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Deer Hunting Season

Hunting Regulations Icon Maryland Hunting

General Deer Hunting Rules

  • 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 deer in Maryland (with exceptions). See Maryland Hunting Licenses for requirements, types, costs, exceptions, purchasing, and Armed Forces information.
  • An Archery Stamp is required for Archery Deer Season and a Muzzleloader Stamp is required for Muzzleloader Deer Season .
  • The use of a Maryland Big Game Harvest Record is required of all Maryland deer and turkey hunters. It is issued with the hunting license and is used to record the species, date, county, sex, hunting device, and Confirmation Number of every deer and turkey taken during a hunting license year. Those who may hunt deer without a license must obtain a free Big Game Harvest Record through the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ OR any DNR Licensing and Registration Service Center OR a DNR Sport License agent.
  • Deer and turkeys taken in Maryland must be field tagged immediately and checked in within 24 hours with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking .
  • There are fluorescent orange clothing requirements to hunt deer in Maryland. See Fluorescent Orange Clothing Requirements and Exceptions.
  • Archery equipment may be used to hunt deer during all of the deer hunting seasons. This includes the Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • Muzzleloading firearms may only be used to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season, and Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • Shotguns may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • Breech-loading rifles and modern handguns may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Hunt Days in certain counties. (See map)
  • Air guns that shoot bullets, arrows or bolts may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the Firearms Season and Junior Hunt Days only.
  • Deer harvested must count towards the bag limit of the season in which they are taken, please note:
    • Deer harvested with archery equipment during the antlerless-only second split of the early Muzzleloader Season in Region B must count towards the Archery Season bag limit.
  • Telescopic and laser sights may be used on all devices legal for hunting deer.
  • The antlered white-tailed deer bag limit is statewide. It applies to both Region A and Region B together.
  • Antlerless white-tailed deer bag limits are separate and independent for Region A and Region B.
  • Sika deer bag limits are independent of the white-tailed deer bag limits.
  • There is no restriction on the number of deer that may be taken per day within the season bag limits.
  • Recorded or electrically amplified calls or sounds are prohibited for the purpose of deer hunting.
  • Non-electronic deer calls are permitted for deer hunting.
  • Dogs cannot be used to hunt deer except trained tracking dogs may be used to find dead, wounded, or injured deer. The dog handler must maintain physical control of the tracking dog at all times and only the hunter and dog handler may carry a hunting device while tracking the deer. Prior to tracking the deer, the hunter must notify the Natural Resources Police by telephone at 1-800-628-9944. The hunter may dispatch the deer only during legal shooting hours and by means legal for the current hunting season.
  • Deer may not be hunted while they are swimming or taking refuge in water.
  • Fallow deer (where they are found) may be taken in place of white-tailed deer during each of the Seasons. Fallow deer have escaped from captivity and are found in a few isolated areas in Maryland.
  • It is legal to bait deer except on state-owned or state-controlled properties.
  • A person that intentionally wounds or kills any white-tailed or sika deer must make a reasonable attempt to retrieve and make use of the deer. This includes hunters and persons shooting under the authority of a Deer Management Permit (crop damage permit).
  • A person must have written permission when entering on to lands owned by another person or organization for the purpose of retrieving a deer. Some publicly owned properties also require permission before a person may access them.
  • 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 (pg. 53) for exceptions.

Attention

Deer and turkeys taken in Maryland must be field tagged immediately and checked in within 24 hours with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking.

REGION A: Allegany County, Garrett County, and the western portion of Washington County (Zone 2, Private Land Code Areas 250 & 251) that lies west of a line beginning at the intersection of Rt. 494 and the Pennsylvania line, south on Rt. 494 to Rt. 57, south on Rt. 57 to Rt. 40 at St. Paul’s Church, west on Rt. 40 to the junction of Big Spring Rd. and Rt. 40 in Clear Spring, south on Big Spring Rd. to the junction of Rt. 56 at Big Spring, following Rt. 56 west to the junction of Charles Mill Rd., then south on Charles Mill Rd. to the Potomac River.

REGION B: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington (Zone 1, Private Land Code Area 252: the eastern portion of Washington County that lies east of a line beginning at the intersection of Rt. 494 and the Pennsylvania line, south on Rt. 494 to Rt. 57, south on Rt. 57 to Rt. 40 at St. Paul’s Church, west on Rt. 40 to the junction of Big Spring Rd. and Rt. 40 in Clear Spring, south on Big Spring Rd. to the junction of Rt. 56 at Big Spring, following Rt. 56 west to the junction of Charles Mill Rd., then south on Charles Mill Rd. to the Potomac River), Wicomico and Worcester counties.

Maryland Shotgun and Rifle Counties/Areas
for Firearms Deer Hunting

Breech-loading rifles may not be used to hunt deer in:

  • Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, and Talbot counties.
  • A section of Fredrick County and sections of Worcester County.

Junior Deer Hunting Days & Bag Limits

Junior Deer Hunting Days are for hunters age 16 or younger only.

To hunt during these days:

  • They must have a Hunting License or be exempt from the license requirement. (See Who May Hunt Without a License on pg. 56).
  • Junior hunters must be accompanied in the field by an individual who:
    • is 21 years old or older.
    • possesses a valid Maryland hunting license, (an Apprentice Hunting License does not meet this requirement), or is exempt from hunting license requirements.
    • is unarmed.

