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Maryland Deer Archery Season Opens Sept. 11

New Primitive Deer Hunt Days in February

Photo of large buck in a field

Photo by Jan Branscome

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that archery hunting for white-tailed and sika deer opens statewide Sept. 11, and continues through Jan. 30, 2021.

New for the upcoming deer season, archery and muzzleloader hunters may participate in Primitive Deer Hunt Days from Feb. 1-3, 2021. During this special season, hunters may use vertical longbows, vertical recurve bows, flintlock, or sidelock percussion muzzleloaders only. Telescopic and electronic aiming devices are prohibited during this hunt. More information on these special hunt days is available in the 2020-2021 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.

For the 2020-21 season, the statewide bag limit for white-tailed bucks is two deer (no more than one per weapon season). Hunters have the option to take one additional bonus buck in Region B (the state’s central, southern, and eastern regions) after purchasing a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp.

The antlerless archery deer bag limits differ between deer management regions. In Region A, no more than one antlerless deer may be harvested during the regular archery season. An additional antlerless deer may be harvested in Region A during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days. 

In Region B, the antlerless archery limit is 15, except for in the Suburban Deer Management Zone, where the archery antlerless limit is now unlimited. This newly re-established zone comprises Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties.

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.

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.

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

“We are excited to expand our archery hunting opportunities this year with the new Primitive Deer Hunt Days and re-established Suburban Deer Management Zone,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Archery hunting has become increasingly important for effective deer management in Maryland, and is especially needed in urban and suburban areas.”

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.

When checking in their deer, 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.