Deer

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter with years of experience, or a novice sportsman with a new hunting license, Maryland has everything you need for a memorable deer hunt. From the world class white-tailed deer to the unique sika deer opportunities, the next hunt to remember happens right here in Maryland.

140448705With one of the highest hunter success rates in the Mid-Atlantic region – and with one of the most generous bag limits in the country – you won’t be going home empty-handed. Home to the largest harvested buck on record for the entire East Coast, Maryland ensures the possibility of bagging a record-setting trophy worth bragging about. Maryland’s fertile land and vast agricultural industry results in healthy, strong, large deer, offering hunters great meat and trophy-sized harvests.

One of North America’s most unique deer hunting opportunities is also in Maryland: sika deer. The southern tip of the Eastern Shore is the only other place in the world – aside from their native eastern Asia – where these exotic little deer can be hunted in the wild. So, whether you’re taking the kids on their first hunt, or getting away for the weekend glassing for that deer of a lifetime, Maryland promises a memorable trip.

526192943Adult white-tailed deer are about three feet tall at the front shoulders. Maryland yearling bucks (males) weigh an average of 105 pounds; yearling does (females) average 90 pounds. During the warm months, white-tailed deer possess reddish-brown hair. A grayish-brown coat with a thick undercoat replaces the reddish hair during the colder months. The white-tailed deer’s distinctive white tail and white rump patch is readily visible when it bounds away from real or perceived danger. White-tailed deer sprint up to 35 miles per hour and are able to leap over 8 foot tall barriers. Maryland’s deer herd is estimated at 220,000.

The sika deer is a small, brown elk that lives in quiet marshes and forested wetlands on the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland. All of Maryland’s sika deer originated from the same island in southern Japan and were released from captivity in the early 20th century. In the last century their range has expanded across the marshes and the rich agricultural landscape of the mid to lower Eastern Shore with the highest density in Dorchester County. The season bag limit for all three seasons (Archery, Muzzleloader, and Firearms) is three per season, including one stag per season, for a total of nine per year. They are a mini-elk in every sense. They bugle to challenge other stags and to attract does, known as hinds, and they wallow in the mud. They also respond well to calling, particularly during the mid-October rut. These deer are elusive and highly prized, not only for their unique trophy status, but for their delicious meat as well.

DNR’s long-term goals for deer are to ensure the present and future well-being of deer and their habitat; maintain deer populations at levels necessary to ensure compatibility with human land uses and natural communities; encourage and promote the recreational use and enjoyment of the deer resource; and inform and educate Maryland citizens about deer biology, management options, and the impacts that deer have on landscapes and people. Both native white-tailed deer and exotic sika deer populations are managed through hunting.

  • 09/01/2015-12/20/2015 (Dates within months vary)
  • 12/21/2015-01/31/2016 (Dates within months vary)

Ranging from firearm, bow, and muzzleloader seasons, hunting is permitted from early September until the end of January on varying dates. Maryland also has two distinct management regions for deer (see the Deer Management Regions map) which determine when and where hunting is permitted. Deer seasons and bag limits for each Deer Management Region are located on the Maryland DNR website for Junior Deer Hunt Days, Sika Deer Seasons & Bag Limits, and White-Tailed Deer Seasons & Bag Limits. The antlered deer bag limit is a statewide limit and is not separate for Region A and Region B. Antlerless bag limits remain separate and independent for Region A and Region B.

With twenty-three counties in Maryland to choose from, finding a place to hunt in our great state is easy. Our world-class deer populations can be found throughout the state, and may be hunted on public and private lands. Whether you climb into your tree stand in one of our state parks, or get some local knowledge from experienced guides, you’re sure to fill your bag and go home with a smile.

One of the best ways to get the most out of a hunt in Maryland is to hook up with a local hunting guide. Knowledgeable of the terrain, locations, and behavior of Maryland’s deer, guides are a great way for sportsmen to make the most out of their hunting trip. Many guides also have access to the state’s private lands unavailable to hunters heading out on their own. If you would rather go out on your own, there is a wealth of public lands and wild lands packed with trophy deer from the mountainous Western region to the low-lying Eastern Shore.

For a full list of hunting locations, download the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ app on your phone (MD DNR).

Acquiring a deer hunting license in Maryland is easily done through DNR’s app, or through the application process online. Nonresident hunters seeking a Maryland hunting license can download the Hunting License Application & Instructions. DNR’s app is the easiest way to apply, register, and report a harvest with the push of a button. Tag a buck, the location at which it was harvested, and upload a picture to the app, all on site.

A Regular Hunting License, Junior Hunting License, any senior hunting license or Nonresident Hunting License is required to hunt deer with a firearm. In addition to a hunting license, archery deer hunters must purchase an Archery Stamp, and muzzleloader deer hunters must purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp. Archery deer hunters must purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp in order to hunt deer with archery equipment during Muzzleloader Season. Hunters entitled to hunt without a license do not need to purchase Archery, Muzzleloader, or Bonus Antlered Deer Stamps. Hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase Archery or Muzzleloader Stamps but must purchase Bonus Antlered Deer Stamps to take bonus antlered deer.

Get your Maryland hunting license today by visiting the Department of Natural Resources’ application website, or downloading the MD DNR app on your smartphone. For more information and regulatory details, visit DNR’s Vertical & Crossbow and Firearm regulations pages.

Money generated from the sale of licenses goes directly to the conservation, protection, and preservation of Maryland’s natural habitat and cherished wildlife. Maryland DNR works tirelessly to maintain a healthy population of deer and the regulations needed to sustain hunting in Maryland. Changes in regulations, dates, and requirements vary year-to-year. Please check with DNR frequently for the most up-to-date information.