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Maryland’s Junior Deer Hunt Opens November 11

Hunt offers prime time for adult hunters to pass on traditions

Photo of deer standing in a field during fall

Photo by Matthew Doged, submitted to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources encourages experienced deer hunters to take advantage of the upcoming Junior Deer Hunting Days to introduce young people to this time-honored cultural and sporting tradition. 

The Junior Deer Hunt is open on private and designated public land in all counties on November 11. The season is also open on Sunday, November 12 on private land in all counties except Baltimore, Howard, and Prince George’s. Also on November 12, junior hunters in Allegany, Cecil, Garrett, St. Mary’s, and Washington counties, may hunt on designated public lands.

“The Junior Deer Hunt provides a great opportunity for young hunters and mentors to bond and share the experience of deer hunting,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Karina Stonesifer said. “Often coinciding with peak deer activity, the weekend offers one of the best times to be out in the woods pursuing deer.”

Hunters 16 years of age or younger who possess a valid license may use air guns or firearms that meet the regulatory requirements to hunt sika and white-tailed deer on these days. Youth must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old who holds a valid Maryland hunting license. Adults may serve as mentors only and not possess a hunting device while accompanying a junior hunter. 

Hunters who are not serving as mentors for a junior deer hunter may participate in other open hunting seasons during the junior deer hunt days. All hunters including archery and other game hunters are required to wear blaze orange or pink during the youth hunt dates.

The bag limits for the Junior Deer Hunt Days are:

  • One antlered or antlerless white-tailed deer in Region A;
  • Three white-tailed deer in Region B, with no more than one antlered; and
  • One antlered or one antlerless sika deer.

Deer taken by youth hunters during the two days do not count toward regular archery, firearm, or muzzleloader bag limits. They are also exempt from the antler point restriction.

Season dates, bag limits, hunting regulations, and registration procedures can be found in the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.

New for the 2023-24 hunting season, if hunters intend to pursue sika deer, they must purchase a sika hunting stamp. Sika stamps may be purchased on COMPASS, at a licensing agent, or by calling DNR License and Regisration Services at 866-344-8889. An antlered sika is defined as a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline. 

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 processor.