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Small Game Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Maryland Hunting

Small Game Includes: crows, pheasant, quail, rabbits, ruffed grouse and squirrels.

The Delmarva fox squirrel and snow shoe hare may not be hunted in Maryland.

General Small Game Hunting Rules

Daily small game shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.

  • A hunter must carry personal photo identification (such as a driver’s license) or a secondary form of positive identification while hunting.
  • Written permission is required to hunt on private land.
  • A hunting license is required to hunt small game (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses and Prices for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
  • Daylight fluorescent color clothing is required to hunt small game except crows (see Fluorescent Color Clothing Requirements and Exceptions, Hunting Regulations).
  • The use of decoys, calls and/or recordings may be used for crow hunting.
  • The head, plumage and feet shall remain attached to all pheasants to permit identification of species and sex while being transported from the place where killed to the place of final disposition. This does not pertain to captive-reared pheasants taken on Regulated Shooting Areas.
  • It is against the law to hunt any animal other than deer on the first day of Deer Firearms Season, except sea ducks in the Sea Duck Zone.

Small Game Hunting Devices and Regulations

  • Firearms, archery equipment and air guns that shoot bullets, arrows or bolts may be used to hunt small game.
  • A shotgun may not hold more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
  • Telescopic and laser sights may be used on all devices legal for hunting small game.
  • It is illegal to have a loaded air gun or firearm in, on or leaning against any vehicle. This includes ammunition in the magazine or a muzzleloader ready to fire.
  • All crossbows should have a working safety.
  • It is unlawful to have a loaded crossbow in, on or leaning against any vehicle. A cocked crossbow without a bolt or arrow in the firing position is considered to be unloaded.
  • It is illegal to shoot on, from or across any public road.
  • It is illegal to hunt, trap or shoot at wildlife within 150 yards of any building or camp occupied by human beings without permission of the owner or occupant. For archery hunters this distance is 100 yards in Anne Arundel County and 50 yards in Carroll, Calvert, Frederick, Harford, Montgomery and St. Mary’s counties. In Harford, archers must use a tree stand when hunting between 50 and 100 yards of any building or camp occupied by human beings. In Montgomery, archers must be in an elevated position when hunting between 50 and 100 yards of any building or camp occupied by human beings.
  • It is against the law 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.
  • It is unlawful to cast the rays of an artificial light from a vehicle on woods, fields, orchards, livestock, wild mammals or birds, dwellings or buildings (see General Hunting Regulations for exceptions).