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Muzzleloader Deer Season Open Through Jan. 1, 2022

Second Half of Split Season Now Open

Photo of deer leaping

Photo by Brendan Wolf

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters the muzzleloader deer hunting season reopened Dec. 18 and will run through Jan. 1, 2022. 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 this time.

“The late muzzleloader season provides hunters the opportunity to pursue one of their favorite pastimes with friends and family during the holidays,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Along with putting additional food in the freezer, the season also helps to manage the state’s healthy deer population.”

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 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.

More information on the muzzleloader season, along with season bag limits and other deer hunting regulations, are available in the 2021-2022 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.

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 processors.