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Small Game Hunting

Small Game Includes: Crows, Pheasant, Quail, Rabbits, Ruffed Grouse, and Squirrels

General Small Game Hunting Rules

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

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 in Maryland (with exceptions). (See Maryland Hunting Licenses) for requirements, types, costs, exceptions, purchasing, and Armed Forces information.
  • Fluorescent orange clothing is required to hunt small game in Maryland except crows. (See Fluorescent Orange Clothing Requirements and Exceptions).
  • 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 & Regulations

  • Firearms, air rifles, and archery equipment may be used to hunt small game.
  • A shotgun may not hold more than three (3) 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 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 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 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).

Small Game Seasons, Bag Limits, Locations 2016-2017

Sunday Hunting- The following small game species may be hunted on all Sundays during the open season on private and designated public lands in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties: eastern cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels, eastern fox squirrels, red squirrels, quail (Washington County only), ruffed grouse, pheasants.

Designated public lands open to Sunday hunting in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties are ONLY: Billmeyer-Belle Grove WMA, Cunningham Swamp WMA, Dan’s Mountain WMA, Garrett SF, Green Ridge SF, Indian Springs WMA, Mount Nebo WMA, Potomac SF, Prather’s Neck WMA, Savage River SF, Sideling Hill WMA, Warrior Mountain WMA.

Species

Open Season

Location

Bag Limit

Possession Limit

Mammals

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Nov. 5- Feb. 28

All counties

4 per day

8

Squirrel

Gray & eastern fox

Sept. 3- Feb. 28

All counties

6 per day

12

Squirrel

Red or piney

Sept. 3- Feb. 28

All counties

No limit

No limit

Delmarva Fox Squirrel

Closed Season

Birds

Quail

Closed Season

Allegany & Garrett counties

Nov. 5-Dec. 15

Lands owned or managed by DNR excluding Allegany & Garrett counties

6 per day, no more than 3 per day on lands owned or managed by DNR

12 in all counties and zones combined

Nov. 5- Feb. 15

Private lands east of I-83 from PA south to I-695 to I95 south to VA

Nov. 5- Jan. 15

Private lands west of I-83 from PA south to I-695 to I95 south to VA

Ruffed Grouse

Oct. 1- Jan. 31

All counties

2 per day

4

Pheasant

Nov. 5- Dec. 31

All counties

1 per day- male only

2- males only

Crow

Aug. 15- Mar. 15

Wed. – Sat. only

All counties

No limit

No limit

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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