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Maryland

Hunting

Deer Regs for Archery, Muzzleloader, Firearms & Airguns

Archery Deer Hunting Regulations

  • A hunting license is required to hunt deer during the Archery Season (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
  • An Archery Stamp is required to hunt deer during the Archery Season and when using archery equipment during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days except that:
    • Hunters entitled to hunt without a license and hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase an Archery Stamp.
  • Persons who hunt with archery equipment during the Muzzleloader Season must purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp (see Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Regulations).
  • There are tagging and checking requirements for all deer harvested. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking for instructions.
  • Archery equipment may be used to hunt deer during the Archery Season, Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season, Junior Deer Hunt Days and Primitive Deer Hunt Days. Archery hunters may only use long bows and recurve bows during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days.
  • Deer taken with archery equipment during the Archery Season, Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days must count towards the bag limit of the season in which they are taken, please note:
    • Antlered white-tailed deer taken with a bow during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days will count towards the regular antlered archery bag limit.
    • Region A antlerless white-tailed deer taken during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days do not count against the regular Region A antlerless bag limit.
    • Region B antlerless white-tailed deer taken with a bow during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days will count towards the regular Region B archery bag limit.
    • Sika deer taken with a bow during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days will count towards the regular sika archery bag limit.
    • Deer harvested with archery equipment during the antlerless-only second split of the early Muzzleloader Season in Region B must count toward the Archery Season bag limit.
  • Hunters may not carry archery equipment and muzzleloaders at the same time when Archery Season and Muzzleloader Season are in concurrently. This includes the Primitive Deer Hunt Days.
  • It is illegal to shoot on, from or across any public road.
  • Archery hunters are not required to wear fluorescent color clothing within the regular Archery Season dates. Archery hunters are required to wear fluorescent color clothing when hunting during the:
    • Junior Deer Hunt Days;
    • Black Bear Season in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties.
    • Deer Muzzleloader Season (including the Region B antlerless white-tailed Muzzleloader Season when it overlaps the Archery Season);
    • Deer Firearms Season; and
    • Primitive Deer Hunt Days.
  • 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 and release aids are legal on all vertical bows, except during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days.

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.
  • The use of crossbows is prohibited during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days.

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 (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
  • A Muzzleloader Stamp is required to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season and when using a muzzleloader during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days except that:
    • Hunters entitled to hunt without a license and hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp.
  • There are tagging and checking requirements for all deer harvested. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking for instructions.
  • Muzzleloading firearms may only be used to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season, Junior Deer Hunt Days and Primitive Deer Hunt Days. Hunters may only use flintlock or sidelock percussion muzzleloaders during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days.
  • Deer taken with a muzzleloader during the Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days must count towards the bag limit of the season in which they are taken, please note:
    • Antlered white-tailed deer taken with a muzzleloader during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days will count towards the regular antlered muzzleloader bag limit.
    • Region A antlerless white-tailed deer taken during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days do not count against the regular Region A antlerless bag limit.
    • Region B antlerless white-tailed deer taken with a muzzleloader during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days will count towards the regular Region B muzzleloader bag limit.
    • Sika deer taken with a muzzleloader during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days will count towards the regular sika muzzleloader bag limit.
  • All deer hunters are required to wear daylight fluorescent color clothing during the Muzzleloader Season, Firearms Season and Primative Deer Hunt Days.
  • It is illegal to shoot on, from or across any public road.

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.
  • Only flintlock or sidelock percussion muzzleloaders may be used during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days. Muzzleloading revolvers are prohibited during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days
  • 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.
  • Muzzleoaders that use smokeless powder are legal for deer hunting. These muzzleloaders must use the equivalent of 60 grains of black powder in rifles or shotguns, and the equivalent of 40 grains of black powder in handguns. Hunters are encouraged to exercise caution when using these types of muzzleloaders, and never use smokeless powder in a muzzleloader not designed for its use.
  • 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 and Air Guns Deer Hunting Regulations

  • A hunting license is required to hunt deer during the Firearms Season (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
  • There are tagging and checking requirements for all deer harvested. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking for instructions.
  • Shotguns, rifles and handguns that fire straight-walled cartridges, muzzleloading firearms, air guns and archery equipment may be used to hunt deer in all counties during the Firearms Season and Junior Hunt Days.
  • Rifles and handguns that shoot bottleneck cartridges may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days in certain counties and areas (see map and description).
  • Deer taken with any firearm, muzzleloader, air gun or archery equipment during the Firearms Season must count toward the Firearms Season bag limit.
  • All deer hunters are required to wear daylight fluorescent color clothing during the Firearms Season dates.
  • 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.
  • Deer may not be hunted with a firearm that is loaded with more than eight 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 air guns 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.

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.
  • Bottleneck cartridge rifles may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days in certain counties and locations (see map), subject to local and county ordinances.
  • Straight-walled cartridge rifles may be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days in all counties and locations in Maryland, subject to local and county ordinances.

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.
  • Shotguns may be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days in all counties and locations in Maryland, subject to local and county ordinances.

Handgun Regulations

  • The handguns referred to here are loaded from the breech of the barrel or rear of the cylinder and use cartridges.
  • Handguns used for deer hunting must have a barrel length of six inches or more and use ammunition which produces a muzzle energy of 700 foot pounds or more. Consult ammunition guides for ballistics information.
  • Bottleneck cartridge handguns may only be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days in certain counties and locations (see map), subject to local and county ordinances.
  • Straight-walled cartridge handguns may be used to hunt deer during the Firearms Season and Junior Deer Hunt Days in all counties and locations in Maryland, subject to local and county ordinances.

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 Firearms 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.