
  • The bag limit may include Canada geese, cackling geese, and white-fronted geese.
  • Shooting hours for this season and zone are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Late Resident Canada Goose Season 2016-2017

Late Resident Canada Goose Season Dates:

  • Nov. 19- Nov.25, Dec. 13- Mar. 8

The Late Resident Goose Hunt Zone includes these counties:

  • Allegany
  • Frederick
  • Garrett
  • Montgomery
  • Washington;
    and
  • that portion of Carroll County west of Route 31 to the intersection of Route 97, and west of Route 97 to the Pennsylvania line; and
  • that portion of Prince George’s County west of Route 3 and Route 301; and
  • that portion of Charles County west of Route 301

Late Resident Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The daily bag limit is five (5) geese (in the Late Resident Goose Hunt Zone) and the possession limit is 15.
  • The bag limit may include Canada geese, cackling geese, and white-fronted geese.
  • Shooting hours for this season and zone are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

September Teal Season 2016

Season Dates:

  • Sept. 16 – 30

The September Teal Season is open in these counties:

  • Calvert
  • Caroline
  • Cecil
  • Dorchester
  • Harford
  • Kent
  • Queen Anne’s
  • St. Mary’s
  • Somerset
  • Talbot
  • Wicomico
  • Worcester; and
  • that part of Anne Arundel County east of Interstate 895, Interstate 97 and Route 3; and
  • that part of Prince George’s County east of Route 3 and Route 301; and
  • that part of Charles County east of Route 301

September Teal Bag Limits and Rules

  • The daily bag limit is six (6) teal. The bag limit may include blue-winged and green-winged teal. The possession limit is 18.
  • Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for September Teal Season.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days 2016-2017

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days:

  • Nov. 5, 2016 & Feb. 11, 2017

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days are for hunters age 16 or younger only.

To hunt during these days:

  • Youth hunters must have completed a Hunter Education Course and received a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunting Safety. (See Hunter Education Requirement, Maryland Hunting Licenses).
  • Youth must have a Hunting License or be exempt from the license requirement. (See Who May Hunt Without a License, Maryland Hunting Licenses).
  • Youth hunters must possess the printed validation showing proof of purchase of the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and HIP certification.
  • A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is not required of those 15 and younger. This stamp is required of those who are 16 years old.
  • Youth hunters hunting on these days must be accompanied in the field by an individual who:
    • is 21 years old or older;
    • possesses a valid Maryland hunting license, or is exempt from hunting license requirements;
    • is unarmed;
    • is not participating in other waterfowl seasons that are open on the youth days; and
    • may call waterfowl, assist with decoys, and retrieve downed birds.

Youth Waterfowl Days Bag Limits and Rules:

The daily bag limit for each Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day is:

  • 6 ducks, no more than:
    • 5 sea ducks (no more than 4 scoters, 4 long-tailed ducks, or 4 eiders)
    • 4 mallards (only 2 can be hens)
    • 3 wood ducks
    • 2 scaup
    • 2 redheads
    • 2 pintails
    • 2 hooded mergansers
    • 2 canvasback
    • 1 black duck
    • 1 fulvous tree duck
    • 1 mottled duck
  • 2 Canada geese in the Atlantic Population Goose Hunt Zone or
  • 5 Canada geese in the Late Resident Goose Hunt Zone
  • 2 brant
  • 25 light geese
  • 15 coots
  • Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.

Regular Duck Season 2016-2017 (Including coots)

Statewide Season Dates:

  • Oct. 15 – Oct. 22, Nov. 12- Nov. 25, Dec. 13- Jan. 28

Statewide Seasons Dates for Black Duck

  • Nov. 12- Nov. 25, Dec. 13- Jan. 28

Black ducks may only be taken during the Black Duck Season.

Duck Season Daily Bag Limits and Rules:

  • 6 ducks, no more than:
    • 4 mallards (only 2 can be hens)
    • 3 wood ducks
    • 2 scaup
    • 2 redheads
    • 2 pintails
    • 2 hooded mergansers
    • 2 canvasback
    • 1 black duck (Black Duck Season only)
    • 1 fulvous tree duck
    • 1 mottled duck
    • 5 sea ducks (no more than 4 scoters, 4 long-tailed ducks, or 4 eiders).
      NOTE – In the Special Sea Duck Zone, sea ducks may only be taken during Nov. 5-Jan. 13. In all other areas, sea ducks may be taken during the Regular Duck Season as part of the regular duck bag limit.
  • All other species of ducks may be taken up to the six (6) duck limit.
  • There is no open season for harlequin ducks.
  • The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.
  • Shooting hours for all duck and coot seasons are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
  • In addition to the duck bag limit hunters may take 15 coots per day.

