Skip to Main Content

Muzzleloader Deer Season Reopens Dec. 19

Season Runs Through Jan. 2

Photo of bounding deer

Photo by Brendan Wolf

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the muzzleloader deer hunting season will reopen Dec. 19 and run through Jan. 2, 2021. This is the second half of Maryland’s split deer muzzleloader season; the first half was held in October. Hunters may use muzzleloading firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during these dates.

“The late muzzleloader season coincides with the holidays, and gives hunters the opportunity to spend time in the field enjoying some of the best days of the year,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “The season is important to help manage the state’s deer population, and put food on the table for many families.”

Hunters are encouraged to consult the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping for information on bag limits, registration procedures, and other regulations.

During muzzleloader 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 treestands, 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.