Daily deer shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset with the exception of certain Sundays in certain counties. (See Sunday Hunting)

Junior Deer Hunt Days 2017

  • Nov. 11, statewide
  • Sunday, Nov. 12 in certain counties.(See chart)

Junior Deer Hunt Days Bag Limits:

  • Junior Deer Hunting Days have a separate bag limit. Deer taken by junior hunters during these days do not count towards the regular Archery, Muzzleloader, or Firearms Seasons bag limits.
  • Junior hunters are NOT required to comply with the antler point restriction during any of the deer seasons. (See White-tailed Antler Point Restrictions.)
  • The Region A total bag limit is one (1) antlered or antlerless white-tailed deer for Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • The Region B total bag limit is three (3) white-tailed deer; no more than one (1) may be antlered for Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • The Sika Deer total bag limit is one (1) antlered or antlerless sika deer for Junior Deer Hunting Days.

Antlered White-tailed Deer Statewide Seasons & Bag Limits

The antlered white-tailed deer bag limit is statewide and applies to both Region A and Region B together.

  • Daily deer shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset with the exception of certain Sundays in certain counties. (See Sunday Hunting)
  • An antlered white-tailed deer is defined as a deer with two or more points to one antler, or a deer with one antler three or more inches long, measuring from the top of the skull as the deer is in life.
  • An antler point is defined as any antler projection one inch or more in length and includes the brow tine. The tip of the main beam is also considered a point.

White-tailed Antler Point Restrictions

  • A statewide Antler Point Restriction is in effect on some, but not all, of the antlered white-tailed deer a hunter may harvest during the license year. The Antler Point Restriction includes these regulations:
    • Hunters may harvest two antlered white-tailed deer within the yearly bag limit that do not meet the requirement of having at least three points on one antler.  Any additional antlered white-tailed deer taken within the yearly bag limit must meet the minimum point restriction.
    • These deer may be taken in any order within the existing bag limit.
    • Junior hunters that possess a valid Junior Hunting License (or junior hunters that are exempt from the licensing requirement) or are 16 years of age or younger and possess an Apprentice Hunting License are NOT required to comply with the antler point restriction during any of the deer seasons.

Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp

  • Deer hunters must purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp to take a bonus antlered white-tailed deer except those who possess an Apprentice Hunting License or those who may hunt without a license do not need to purchase the stamp to take a bonus antlered white-tailed deer.
  • Hunting license holders may purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp to take one additional antlered white-tailed deer in Region B only, during one season of their choice (Archery, Muzzleloader, or Firearms).
  • Hunters must take two antlerless white-tailed deer in any combination of seasons in Region B before a bonus antlered white-tailed deer can be taken with a Bonus Stamp.
  • A Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp must be purchased prior to pursuing a bonus antlered deer.
  • Only one bonus antlered white-tailed deer may be taken for each hunting license year.
  • A Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp that is not used during one season may be used in a subsequent season (Archery, Muzzleloader, or Firearms) during that license year.
  • Persons that possess an Apprentice Hunting License or are exempt from needing a hunting license do not need to purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp but must take two antlerless white-tailed deer in any combination of seasons in Region B before a bonus antlered white-tailed deer can be taken with a Bonus Stamp.
  • The Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp may not be used during the Oct. 19-Oct. 21, 2017 portion of the Muzzleloader Season.
  • Bonus Antlered Deer Stamps may not be used to take Sika Deer.

Resident Bonus Antlered
Deer Stamp$10.00

Nonresident Bonus Antlered
Deer Stamp$25.00

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

Antlered White-tailed Archery Season 2017-2018

  • Statewide Season Dates: Sept. 8 – Oct. 18, Oct. 22 – Nov. 24, Dec. 11 – Dec. 15, Jan. 1 – Jan. 4, Jan. 8 – Jan. 31
  • Archery Season is also open Jan. 5- Jan. 6 in Region A.

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for antlered white-tailed deer during Archery Season is one (1).

Antlered White-tailed Muzzleloader Season 2017

  • Oct. 19–Oct. 21, Dec. 16–Dec. 30

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for antlered white-tailed deer during the Muzzleloader Season is one (1).
  • Only one (1) deer total (antlered or antlerless) may be taken in Region A during the October 19–21, 2017 Muzzleloader Season. This deer must be antlered if it is taken on DNR public land.
  • The Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp may not be used during the Oct. 19–21, 2017 Muzzleloader Season.

Antlered White-tailed Firearms Season 2017-2018

  • Nov. 25-Dec. 9
  • Firearms Season is also open Jan. 5 – Jan. 7 in Region B.

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for antlered white-tailed deer during the Firearms Season is one (1).

Antlerless White-tailed Deer Seasons & Bag Limits, Region A

See map (pg. 10) for Regions.

No more than two (2) antlerless deer total can be taken in Region A per license year.

  • Daily deer shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.
  • An antlerless white-tailed deer is a female deer or a male deer with no antlers or spike antlers less than three inches in length, measuring from the top of the skull as the deer is in life.
  • Region A DNR Public Lands open to antlerless white-tailed deer hunting are: Billmeyer-Belle Grove WMA, Cunningham Swamp WMA, Dan’s Mountain WMA, Deep Creek Lake State Park (Designated Areas Only), Garrett State Forest, Green Ridge State Forest, Indian Springs WMA, Mount Nebo WMA, Potomac State Forest, Prather’s Neck WMA, Rocky Gap State Park (Designated Areas Only), Savage River State Forest, Sideling Hill WMA, Warrior Mountain WMA, Woodmont, Youghiogheny Reservoir CWMA, and Youghiogheny Scenic Wild River.