Sea Duck Season In the Special Sea Duck Zone 2016-2017

Sea Duck Zone Season Dates:

  • Nov. 5- Jan. 13
  • Sea ducks may only be taken in the Special Sea Duck Zone during the Sea Duck Season. Outside of the Special Sea Duck Zone, sea ducks may be taken as part of the regular duck bag limit when the Regular Duck Season is open.
  • Sea duck species are long-tailed ducks, black scoters, white-winged scoters, surf scoters, and eiders.

Sea Duck Zone Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The daily bag limit is 5 for sea ducks in the Special Sea Duck Zone and may include no more than 4 long-tailed ducks, 4 scoters, or 4 eiders.
  • The possession limit is 15 for sea ducks taken in the Special Sea Duck Zone including no more than 12 scoters.
  • For more information on the Special Sea Duck Zone see: dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/hunt_trap/seaducks.aspx

Brant Season 2016-2017

Statewide Season Dates:

  • Nov. 8- Nov. 25, Dec. 12- Jan. 31
  • The daily bag limit is two (2) brant and the possession limit is six (6).
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Light Goose Season 2016-2017

Statewide Season Dates:

  • Oct. 1 – Nov. 25, Dec. 12 – Feb. 4 & Feb. 11

Statewide Season Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The daily bag limit is 25 light geese and there is no possession limit.
  • The bag limit may include greater snow geese, lesser snow geese, and Ross’s geese.
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for the light goose hunting season.

Light Goose Conservation Order Season 2016-2017

Conservation Order Season Dates:

  • Nov. 28 – Dec. 10, Feb. 6 – Feb. 10, Feb. 13 – April 15
  • The Light Goose Conservation Order Season provides additional hunting opportunities and methods to help reduce light goose over-population.
  • A Maryland hunting license (or resident Delaware hunting license) is required to hunt light geese in Maryland during the Light Goose Conservation Order Season. (See Maryland Hunting Licenses).
  • Hunters must possess the printed validation showing proof of purchase of the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and HIP certification to hunt during the Maryland Light Goose Conservation Order Season. (See General Migratory Bird Hunting Rules).
  • A $5 Maryland Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season Permit is required to participate in the Light Goose Conservation Order Season. Hunters must possess the printed validation showing proof of the purchase of this permit while hunting.
  • A Federal Duck Stamp is not required when hunting during the Conservation Order Season.
  • The Light Goose Conservation Order Season Zone includes these counties:
    • Anne Arundel
    • Baltimore
    • Calvert
    • Caroline
    • Cecil
    • Dorchester
    • Harford
    • Howard
    • Kent
    • Queen Anne’s
    • Somerset
    • St. Mary’s
    • Talbot
    • Wicomico
    • Worcester; and
    • that portion of Carroll County east of Route 31 to the intersection of Route 97, and east of Route 97 to the Pennsylvania line; and
    • that portion of Prince George’s County east of Route 3 and Route 301; and
    • that portion of Charles County east of Route 301.

Conservation Order Season Zone Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The Light Goose Conservation Order Season and Zone does not include the Special Sea Duck Zone.
  • There is no bag limit or possession limit for the Light Goose Conservation Order Season.
  • Hunters may take greater snow geese, lesser snow geese, and Ross’s geese.
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset during the Light Goose Conservation Order Season.
  • Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells and electronic calls of light geese may be used during the Light Goose Conservation Order Season.

Mourning Dove Season 2016-2017

Statewide Season Dates:

  • Sept. 1 – Oct. 8, Oct. 21 – Nov. 19, Dec. 17 – Jan. 7

Statewide Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The daily bag limit is 15 for doves. The possession limit for doves is 45.
  • Shooting hours for the Sept. 1-Oct. 8 dove season segment are 12 noon to sunset. For season dates after Oct. 8 the hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset

Woodcock Season 2016-2017

Statewide Season Dates:

  • Oct. 28 – Nov. 25, Jan. 13 – Jan. 28

Statewide Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The daily bag limit is three (3) woodcock and the possession limit is nine (9).
  • Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for woodcock.

Rail Season 2016

Statewide Season Dates:

  • Sept. 1 – Nov. 9

Statewide Bag Limits and Rules:

  • Clapper and King Rails: The daily bag limit is 10 (with no more than one (1) king rail). The possession limit is 30 clapper and king rails (with no more than three (3) king rails).
  • Sora and Virginia Rails: The daily bag limit is 25 and the possession limit for these rails is 75.
  • Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for rails.

Common Snipe Season 2016-2017

Statewide Season Dates:

  • Sept. 27 – Nov. 25, Dec. 13 – Jan. 28

Statewide Bag Limits and Rules:

  • The daily bag limit is eight (8) common snipe and the possession limit is 24.
  • Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for common snipe.

