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Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Resumes Dec. 17

Traditional Season Offers Outdoor Holiday Retreat

Photo of buck in the woods

Photo by Ryan Deangler, submitted to the Maryland DNR 2022 Photo Contest

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the muzzleloader deer hunting season will reopen Dec. 17, and will run through Dec. 31, 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 Maryland hunters the opportunity to enjoy the cool fresh air and retreat from the hustle and bustle during the holiday season,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Along with providing many families a meal for the holidays, the season also contributes to the management of the state’s deer population.”

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

More information on the muzzleloader season, along with season bag limits and other deer hunting regulations, are available in the 2022-2023 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping. Important note: the print version of this year’s guide includes an error on page 24 regarding Sunday hunting in Caroline, Dorchester, and Queen Anne’s counties. Hunting on some Sundays in these counties ends at 10:30 a.m. Hunters should consult the digital version of the hunting guide for correct information.

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.