Antlerless White-tailed Archery Season 2017-2018,
Region A

  • Sept. 8 – Oct. 18, Oct. 22 – Nov. 24, Dec. 11 – Dec. 15, Jan. 1 – Jan. 31

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties, see pg. 18.)

  • The total bag limit for Region A antlerless white-tailed Archery Season is one (1).

Antlerless White-tailed Muzzleloader Season 2017, Region A

  • DNR Public Lands: Dec. 30
  • All Other Lands: Oct. 19–Oct. 21 & Dec. 28- Dec. 30
  • The total bag limit for Region A antlerless white-tailed Muzzleloader Season is one (1).
  • In Region A, only one (1) deer total (antlered or antlerless) may be taken on either public or private lands during the October 19-21, 2017 Muzzleloader season. This deer must be antlered if it is taken on DNR public land.

Antlerless White-tailed Firearms Season 2017, Region A

  • DNR Public Lands: Dec. 9
  • All Other Lands: Dec. 8–Dec. 9
  • The total bag limit for Region A antlerless white-tailed Firearms Season is one (1).

Antlerless White-tailed Deer Seasons & Bag Limits, Region B

See map for Regions.

  • Daily deer shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset with the exception of certain Sundays in certain counties. (See Sunday Hunting)
  • An antlerless white-tailed deer is a female deer or a male deer with no antlers or spike antlers less than three inches in length, measuring from the top of the skull as the deer is in life.

Antlerless White-tailed Archery Season 2017-2018, REgion B

  • Sept. 8 – Oct. 18, Oct. 22 – Nov. 24, Dec. 11 – Dec. 15, Jan. 1 – Jan. 4, Jan. 8 – Jan. 31

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for Region B antlerless white-tailed deer Archery Season is unlimited.

Antlerless White-tailed Muzzleloader Season 2017, Region B

  • Oct. 19–Oct. 28, Dec. 16–Dec. 30

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for Region B antlerless white-tailed deer Muzzleloader Season is ten (10).

Antlerless White-tailed Firearms Season 2017-2018, Region B

  • Nov. 25 – Dec. 9, Jan. 5 – Jan. 7

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for Region B antlerless white-tailed deer Firearms Season is ten (10).

Sika Deer Seasons & Bag Limits

  • Daily deer shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset with the exception of certain Sundays in certain counties. (See Sunday Hunting)
  • Sika deer bag limits are independent of the white-tailed deer bag limits.
  • An antlered sika deer is a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline.
  • Bonus Antlered Deer Stamps may not be used to take Sika Deer.

Sika Archery Season 2017-2018

  • Sept. 8 – Oct. 18, Oct. 22 – Nov. 24, Dec. 11 – Dec. 15, Jan. 1 – Jan. 4, Jan. 8 – Jan. 31

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for sika deer Archery Season is three (3) deer, no more than one (1) antlered.

Sika Muzzleloader Season 2017

  • Antlered or Antlerless: Oct. 19–Oct. 21 & Dec. 16–Dec. 30
  • Antlerless Only: Oct. 23–Oct. 28

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for sika deer Muzzleloader Season is three (3) deer, no more than one (1) antlered.

Sika Firearms Season 2017-2018

  • Nov. 25 – Dec. 9, Jan.5 – Jan. 7

(Dates include Sundays in certain counties)

  • The total bag limit for sika deer Firearms Season is three (3) deer, no more than one (1) antlered.

Archery Deer Hunting Regulations

  • A hunting license is required to hunt deer during the Archery Season unless you are exempt from the license requirement. See Maryland Hunting Licenses for requirements, types, costs, exceptions, purchasing, and Armed Forces information.
  • An Archery Stamp is required to hunt deer during the Archery Season except:
    • hunters entitled to hunt without a license or that possess an apprentice hunting license do not need to purchase an Archery Stamp; and
    • hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase an Archery Stamp.

Resident Archery Stamp$6.00

Nonresident Archery Stamp$25.00

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

  • Persons who hunt with archery equipment during the Muzzleloader Season must purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp (see Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Regulations) except:
    • hunters entitled to hunt without a license or that possess an apprentice hunting license do not need to purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp; and
    • hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp.
  • To take a bonus antlered white-tailed deer, all deer hunters except those who may hunt without a license, or possess an Apprentice Hunting License, must purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp (see Antlered White-tailed Deer).
  • All archery deer hunters must have and use a Maryland Big Game Harvest Record (see General Deer Hunting Rules).
  • All deer and turkeys taken by archers in Maryland must be field tagged immediately and checked in within 24 hours with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. (See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking)
  • Archery equipment may be used to hunt deer during all of the deer hunting seasons. This includes the Archery Season, Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season, and Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • Deer taken with archery equipment must count towards the bag limit of the season in which they are taken, please note:
    • Deer harvested with archery equipment during the antlerless-only second split of the early Muzzleloader Season in Region B count towards the Archery Season bag limit.
  • It is illegal 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 County and 50 yards in Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, and St. Mary’s counties. In Harford and Montgomery counties, 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.
  • Archery hunters are not required to wear fluorescent orange within the regular Archery Season dates. Archery hunters are required to wear fluorescent orange when hunting during the:
    • Deer Muzzleloader Season (including the Region B antlerless white-tailed Muzzleloader Season when it overlaps the Archery Season);
    • Deer Firearms Season;
    • Junior Deer Hunting Days; and
    • Black Bear Season in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties.
  • Firearms or airguns may not be carried while hunting deer during the Archery Season with the following exception. In Deer Management Region A, persons 21 years old or older may carry a handgun for personal protection against bear while hunting deer during the Archery Season. The handgun:
    • may not be used for hunting any game species while the person is archery hunting for deer;
    • may not have a barrel length of more than six inches;
    • may not have a telescopic sight or electronic aiming device attached; and
    • may not be used to kill wildlife wounded by a vertical bow or crossbow.

