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Deer Archery Season Opens Statewide Sept. 8

Maryland Bowhunters Have New Access Opportunities, Guidelines

Photo of deer in the woods

Photo by Duane Tucker

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that archery hunting for white-tailed and sika deer opens statewide Sept. 8, and continues through Jan. 31, 2018. 

“Archery hunting continues to be an effective part of our comprehensive deer management plan and is often the most effective control method available in densely-populated suburban areas of Maryland,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said.

For the 2017-18 season, the bag limit for white-tailed bucks is one per weapon season. Maryland hunters in Region B (central, southern and eastern Maryland) have the option to take one additional bonus buck after purchasing a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp and taking two antlerless deer. The antlerless deer bag limits differ between regions.

An antler-point restriction remains in effect. Deer hunters may harvest up to 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 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.

The sika deer archery season bag limit is three with no more than one being antlered. An antlered sika is defined as a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline. The sika deer archery season is open in every county.

New this year, the Apprentice Hunting License Program allows first-time and novice hunters a lower-cost opportunity to experience the hunt and explore the sport with an experienced and licensed guide and mentor.

Several Sundays are open to archery hunting in most counties, including on some public lands.

In Montgomery County, the new safety zone for archers is 50 yards. Archers there must use a tree stand when hunting within 50-100 yards of an occupied dwelling or other building.

Hunters should carefully inspect all tree-stands and always wear a full-body safety harness while climbing in or out and while in the stand. The department strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prussic 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.

When checking in, hunters should report deer taken with a long, compound or recurve bow as harvested with a vertical bow. Crossbow hunters should register their deer as taken with a crossbow. This information helps biologists collect information on preferences and trends in how deer are harvested.

Maryland hunters are encouraged to donate any extra deer they may harvest to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Last year, the program provided more than 650,000 venison meals to community food banks and other efforts.