Firearms Deer Season Opens November 29

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Maryland’s two-week firearms deer season for white-tailed and sika deer opens Nov. 29. Approximately 75,000 deer hunters will take part in this longstanding fall tradition. On average, hunters will spend more than 5 days pursuing deer.

New legislation provides for an extra day of deer hunting on private land in 12 counties. Sunday, Nov. 30 will be open for both white-tailed deer and sika deer in Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot, and Washington Counties. Private landowners, such as farmers, can use this extra day to exercise additional control over deer populations on their properties. Because 87 percent of the firearms harvest is taken on private lands, the season provides an excellent opportunity for population management.

Besides bringing nutritious food home to their families, successful deer hunters will help to keep deer numbers in balance with their habitats. The removal of female deer through regulated hunting reduces the number of deer available to reproduce. Areas of Maryland where deer hunting is allowed contain fewer deer than those closed to hunting. In Montgomery County, a survey revealed that there are five times fewer deer on hunted lands than on lands without deer hunting programs.

“Deer Hunting, A Valuable Deer Management Tool For Private Landowners” provides detailed guidance for managing deer numbers. This publication of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can be found on DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/deermgmt.html or can be received by calling 410-543-6595.

Hunting remains one of the safest outdoor recreational activities. Deer hunters can help to maintain this safety record by following these guidelines for firearms safety:

  • Control the direction of the firearm’s muzzle. Carry the firearm safely and with the safety on at all times.
  • Identify your target and what is beyond it. Know the identifying features of the game you are hunting.
  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  • Be sure that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions and that you have ammunition only for the firearm you are carrying.
  • Unload firearms when not in use. Leave the actions open. Firearms should be unloaded and placed in a gun case when traveling to and from the hunting area.
  • Never point a firearm at anything that you do not want to shoot.
  • Never climb a tree or jump a ditch or log with a loaded firearm. Never pull a firearm towards you by the muzzle.
  • Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water. During target practice, be sure that your backstop is adequate.
  • Store firearms and ammunition separately and beyond the reach of children and careless adults.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages or mood-altering drugs before or while shooting.

DNR manages deer hunting through four deer management regions. The number of deer that a hunter can take in one region does not affect the hunter’s bag limit in other regions during the two-week firearms season (Nov. 29 through Dec. 13). Deer-hunting regulations, bag limits, and season dates for all regions can be found on DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide.