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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 snowshoe 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, Stamps and Permits (Hunting Licenses) 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.
  • Shotguns cannot hold more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells must be plugged with a one-piece filler which cannot be removed from the loading end.
  • 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 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 Regulations for exceptions, Hunting Regulations).

Special Pheasant Hunts for 2019

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be offering “do-it-yourself” hunts for stocked pheasants in 2019. The pheasant hunts will take place on public lands in several regions of the state. Application information, dates, locations and other resources are available at: https://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/hunt_trap/Mentored-Hunt-Program.aspx. Apprentice license holders, junior license holders and hunters who have previously held a Maryland hunting license, but not in the past three years, are eligible to apply. For additional information contact Nancy Doran at 301-777-2136 or nancy.doran@maryland.gov