Vertical Bow Regulations

  • The vertical bow shall have a full draw and pull of 30 pounds or more for deer hunting.
  • Draw locking devices are legal on all vertical bows for deer hunting.
  • Vertical bow release aids are permitted.

Crossbow Regulations

  • A crossbow used for deer hunting shall have a draw of 75 pounds or more.
  • 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.

Regulations for Both Vertical Bows and Crossbows

  • Arrows or bolts used for deer hunting must have a sharpened broadhead with metal points and a minimum width of 7⁄8 of an inch.
  • The use of poisoned or explosive tipped arrows or bolts is not permitted.

Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Regulations

  • A hunting license is required to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season except those exempt from the license requirement. See Maryland Hunting Licenses (pgs. 54-57) for requirements, types, costs, exceptions, purchasing, and Armed Forces information.
  • A Muzzleloader Stamp is required to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season except:
    • hunters entitled to hunt without a license or that possess an apprentice hunting license do not need to purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp; and
    • hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp.

Resident Muzzleloader Stamp$6.00

Nonresident Muzzleloader Stamp$25.00

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

  • To take a bonus antlered white-tailed deer, all deer hunters except those who may hunt without a license, or possess an Apprentice Hunting License, must purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp. (See Antlered White-tailed Deer)
  • All muzzleloader deer hunters must have and use a Maryland Big Game Harvest Record. (See General Deer Hunting Rules)
  • All deer and turkeys taken by muzzleloader hunters in Maryland must be field tagged immediately and checked in within 24 hours with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. (See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking)
  • Muzzleloading firearms may only be used to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season, and Junior Deer Hunting Days.
  • Deer taken with a muzzleloader must count towards the bag limit of the season in which they are taken. Deer taken with a muzzleloader during the Firearms Season must count towards the Firearms Season bag limit.
  • All deer hunters are required to wear fluorescent orange during all Muzzleloader Season and Firearms Season dates. (See Fluorescent Orange Clothing Requirements and Exceptions)
  • It is illegal 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 County and 50 yards in Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, and St. Mary’s counties. In Harford and Montgomery counties, 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.

Muzzleloader Regulations

  • Deer may be hunted with a muzzleloading rifle, muzzleloading shotgun, or muzzleloading handgun (both single shot and revolvers) in all Maryland counties.
  • To be considered a muzzleloader, a rifle, shotgun or handgun must be loaded from the muzzle, and a revolver must be loaded from the front of the cylinder.
  • Flintlock, percussion cap, and inline ignition muzzleloaders are legal hunting devices for deer.
  • Muzzleloading rifles or shotguns used for deer hunting must be at least .40 caliber in size and must use 60 grains of black powder or more (a black powder equivalent is acceptable) and propel one all-lead, lead alloy or copper soft-nosed or expanding bullet or ball at a single discharge.
  • Muzzleloading handguns used for deer hunting must be at least .40 caliber with a barrel length of at least 6 inches and must use 40 grains of black powder or more (a black powder equivalent is acceptable) and propel one all-lead, lead alloy or copper soft-nosed or expanding bullet or ball at a single discharge.
  • Sabot loads are legal for use in muzzleloaders used for deer hunting.
  • Muzzleloaders are considered unloaded if the ignition system is disabled by removal of the cap, primer, battery, or primer powder.
  • It is unlawful to have a loaded firearm in, on, or leaning against any vehicle. This includes a muzzleloader ready to fire.

Firearms & Air Guns Deer Hunting Regulations

  • A hunting license is required to hunt deer during the Firearms Season except those exempt from the license requirement. See Maryland Hunting Licenses for requirements, types, costs, exceptions, purchasing, and Armed Forces information.
  • To take a bonus antlered white-tailed deer, all deer hunters except those who may hunt without a license, or possess an Apprentice Hunting License, must purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp (See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking Requirements)
  • All firearm and airgun deer and turkey hunters must have and use a Maryland Big Game Harvest Record (see General Deer Hunting Rules ).
  • All deer and turkeys taken with firearms and airguns in Maryland must be field tagged immediately and checked in within 24 hours with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. (See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking Requirements).
  • Shotguns, muzzleloading firearms, air guns, and archery equipment may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the Firearms Season and Junior Hunt Days.
  • Breech-loading rifles and modern handguns may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Hunt Days in some counties. (See map and Handgun Regulations)
  • Deer taken with breech-loading firearms, muzzleloaders, air guns, or archery equipment during the Firearms Season must count towards the Firearms Season bag limit.
  • All deer hunters are required to wear fluorescent orange during the Firearms Season dates. (See Fluorescent Orange Clothing Requirements and Exceptions).
  • It is illegal to hunt any animal other than deer on the first day of Deer Firearms Season, except sea ducks in the Sea Duck Zone.
  • It is illegal 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 County and 50 yards in Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, and St. Mary’s counties. In Harford and Montgomery counties, 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.

