Early Muzzleloader Deer Season Opens In October in Maryland

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The first portion of Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season opens on October 20. This is one of many deer seasons that DNR offers each year from September to January to create recreational opportunities and meet deer management goals.

“The muzzleloader deer hunting season is an important component of DNR’s deer management plan,” said Brian Eyeler, DNR’s deer project leader. “Last year the October muzzleloader season accounted for 60 percent of the total muzzleloader harvest for the year. Hunting relatively unpressured deer during great fall weather has made this season popular with novice and veteran deer hunters alike.”

The October segment of the muzzleloader season is from October 20-22 in Deer Management Region A, which consists of Garrett and Allegany counties and the western portion of Washington County (land codes 250 & 251). In Region B, the early muzzleloader season has an either sex portion that runs from October 20-22 and an antlerless-only period from October 24-29. Deer Management Region B includes the eastern portion of Washington County (land code 252) and the remaining 20 counties.

The early muzzleloader season is open for sika deer in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties. Hunters may take one sika deer of either sex from October 20-22 and one antlerless deer from October 24-29.

New this year, a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Area (land code 233) has been established in a portion of Allegany County with regulations designed to prevent the unintentional spread of CWD to other locations. Hunters wanting more information regarding CWD and the regulations pertaining to the Disease Management Area should visit dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Hunt_Trap/deer/disease/cwdinformation.asp or consult the 2011-2012 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.


Hunters are urged to carefully inspect all treestands before using them. A full-body safety harness should be used while climbing into or out of a treestand and while in the stand. DNR strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prussic 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. For more information on treestand safety and a helpful video, visit dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/ts.asp

Complete bag limits, season dates, deer registration procedures and other deer hunting information can be found at dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide. The 2011-2012 Maryland Guide to Hunting & Trapping issued with each hunting license contains detailed information about all Maryland’s hunting seasons.


Retired2hunt's picture

  I too think that it is


I too think that it is great that that Maryland and other states offer these muzzleloader hunts. The success rate is definitely much higher.  And if the focus is truly on culling the herd then the goal can be met by the controlled hunting of the herd.  There are many states that jus throw out a Bottom line the season has to have a real affect on the animals for the muzzleloading season to have a possitive affect on the overall goal of the state's DOW or DNR goals of animal management.  

I have to agree with Vermonster her that when there is a full month of archery and it is followed by a rifle season that by the time the muzzleloader season occurs the deer are found less within the same areas and the success rates fall greatly. 

This is definitely a good management choice by Maryland, and great opportunity for the deer hunters there!


Ca_Vermonster's picture

I think it's great that

I think it's great that places like Maryland offer early muzzleloader hunts.  The success rate is much higher then, and if you true goal is to control the deer herd, then you obviously need to kill more deer.  Unlike Vermont, which appears to have no clue on how to handle their muzzleloader hunt.  They claim to have institued a qauality deer management of sorts, and want to see more doe shot in some areas, but they will not move the season from it's current time. 

Right now, it's in December, after a full month of archery, then 2 weeks of rifle.  By the time muzzleloader rolls around, the deer have been pushed all over, and success rates plummet.  They did try to move it to a weekend in October along with archey season, but that was shot down by the voters, so I guess I can't blame them entirely.

Good management choice by Maryland, and great opportunity for the deer hunters there!