Extended Falconry Seasons 2016-2017

  • Hunting with birds of prey (here referred to as Falconry) is permitted one half hour before sunrise to sunset, Monday through Saturday. No Sundays are open to hunt migratory birds.
  • A valid hunting license, migratory game bird stamps and a Falconry Permit are required to hunt migratory game birds with birds of prey.
  • A bird of prey may be used to hunt migratory game birds during any open season.
  • In addition to the regular open seasons, the Extended Falconry Season dates are as follows for hunting migratory game birds:
    • Mourning Doves: Jan. 8 – Jan. 24
    • Rails: Nov. 10 – Dec. 16
    • Woodcock: Oct. 1 – Oct. 29, Feb. 7 – Mar. 10
    • Ducks: Feb. 1 – Mar. 10
    • Brant: Feb. 1 – Mar. 10
    • Light Geese: Feb. 28 – Mar. 10

Bag limits for each species is three (3) per day, with a possession limit of none (9).

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Rules & Regulations

(For brant, coots, doves, ducks, geese, rails, snipe, and woodcock.)

  • Fluorescent orange clothing is not required to hunt migratory game birds except woodcock. See Fluorescent Orange Clothing Requirements and Exceptions.
  • The daily bag limit is the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination (aggregate) of species permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season.
  • The field possession limit is the one daily bag limit that you may possess while in the field or returning from the field to your vehicle, hunting camp, or personal abode.
  • The possession limit is the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination of species permitted to be possessed by any one person.
  • A person may not kill or wound any migratory game bird without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird, and include it in the daily bag limit.
  • Wounded birds reduced to possession shall immediately be killed and included in your daily bag limit.
  • It is unlawful to completely field dress or breast-out any migratory game bird (except dove) before transporting the birds from the field. The head or one fully-feathered wing must remain attached to all birds (except doves) while being transported from the field until they have arrived at your personal abode or a migratory bird processing facility.
  • If you are giving, putting, or leaving migratory game birds at any place or in the possession of another person, you must tag each bird with the hunter’s signature, address, hunting license number or DNRid number, the total number and species of birds killed, and dates the birds were killed. Tagging is required even if someone else is transporting the bird for you or the bird has been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment, or taxidermy services.
  • To ship tagged migratory game birds the package must be conspicuously marked on the outside with the name and address of the person sending the birds, name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent, and number of birds by species contained in the package.
  • It is illegal to take migratory game birds with traps, snares, nets, rifles, pistols, swivel guns, fish hooks, poisons, drugs, explosives, or stupefying substances.
  • It is against the law to bait migratory game birds and hunt them by placing a lure or enticement such as corn, wheat, salt, or other feed.
  • An area is considered by law to be baited for 10 days after removal of the bait.
  • Migratory game birds may not be hunted over any area where seed has been top sown or broadcast on top of the soil leaving the seed available to feeding birds. Before hunting can occur on areas where seeds or small grains have been top sown or broadcast as a normal agricultural practice, all seed must have either germinated, or the seed must be covered with soil, or completely removed by other means at least 10 days before hunting.
  • Doves may be hunted in areas where seed-producing plants such as corn, sunflowers, wheat, and other small grains are manipulated (mowed, knocked down, burned) to attract doves for hunting. In this instance, the 10-day rule does not apply.
  • It is unlawful to hunt waterfowl on an area where tame or captive live ducks, geese, or swans (live decoys) are present unless the birds are, and have been for a period of 10 consecutive days before hunting, removed from the area or confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals the birds from the sight of wild migratory waterfowl.
  • Live decoys may include but are not limited to the following:
    • captive-raised and domestic waterfowl that have been released that do not exhibit the natural wariness of man associated with a wild bird.
    • waterfowl that do not leave the area when hands are clapped and/or a shotgun is discharged.
    • wounded waterfowl that have gone un-retrieved.
    • waterfowl whose wings are either pinioned or whose outer primary feathers have been cut or removed to render flight impossible.
    • captive-raised domestic ducks and geese (such as Muscovy ducks, Egyptian geese, etc.) may be considered live decoys if they do not exhibit the natural wariness of man associated with a wild bird.
    • live ducks, geese, or swans that are either tethered or penned at or near a hunting location.
  • It is unlawful to sell taxidermy-mounted migratory game birds for use as decoys.
  • It is illegal to use common reed (i.e., Phragmites) in any manner for the construction of hunting blinds on lands owned or controlled by DNR.
  • It is against the law to construct, or cause to be constructed, permanent hunting blinds or tree stands, and to leave waterfowl decoys set overnight on lands owned or controlled by DNR, except with written permission from DNR.
  • It is unlawful to hunt wild migratory game birds on Sunday.
  • It is illegal to hunt any animal other than deer on the opening day of Deer Firearms Season except sea ducks in the Sea Duck Zone.
  • It is against the law to hunt waterfowl from a sink box (low-floating device with depression that conceals the hunter beneath the surface of the water).
  • It is unlawful to hunt waterfowl from or with the aid or use of a truck or any other motor-driven land conveyance or any aircraft.
  • It is illegal to hunt waterfowl from or by means of any motorboat or sailboat unless the motor has been completely shut off and /or the sails furled and the boat’s progress has ceased.
  • It is against the law to hunt migratory game birds while in possession of any electronic calling device from which bird calls are conveyed or amplified and to use recordings of migratory game bird calls or sounds or electronically amplified imitations of bird calls except while hunting light geese during the Conservation Order Season.
  • It is unlawful to drive, rally, or chase waterfowl with any motorized conveyance or any sailboat to put the birds in the range of hunters.
  • Captive-raised mallard ducks may not be released to the wild except under the authority of a Regulated Shooting Area Permit (see Regulated Shooting Areas Requirements, Maryland Hunting Licenses), Retriever Training Permit, or a Field Trial Permit issued by DNR.