Air Gun Regulations

  • An air gun is defined as any gun that propels a projectile by means of non-ignited compressed air or other gas. Projectiles include bullets, arrows or bolts.
  • Certain air guns may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the deer firearm season only.
  • To be legal for deer hunting an air gun must:
    • Shoot one .40 caliber or larger bullet or ball at a single discharge which generates at least 400 foot-pounds of muzzle energy; or
    • Shoot an arrow or bolt at least 18” in length with a minimum speed of 300 feet per second at release with a sharpened broadhead with metal points and a minimum width of 7/8 inch.
  • The use of poisoned or explosive tipped arrows or bolts is not permitted.
  • It is unlawful to have a loaded air gun in, on or leaning against a vehicle.
  • An air gun with the projectile removed is considered to be unloaded.

Regulations for Firearms

  • Deer may not be hunted with a firearm that is loaded with more than 8 cartridges or shells. Magazines do not have to be physically blocked.
  • Except in Dorchester County where #1 buckshot or larger may be used, firearms used for deer hunting may only shoot one all-lead, lead alloy, or copper soft-nosed or expanding bullet or ball. Sabots are permitted. Non-expanding full metal-jacketed, incendiary and tracer bullets are not permitted.
  • It is unlawful 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.
  • Firearms or airguns may not be carried while hunting deer during the Archery Season with the following exception. In Deer Management Region A, persons 21 years old or older may carry a handgun for personal protection against bear while hunting deer during the Archery Season. The handgun:
    • may not be used for hunting any game species while the person is archery hunting for deer;
    • may not have a barrel length of more than six inches;
    • may not have a telescopic sight or electronic aiming device attached; and
    • may not be used to kill wildlife wounded by a vertical bow or crossbow.
  • 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.

Rifle Regulations

  • The rifles referred to here are loaded from the breech of the barrel and use cartridges.
  • Rifles used for deer hunting must use ammunition developing a muzzle energy of at least 1,200 foot pounds. Consult ammunition guides for ballistics information.
  • See the map for Maryland Shotgun and Rifle Counties/Areas.

Shotgun Regulations

  • The shotguns referred to here are loaded from the breech of the barrel and use shells.
  • Shotguns used for deer hunting must be 28 gauge or larger.
  • Shotgun ammunition used for deer hunting must shoot a single solid projectile except in Dorchester County, where #1 buckshot or larger may be used.

Handgun Regulations

  • The handguns referred to here are loaded from the breech of the barrel or rear of the cylinder and use cartridges.
  • Handguns may be used to hunt deer only in those counties where the use of a breech-loading rifle for deer hunting is permitted with the exception that handguns may be used to hunt deer throughout Frederick County.
  • Handguns used for deer hunting must have a barrel length of 6 inches or more and use ammunition which produces a muzzle energy of 700 foot-pounds or more. Consult ammunition guides for ballistics information.

Chronic Wasting Disease in Maryland

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a disease of the brain and nervous system in the deer family (Cervidae). It has been found in the following free ranging cervids: elk, moose, mule deer, reindeer, and white-tailed deer. CWD is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy and attacks the brain of cervids, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Maryland DNR has tested over 8,800 random hunter-harvested deer for CWD since 2002, and first detected the disease in November 2010. The infected deer was harvested by a hunter in Allegany County and was most likely part of an outbreak discovered nearby in Hampshire County, West Virginia, in 2005. To date, seventeen (17) infected deer have been detected in Allegany County.

Concerns over CWD should not stop hunters from enjoying the hunting season or any venison they may acquire. CWD has not been shown to be transmissible to humans. However, it is recommended that hunters field-dressing or butchering deer take the same precautions as they might to protect against other pathogens or diseases. The following common-sense precautionary measures are recommended for the safe handling, field-dressing and processing of venison:

  • Avoid shooting or handling a deer that appears sick.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field-dressing or butchering deer.
  • Remove all internal organs.
  • Remove the meat from the bones and spinal column if home processing a deer.
  • Do not use household knives or utensils when field-dressing or home processing a deer.
  • Avoid cutting through bones or the spinal column (backbone).
  • If you saw off antlers or through a bone, or if you sever the spinal column with a knife, be sure to disinfect these tools prior to using them for the butchering or removal of meat.
  • Remove all fat, membranes and connective tissue from the meat. Note that normal field-dressing and trimming of fat from meat will remove lymph nodes.
  • Always wash hands and instruments thoroughly after dressing and processing game meat.
  • Use a 50/50 solution of household chlorine bleach and water to disinfect tools and work surfaces. Wipe down counters and let them dry; soak knives for one hour.

The following taxidermists and meat processors are currently approved to prepare or process deer carcasses or deer parts taken from within Maryland’s Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area (CWDMA). This provision provides an opportunity for hunters harvesting deer within Maryland’s CWDMA to transport carcasses or other deer parts directly to one of these approved businesses for meat processing, taxidermy services or for preparation for transport to another taxidermist. Please consult the Maryland DNR website at dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife for an up-to-date list of approved processors and taxidermists.

Meat Processors
  • B&B Country Meats, Frostburg, 301-689-6225
  • B&B Butchering, Orleans, 301-478-2558
  • Snurr Bonez Wild Game Processing, Cumberland, 301-777-0450
  • Ernst Market, Clear Spring, 301-842-2292
  • Holsinger’s Meats and Deli, Maugansville, 301-733-9263
  • Sunnyland/Ray Burger’s Meats, Williamsport, 301-223-9637
Taxidermists
  • Allen Stanton, Midlothian, 301-689-3329
  • Brian McKinley, Cumberland, 240-580-4148
  • Donnie Burley, Cumberland, 301-707-6272
  • Fairview Wildlife Studio, Hagerstown, 301-791-1568
  • James Spiker, Westernport, 301-359-9623
  • Kline’s Taxidermy, Smithsburg, 301-416-0201
  • Neal Wilson, Cumberland, 301-697-8573
  • Richard Kroll, Barton, 301-359-5010
  • Robert Friend, Westernport, 301-359-0283
  • Roger Rowe, LaVale, 301-729-2721
  • Ryan Martin, Mt. Savage, 410-916-4432
  • Sean Marsh, Westernport, 240-727-6729
  • Steven Fairgrieve, Barton, 301-707-9261
  • Timothy Hitchins, Frostburg, 301-689-2521

Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area Boundary Description

The Maryland CWDMA includes all of Allegany County and Harvest Management Unit 250 in western Washington County.

