Deer Archery Hunting Season Opens September 15

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that archery hunting for deer opens Sept. 15 and continues through Jan. 31. Several changes have been made regarding deer hunting in Maryland for the upcoming season.

Two Deer Management Regions have replaced the original four regions (Regions A, B, C, D) established in 1998. Region A now consists of Allegany and Garrett counties and Region B includes all of the remaining counties in Maryland. Located within Region B is a Suburban Deer Archery Zone that includes Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Region A’s white-tailed deer archery bag limit is 2 deer and no more than 1 of them can be an antlered deer. In Region B, archers may take two antlered white-tailed deer. However, as in the past, two antlerless deer must be taken before attempting to hunt a second antlered deer.

The new bag limit for antlerless deer in Region B is 10 antlerless deer, except that archers in the new Suburban Deer Archery Zone (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s) may take an unlimited number of antlerless deer.

Sika deer archery season is open from Sept.15 through Jan. 31 in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. The sika deer bag limit is 1 antlered and 1 antlerless sika deer. An antlered sika deer is a deer with at least one antler visible above the hair line.

One Sunday, Nov. 7, will be open for bow hunting on private land only within the following counties: Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot and Washington.

A new regulation this year allows any bow hunter to use “Draw-lock” devices during the crossbow hunting dates. A “Draw-lock” allows a bowstring of a vertical bow to be drawn and held until the hunter chooses to release the string. This device may also be used during any open season by anyone who is authorized by special permit to use a crossbow.

Crossbow deer hunting will be permitted on Oct. 1–15 and Jan. 15–31. Crossbows are also legal for all hunters during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons. Any deer taken with a crossbow will count toward the hunter’s appropriate Regional Bow Bag Limit.

Crossbow hunters and vertical bow (straight limb, recurve, compound) hunters must possess a Bow Stamp with a valid hunting license in order to hunt deer during Maryland’s Bow Season. All bow hunters must purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp in order to hunt with a bow (vertical or crossbow) during the Muzzleloader Deer Season. DNR records indicate that 50,234 Maryland residents and 7,250 non-residents purchased bow stamps during the 2003-04 bow season.

Hunters are reminded that all deer must be checked into a DNR Official Deer & Turkey Checking Station either within the county of harvest or of an adjacent county no later than 24 hours after the kill. Deer taken with a straight limb bow, recurve bow or compound bow will be registered as taken with a vertical bow. Deer taken with a crossbow will be recorded as taken with a crossbow. This will allow DNR biologists to accurately determine the influence of crossbows on Maryland’s deer management.

Last season a total of 18,577 deer were taken with all archery equipment. Vertical bow hunters bagged 17,649 deer. Crossbow hunters harvested 358 deer during the 2003-04 four-week crossbow season. Total crossbow deer harvest (disabled hunters, firearm season, muzzleloader season, 4 week crossbow season) was 908.

The top ten Maryland counties for 2003 total bow harvest were as follows: Baltimore (2,238); Frederick (1,489); Harford (1,334); Washington (1,307; Garrett (1,298); Montgomery (1,113); Carroll (1,077); Howard (1,025); Allegany (989); Anne Arundel (712).

Maryland’s Archery Deer Hunting Season is part of the Maryland DNR deer management project. Archery hunting, combined with firearm and muzzleloader deer hunting, provides outdoor recreation for over 80,000 Maryland residents, manages white-tailed deer and sika deer populations and contributes over $150 million annually to Maryland’s economy.

Complete bag limits, season dates and bow hunting regulations can be found at the DNR website, www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide. The Hunting & Trapping In Maryland 2004-2005 Guide, issued with each hunting license, also contains detailed information about all of Maryland’s hunting seasons.