Maryland’s history and tradition of waterfowl hunting is as rich as any in the world. Presidents and kings have been drawn to hunting ducks on the Chesapeake Bay for centuries. When English Captain John Smith first discovered the Chesapeake Bay, he remarked that “heaven and earth have never framed a better habitat for mankind.” These immortal words will resonate with any sportsman who sees the Chesapeake Bay for the first time.
Duck season, both puddle and diving, ranges from October through January on specified dates. The season is broken up during these months as it coincides with deer season.
For more information on seasons, sizes and bag limits, click HERE.
While non-resident hunters can hunt duck on public lands, they are only allowed to hunt open waters if they are accompanied by a Maryland resident. With some of the best duck hunting opportunities on the East Coast happening in the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s waterways, joining up with a guide is ideal.
Licensed guides have access to a range of the best duck hunting opportunities in Maryland. Without their accompaniment, non-resident hunters have a difficult time getting the most out of a duck hunt. With the help of a guide, you can go body booting in the famed Susquehanna Flats for canvasbacks, hunt in offshore blinds, call in flocks of mallard and black duck while bunkered down in flooded impoundments, or organize a specialized hunt that won’t soon be forgotten.
Novice hunters may find a Regulated Shooting Area (RSA) more suitable for their first time duck hunting in Maryland. A RSA is a tract of land, including any waters, on which the licensee may release and shoot captive-raised pheasant, bobwhite quail, chukar partridge, Hungarian partridge, and mallard ducks. Great for first-time bird hunters, RSAs offer a chance to hone their skills before heading out on a more difficult hunt. Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' website for a full list of RSAs in Maryland.
Maps and descriptions of Sea Duck and Offshore Waterfowl Hunting Zones are available from DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service Offices listed in Addresses & Phone Numbers. Nonresidents must be accompanied by a Maryland resident while hunting in designated waters.
License and Regulations
Simple, quick, and at the palm of your hand, DNR’s app is the easiest way for both residents and non-residents to get a Maryland hunting license. Download the app on your smartphone (MD DNR), click Apply for License, and enroll. From the app, you can also register any kills, post photos, and check for regulations updates. Or, you can apply for a license through Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ website. A Regular Hunting License, Junior Hunting License, any Senior Hunting License, or a Nonresident (full term or short term) Hunting License is required to hunt migratory game birds in Maryland.
All migratory game bird hunters, including those who are exempt from the hunting license requirement, must purchase a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp. In addition, all waterfowl and coot hunters over the age of 15, including those who are exempt from the hunting license requirement, must purchase a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. For information on Licenses, Stamps, & Permits including descriptions, prices, and availability click HERE. Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ website for a complete list of seasons and bag limits.
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 fish and game, and the regulations needed to sustain fishing and 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.