  • Eastern Boundary: I-70 from the Maryland/Pennsylvania border south to Rt. 522, then south on Rt. 522 to the Maryland/West Virginia border.
  • Southern Boundary: The Maryland/West Virginia border from Rt. 522 west to the Allegany/Garrett County line.
  • Western Boundary: The Allegany/Garrett County line from the Maryland/West Virginia border north to the Maryland/Pennsylvania border.
  • Northern Boundary: The Maryland/Pennsylvania border from the Allegany/Garrett County line east to I-70.

CWD Management

Due to the detection of CWD in Allegany County, DNR has implemented a number of measures to prevent the unintentional spread of CWD to other locations in Maryland or surrounding states. The changes outlined below apply only to the CWDMA, which currently is all of Allegany County and Harvest Management Unit 250 in western Washington County, regardless of whether it was taken on private or public land.

Whole deer carcasses or deer parts cannot be transported out of the CWDMA, except for:

  • meat with no part of the spinal column; backbone, or head attached;
  • hind quarters and front shoulders with no spinal column or backbone attached;
  • cleaned hide with no head attached;
  • skull plate cleaned of all meat and brain tissue;
  • antlers with no meat or soft tissue attached;
  • finished taxidermy mounts or tanned hides;
  • whole deer carcasses or parts being transported directly to the meat processors and taxidermists listed here or on the DNR website, or to lined landfills within Allegany County or Washington County.

Please check the DNR website (dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife) for updates on CWD surveillance and management in Maryland. Hunter assistance and cooperation is essential to the DNR’s efforts to monitor and manage CWD in Maryland.

Carcass Importation Ban

The primary objective in the management of CWD is to prevent its spread into new areas. One possible mode of disease transmission is by the movement and disposal of infected carcasses. In an effort to minimize the risk for disease spread, Maryland, along with many other states, has adopted regulations that restrict the importation of whole carcasses and certain carcass parts of deer, moose and elk harvested from states or areas in states that have CWD.

A person may not import the whole carcass of a dead deer, elk, or moose into Maryland from another state or province’s designated CWD containment, surveillance, or management area, unless the final destination of the carcass is within the Maryland CWDMA or with a CWD-approved Maryland processor or taxidermist. Travelers may pass through any part of Maryland with whole carcasses from other state/province CWD areas if the carcasses will not remain in the state for more than 24 hours, and no parts are disposed of or remain in the state. A person may import only the following parts of a carcass into Maryland if the final destination is within the state but outside the CWDMA:

  • meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • hind quarters and front shoulders with no spinal column or backbone attached;
  • meat without backbone;
  • cleaned hide with no head attached;
  • skull plate cleaned of all meat and brain tissue;
  • antlers with no meat or soft tissue attached;
  • upper canine teeth, also known as buglers, whistlers, or ivories; and
  • finished taxidermy mount or tanned hides.

Please consult the CWD Alliance website at cwd-info.org for a complete list of state and province CWD containment, surveillance, and management areas.

Any person who imports or possesses a cervid carcass or part of a cervid that was tested for chronic wasting disease in another state or province and is notified that the cervid tested positive, must report the test results to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources within 24 hours of receiving such notification- by telephone at 301-842-0332; or by FAX 301-842-1026; or by email to brian.eyler@maryland.gov.

If you hunt deer, elk, moose or other cervids in other states and/or provinces, particularly those in which CWD has been detected, check with the respective fish and wildlife agencies regarding special regulations or specific advice for hunters. Also check with your home state fish and wildlife agency to ensure that animals lawfully killed elsewhere may be imported and possessed in your state. Additional information can be found at the CWD alliance website cwd-info.org and the Maryland DNR website dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife.

Taking Deer Carcasses out of Maryland

Because Maryland is considered a CWD positive state, deer hunters must follow carcass importation regulations in other states when they transport a deer carcass out of Maryland. The surrounding states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia each have specific regulations as to whether they will allow whole deer carcasses or only parts of carcasses to enter from Maryland. Likewise, the regulations for each of these states vary as to whether they apply to deer from anywhere in Maryland, or just to deer taken within the CWDMA. Hunters are strongly encouraged to check state regulations before transporting deer carcasses.

Managed Deer Hunting Programs

In addition to satisfying Maryland hunter safety, licensing, and stamp requirements, a Shooter Qualification Card, a Managed Hunt Permit, and lottery selection are required to participate in the following managed deer hunting programs:

  • Fair Hill NRMA State Park
  • Fort Frederick State Park
  • Gunpowder Falls State Park
  • Seneca Creek State Park

DNR Shooter Qualification Card Program

Through the DNR Shooter Qualification Program local sportsman’s clubs, shooting clubs, and other groups avail their facilities and expertise to certify hunters for the program. Hunters who meet certain shooting qualification standards become certified and receive a Maryland State Shooter Qualification Card valid for the current hunting license year. This card serves as “proof of proficiency” and enables a qualified hunter to be eligible for many of the managed deer hunts held across Maryland.

