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Maryland Deer Firearms Hunting Season Opens Nov. 28

Hunters Can Use Straight-Walled Cartridge Rifles, Handguns Statewide

Photo of two bucks in a field during the fall

Photo by Reinhardt Sahmel

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces that the two-week firearms hunting season for sika and white-tailed deer opens Nov. 28 and runs through Dec. 12. 

New this year, deer hunters may use rifles and handguns that employ straight-walled cartridges in all counties. Rifles and handguns that use bottleneck cartridges remain limited to those counties that permitted them previously. More information on this change, along with season bag limits and other deer hunting regulations, are available in the 2020-2021 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.

Sunday deer hunting is available in all but three counties for the deer firearms season and remains a critical component to deer population management, in addition to providing recreational opportunities for all resident and visiting hunters.

“The two-week firearms season remains our most popular season with deer hunters,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “It is a long-standing tradition for many of our hunters to get together with family and friends during these two weeks to pursue one of their favorite pastimes. The resulting harvest of approximately 30,000 deer contributes significantly to managing the state’s healthy deer population.”

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 are additionally reminded to use precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which includes keeping six feet away from anyone who does not reside with you, and wearing a facial covering when social distancing isn’t possible. 

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.

Maryland hunters are encouraged to donate any extra deer they may harvest to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Hunters are reminded that they may claim a tax credit of up to $50 for each legally harvested deer that is processed and donated to a nonprofit food sharing program. The maximum credit in any one tax year is $200 per hunter. The approved form to claim this credit is available online.