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Devices & Regulations

(For brant, coots, doves, ducks, geese, rails, snipe, and woodcock.)

  • It is unlawful to possess either a rifle or pistol at any time while hunting brant, coots, ducks, and geese.
  • Only shotguns and some archery equipment may be used to hunt migratory game birds.
  • It is illegal to have a loaded firearm in, on, or leaning against any vehicle. This includes ammunition in the magazine or a muzzleloader ready to fire.
  • It is unlawful to hunt with an automatic firearm capable of firing a series of shots with one continuous pull of the trigger.
  • It is unlawful to have a loaded crossbow in, on or leaning against a vehicle.
  • A cocked crossbow without a bolt or arrow in the firing position is considered to be unloaded.
  • It is against the law to shoot on, from or across any public road.
  • It is illegal to hunt or shoot at wildlife within 150 yards of an occupied building or camp without permission of the owner or occupant. For archery hunters this distance is 100 yards in Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties and 50 yards in Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, and St. Mary’s counties. In Harford County, the distance for archery hunters is now 50 yards, however, archers must use a tree stand when hunting between 50 and 100 yards of an occupied dwelling or other building.
  • It is unlawful to discharge a firearm within 300 yards of a public or nonpublic school while hunting. This prohibition only applies during school hours or when the building is occupied. This safety zone does not apply to colleges, universities, or home schools.

Shotguns

  • Only shotguns that are 10-gauge or smaller may be used to hunt migratory game birds.
  • Shotguns capable of holding more than three (3) shells must be plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the shotgun with these exceptions:
    • when hunting resident Canada geese during the September Seasons.
    • when hunting light geese during the Light Goose Conservation Order Season.
  • Muzzleloading shotguns may be used to hunt all migratory game birds.
  • It is illegal to take brant, coots, ducks, geese, rails, and snipe with lead shot and to possess lead shot while hunting them. This restriction includes muzzleloading shotguns and taking captive-raised mallards on licensed Regulated Shooting Areas.
  • Nontoxic shot (as determined by the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service) must be used when hunting brant, coots, ducks, geese, rails, and snipe. See the USFWS website at (fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/hunting/nontoxic.php) for current information on nontoxic shot.
  • Nontoxic shot larger than No. T (.20 inches in diameter) may not be used to hunt brant, coots, ducks, geese, rails, and snipe.
  • Hunters may not use or possess shotgun slugs, sabots, or pumpkin balls while hunting brant, coots, ducks, geese, rails, and snipe.
  • Doves and woodcock may be taken with lead shot.

Archery Equipment

  • Vertical bows may be used to hunt migratory game birds.
  • Draw locking devices on vertical bows are not permitted when hunting ducks, geese, coots, and brant.
  • Crossbows may not be used to hunt brant, coots, ducks, and geese.
  • Crossbows may be used to hunt doves, rails, snipe, and woodcock.
  • The use of poisoned or explosive tipped arrows or bolts is not permitted.

REPORT YOUR BIRD BANDS, CALL 1-800-327-BAND

Each year, state and federal waterfowl biologists mark tens of thousands of waterfowl with numbered leg bands. Hunters who report recovered bands receive specific information on where and when the bird was banded while providing important information for waterfowl management. To report band numbers from all types of birds (except pigeons), go on-line at reportband.gov or call 800-327-BAND (2263). The information needed is: the band number, hunter’s name and address, and date and location (nearest town) of harvest.

Potomac River Boating Regulations

A person aboard a vessel, raft or tube must WEAR a U.S. Coast Guard Approved Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device at all times while underway on the upper Potomac River (up-river from the Little Falls Dam) and its tributaries during the period beginning at 12:01a.m. each November 15 and ending at 12 midnight each succeeding May 15. From May 15 through November 15 all persons aboard a vessel are required to have a Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device on board and readily available. In addition to the above PFD requirement, a Type IV throwable device is required on all vessels 16 feet and longer.