The Fort Frederick State Park qualification event will be held November 5, 2017 beginning at 10a.m. at the Fort Frederick Range in Washington County. (All hunters must arrive by 10:00a.m.)

The qualification event held at the Notchcliff Army National Guard Range in Baltimore County for the Fair Hill and Gunpowder Falls hunting programs will be held on December 10, 2017. (All hunters must arrive by 10:00a.m.)

Other Shooter Qualification events are held at different times and locations throughout the year. Many of the organizations that host these events charge a fee. The DNR will issue a press release in the summer announcing the dates for the various qualifications. The DNR website will list the website addresses of participating sportsmen’s clubs and other locations where Shooter Qualifications will be held. The DNR website address for this information is: dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/shootqual.asp. Hunters interested in participating in managed hunts should contact the organization holding the hunt to learn more about their program and any additional requirements.

Managed Hunt Permit

  • The annual Managed Hunt Permit (MHP) is required to hunt DNR properties that charge for managed hunts and covers all such hunts on DNR lands.
  • The MHP is not required to take part in lotteries or drawings but only to participate in the managed hunts.
  • Hunters should contact the properties they wish to hunt for site-specific rules and regulations.
  • Persons exempt from the MHP requirement are those legally hunting with a Junior Hunting License, persons 16 years of age or younger hunting with an Apprentice Hunting License (see Maryland Hunting Licenses, pg. 54), or any person serving in the United States Armed Forces (see Armed Forces Members Hunting In Maryland, pg. 56) that is exempt from needing a Maryland hunting license.

Managed Hunt Permit$35.00

(See Purchasing Your Maryland Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits, pg. 57.)

For Managed Deer Hunts at Fair Hill, Fort Frederick, Gunpowder Falls, and Seneca Creek State Parks:

  • Hunters will be chosen by lottery. Only one application per hunter. Group applications of up to three hunters will be accepted and must be stapled together.
  • Shotguns with slugs are the only firearms allowed for these hunts.
  • The use of scopes is encouraged.
  • Deer taken during these hunts will not count toward the hunter’s regular deer firearms season bag limit.
  • Hunters participating in the Fair Hill, Gunpowder Falls, and Seneca Creek hunts will be allowed to harvest four (4) antlerless deer and approximately one (1) out of 10 hunters will be chosen by drawing on the morning of the hunt to harvest an antlered deer in lieu of one of the four antlerless deer.
  • Hunters participating in the Fort Frederick State Park hunt will be allowed to harvest two (2) antlerless deer.

The Fair Hill NRMA State Park managed deer hunt in Cecil County has a limit of 140 hunters. For more information call 410-356-9272 between 7:30a.m.–11:30a.m. or 410-398-1246. See the following pages for the Fair Hill Managed Hunt application form.

The Fort Frederick State Park managed deer hunt in Washington County has a limit of 30 hunters. For more information call 301-842-2155. See the following pages for the Fort Frederick application form.

The Gunpowder Falls State Park, Sweet Air and Hammerman Areas managed deer hunt in Baltimore and Harford counties has a limit of 65 for Sweet Air and 25 for Hammermam. For more information call 410-356-9272 between 7:30a.m.–11:30a.m. or 410-592-2897. See the following pages for the Gunpowder Falls application form.

The Seneca Creek State Park managed deer hunt in Montgomery County has a limit of 60 hunters. For more information call 410-356-9272 between 7:30a.m.–11:30a.m. or 301-924-2127. See the following pages for the Seneca Creek application form.

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center managed deer hunt in Anne Arundel County has these provisions:

  • A Shooter Qualification Card and verification that the hunter has complied with the Hunter Education and Safety Requirement are required to participate in this hunt.
  • Hunters will be chosen by lottery. Only one application per hunter. Group applications of up to three hunters will be accepted and must be stapled together.
  • All applications must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped, legal sized envelope.
  • Shotguns with slugs are the only firearms allowed for these hunts.
  • The use of scopes is encouraged.
  • The use of a portable tree stand is required.
  • Accommodations will be made for hunters with a Universal Disability Pass that will allow them to hunt from a vehicle.
  • The pre-hunt mandatory scout date is November 19, 2017 from 8:00a.m. to 2:00p.m..
  • See the following pages for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center application form.

The Wye Island NRMA managed deer hunt in Queen Anne’s County has these provisions:

  • Hunters are required to submit a copy of their current Maryland Hunting License along with their permit application.
  • Hunters will be chosen by lottery for both the October muzzleloader deer hunt and the December firearms deer hunt.
  • For more information call 410-827-7577.

Natural Resources Police Career Opportunities

If you have what it takes and the desire to serve, we’re interested in talking to you.

To begin your career as a Maryland Natural Resources Police officer, please contact Corporal Raymond Griggs at 443-221-8521, or raymond.griggs1@ maryland.gov, or visit the Maryland Natural Resources Police Recruitment Facebook page.

Maryland Archery Hunter Survey Cooperators Needed

We need your help!

Archery hunters are among the most active outdoor enthusiasts in Maryland. The time you spend afield and the experiences you enjoy are of great value to us. The hunting observations you make day after day and year after year can be used as a powerful tool to effectively track fluctuations in many different wildlife populations (e.g. deer, bear, turkey, small game, and furbearers). Therefore, we are asking you to take the time to become a cooperator and document information about each of your archery hunts. The data you provide will be added to the data already collected by 300+ other archery hunter cooperators and will make the results even stronger.

