DEER HUNTING SEASON
Maryland’s Deer Firearms Hunting Season Opens Nov. 26
Popular Season Helps Significantly to Manage the Deer Population
Photo by Tim Ray, submitted to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Photo Contest
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the two-week firearms hunting season for sika and white-tailed deer opens Saturday, Nov. 26 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. The two-week season includes Sunday hunting in all but three counties, affording hunters more weekend opportunities to hunt and contribute to managing Maryland’s deer population.
“The two-week firearms season remains our most popular season with deer hunters,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “The harvest during this season is essential for managing the state’s healthy deer population, and hunters can enjoy the camaraderie of friends and family as winter approaches.”
Bag limits for the firearm season, along with other deer hunting seasons and regulations, are available in the 2022-2023 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.
Hunters are reminded that an antler-point restriction remains in effect. Deer hunters may harvest one antlered white-tailed deer within the yearly bag limit that does not meet the requirement of having at least three points on one antler. Any additional antlered deer taken within the established bag limit must meet the minimum point restriction. Licensed junior hunters and apprentice license holders, 16 years of age or younger, are exempt from this restriction.
During firearms season, Maryland requires deer hunters and their companions to wear daylight fluorescent orange or daylight fluorescent pink in one of the following manners: a cap of solid fluorescent daylight orange or pink, a vest or jacket containing back and front panels of at least 250 square inches of fluorescent daylight orange or pink, or an outer garment of camouflage daylight fluorescent orange or pink worn above the waist and containing at least 50 percent daylight fluorescent color.
Hunters should carefully inspect all tree stands and always wear a full-body safety harness while in the stand and while climbing in or out. The department strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prusik knot, attached to a line that is secured above the stand that allows the hunter to be safely tethered to the tree as soon as they leave the ground.
Hunters are encouraged to help others by donating deer taken in Maryland. A state tax credit offers hunters an incentive for donated deer. Other local or state programs are also available, so hunters should check with their deer processor.
Maryland Reports Strong 2022 Early Deer Season Results
Early Muzzleloader and Archery Harvests Increase 24%
Sika deer, photo by Brian Griffith
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reports that hunters harvested 20,220 deer during the early portion of the 2022 archery and muzzleloader seasons. The harvest was a 24% increase from last year’s official harvest of 16,314 deer for the same period.
The early season rebound was largely attributed to improved weather for hunting and increased hunter effort when compared to the previous year. The impacts of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) were also less prevalent, although an outbreak in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties has caused a decrease in the early harvest. EHD occurs annually in Maryland deer and does not have long-lasting effects for the deer population, nor is it harmful to humans.
The two-month harvest included 12,498 deer taken during the archery season and 7,613 harvested during the October muzzleloader season. An additional 109 deer were reported during managed hunts. The archery harvest increased 32% while the muzzleloader harvest increased 13% compared to the previous year. The sika deer harvest increased 34% from 1,211 deer to 1,623 deer.
Hunters harvested 885 deer on Sundays that were open to archery hunting during the period, accounting for 7% of the total archery harvest.
|Maryland Early Season Deer Harvest, September 9 – October 31, 2022|
|2021||2022||% Change||2021||2022||% Change||2021||2022||% Change|
|*Small sample size|