Firearms Deer Season Opens November 27

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Over 74,000 Maryland deer hunters will awaken early on Nov. 27 and enter the forests and fields in pursuit of white-tailed deer and sika deer. Hunters need to be aware of several changes to firearm deer season regulations.

Two Deer Management Regions (A, B) replace the four regions (A, B, C, D) established in 1998. Region A consists of Allegany and Garrett counties and Region B covers the remaining 21 counties. Each region has independent bag limits.

Region A’s firearm bag limit is two deer with no more than one being antlered. Only antlered deer may be taken during Nov. 27 – Dec. 9. Antlered or antlerless deer may be taken on December 10 and 11.

Region B’s firearm bag limit is 2 antlered deer and 10 antlerless deer during the season that opens on Nov.27 and runs through Dec. 11. Two antlerless deer must be taken before a second antlered deer is pursued.

Sika deer season is Nov. 27 through Dec. 11 in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. The sika bag limit is one antlered and one antlerless sika deer. An antlered sika deer is a sika deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline.

The top ten counties for firearm harvest last season were as follows: Frederick (4,645); Washington (4,190); Garrett (3,638); Allegany (3,450); Dorchester (2,730); Worcester (2,483); Baltimore (2,258); Kent (2,231); Carroll (2,228); Montgomery (2,190).

The first Sunday of firearm season (Nov. 28) is open for deer hunting on private lands in Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot, and Washington counties. Deer hunters took 2,668 deer on Sunday last season, 12 percent of the two-week firearm harvest for these 12 counties.

Firearm season provides an excellent opportunity for private landowners to manage deer populations through deer hunting. Fifty-five percent of all deer taken in Maryland are bagged during the firearm season and 88 percent of the total firearm harvest is taken on private lands. Lands with deer hunting programs contain fewer deer than areas without a deer management program. A DNR aerial deer survey in Montgomery County found five times fewer deer on lands with deer hunting than on lands closed to deer hunting.

Maryland’s Firearm Deer Hunting Season is one component of DNR’s deer management project. Firearms deer hunting combined with archery and muzzleloader deer seasons provides outdoor recreation for over 80,000 Marylanders, manages white-tailed deer and sika deer populations, and contributes over $150 million to the state’s economy.

Complete bag limits, season dates and other deer hunting information 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, contains detailed information about all of Maryland’s hunting seasons.