If you are interested in becoming an Archery Hunter Survey Cooperator, you can download a copy of the survey at dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/hunt_trap/bhsurvey.aspx or contact Brent Evans at (443) 786-3656 or brent.evans@maryland.gov. Cooperators will receive an annual survey form to complete during the deer archery season and an annual report of the results after they are compiled. We appreciate your interest and cooperation.

Black Bears in Maryland

Western Maryland (Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick counties) is home to a healthy black bear population. Accordingly, people may find themselves encountering bears, especially in areas with natural or artificial food sources, such as berry patches, oak groves, or in areas where bait, such as corn, has been left to attract wildlife. If you encounter a bear, DNR recommends that you make your presence known by making noise. Clap your hands and speak with a firm voice to be sure the bear knows you are there. Remain upright and do not run. Back away slowly and leave the area. Although black bears are generally shy and run when confronted by people, they are wild animals that should be treated with respect.

For people wishing to carry a form of personal protection, DNR recommends the use of Bear Pepper Spray as a safe, legal, and effective bear deterrent. It has a long shelf-life, large volume, and is discharged in an expanding cloud that will reach its target up to 35 feet away. There are a variety of Bear Pepper Sprays on the market that can be purchased at local sporting goods stores or on the Internet. When purchasing Bear Pepper Spray, be sure that the product states that it is for use on bears and has been approved by EPA.

Maryland Trophy Deer Contest

The Maryland Trophy Deer Contest recognizes the “top” deer in each category taken during the deer hunting seasons for the Maryland State Record Book. Highest scoring bucks are recognized for white-tailed deer (typical and non-typical), fallow deer, and sika deer taken during each of the vertical bow, crossbow, muzzleloader and firearms seasons. The Boone and Crockett method of scoring is used.

The contest is cosponsored by the Maryland Bowhunters Society, the Maryland Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association, and the DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service.

The location and dates for the 2017 contest will be determined at a later date. Please consult the Maryland DNR website at dnr.maryland.gov for updated information or contact Mr. Walter ‘Tinker’ Johnson at 301-349-2413.

Deer Processors

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources would like to thank the deer processors listed below for their service and cooperation in the Wildlife and Heritage Service’s annual collection of information on Maryland deer. Their efforts help supply the data necessary to manage this popular species. We appreciate their support of the stewardship and management of deer.

Allegany

B&B Butchering301-478-2558

B&B Country Meats301-689-6225

Snurr Bonez Wild Game Processing301-777-0450

Anne Arundel

Austin’s Deer Processing 410-850-5838

Harwood Butcher Shop410-212-8803

Ray Hitchcock Taxidermy410-987-6990

Baltimore

Trophy Care Taxidermy &
Deer Processing410-282-1118

Calvert

Rowell’s Butcher Shop443-295-7449

Caroline

Deep Branch Custom Cuts410-310-1246

Knife Box Custom Cuts443-262-5694

Frases’ Meat Shop410-673-7249

Richard’s Deer
Shop410-634-1510 or 410-279-0622

Tuckahoe River Deer Processing443-786-5199

Carroll

C & L Deer Processing410-374-6424

M & G Wild Game Processing443-375-7138

Cecil

Buckland’s Deer Processing443-350-0573

Ron Bennett443-553-4239

Charles

Chuck’s Butcher Shop301-283-0743

Dorchester

Bucktown Butcher Shop443-521-4286

Kramer’s Butcher Shop443-521-7501

The Duck Stop443-521-7128

or 443-521-2026

Frederick

Clint’s Cuts301-865-5120 or 301-748-1505

Pry’s Deer Processing301-834-8752

Rob’s Deer Shop301-271-7780

Shuff’s Meat Market301-271-2231

Garrett

Butcher Block301-334-4140

EJ’s Meat Processing301-245-4409

Second Chance Farms301-616-7794

Harford

KCC Deer Processing410-803-9200

Kent

Alexander’s Deer Processing410-928-3462

Charlie’s Whitetail Custom Cutting410-928-5326

John’s Butcher Shop410-778-3550

Montgomery

KS Kuts240-457-1844 or 301-606-5203

Tim Mullinix240-246-6199

Prince George’s

Harwood Butcher Shop410-212-8803

Queen Anne’s

Billy Walls410-778-3511

Emory Creek Processing410-490-5669

Somerset

Eddie Johnson Deer Processing410-603-0047

or 410-603-0046

Holland’s Deer Cutting410-251-7608

St. Mary’s

Mike McWilliams Wild Game
Processors301-475-9667 or 240-925-6994

Henry’s Deer Processing27990 Pt. Lookout Rd.

Ridgells Whitetail Butcher Shop301-904-0406

Washington

Banzhoff Butcher Shop301-223-9326

Ernst Market301-842-2292

Holsinger’s Meats & Deli301-733-9263

or 800-733-8883

Sunnyland/Ray Burger’s Meats301-223-9637

Wolford’s Meat Shop301-842-3156

Wicomico

Dave’s Cut Em Up
Deer Processing302-381-7257 or 302-907-0383

Jim’s Custom Cutting410-749-5546

Longhorn Butcher Shop410-422-3942

Off The Neck410-860-2126

Wright Brothers Butchery and Taxidermy410-546-2053

Worcester

Captain Ron’s Deer Processing410-627-8189

Sussex County, Delaware

Mark’s Meats and More,LLC302-933-0307