Maryland DNR Selects Final Hunting and Trapping Regulation Proposals

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service has completed an important step toward finalizing the hunting and trapping season and bag limit regulation proposals for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons. The proposed hunting regulation changes, which included extensive public input, were recently endorsed by the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission (WAC).

“We are very pleased with the level of thoughtful input we received during all aspects of the public comment period,” said Associate Director for Game Management at DNR, Pete Jayne. “It’s always productive for us to hear from so many passionate supporters of Maryland’s rich wildlife resources. While most comments were from hunters and trappers, we also heard from a diverse group of non-hunters, hikers, bikers, farmers and landowners. We received over 1,000 comments during nearly two months of public participation and this input led us to make several changes in the proposals.”

To gather citizen input, DNR held a public comment process that began in January. This included two stakeholder meetings, two public meetings and a new, popular online comment submission forum. The proposed regulations that will now move forward to the final steps in the process are summarized below.

  • Hunter Orange Addition
    Require persons that are bowhunting deer in the bear hunting zone to meet the hunter orange requirements while the bear season is open.
  • River Otter
    Reopen the river otter season with a season limit of one in Allegany and Garrett counties. River otter season has been closed in these counties since a re-introduction project was initiated in the mid-1990s. The otter population is considered to be restored in key watersheds and limited harvest will not affect overall population levels.
  • Fox Season Extension
    Extend the season for red and grey foxes by two weeks in both fox management zones for shooting only. Trapping seasons will remain unchanged. This extension will allow for additional recreation and give landowners more options when managing fox populations.
  • Crossbow Transport
    Allow an unloaded but cocked crossbow to be placed in or on a vehicle. Previously, crossbows had to be uncocked before being transported in a vehicle, creating logistical issues for many crossbow hunters.
  • White-tailed Deer
    Create a statewide bag limit for antlered deer (bucks) and reduce the overall buck bag limit to three per year, one per weapon season (i.e., bow season, muzzleloader season, and firearm season). Hunters in Region B will have the option to take one additional bonus buck (for a total of four) during the weapon season of their choice after purchasing a Bonus Antlered Deer stamp and taking two antlerless deer in Region B during any deer hunting season. This change should produce a higher proportion of mature bucks in the population and is anticipated to encourage more hunters to take antlerless deer. Prior to this change, the statewide bag limit was nine bucks. Managing for older bucks and increasing antlerless deer harvest are consistent with DNR’s deer management goals.
  • White-tailed Deer
    Expand the current unlimited antlerless bag limit for bow season in the Suburban Archery Zone to all of Deer Management Region B. This change will simplify regulations and remove the need for the Suburban Archery Zone. Taking additional antlerless deer in Region B is consistent with DNR’s deer management goals.
  • White-tailed Deer
    Extend the archery season for white-tailed and sika deer to open on the first Friday after Labor Day each year (September 7, 2012 and September 6, 2013).
  • White-tailed Deer
    Modify the existing regulations that limit the transport of deer carcasses and deer parts outside of the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Area in eastern Allegany County. The modifications will allow hunters to transport deer leg quarters out of the CWD Management Area and to take deer to approved taxidermists. These changes will make the transport of deer more convenient for hunters without increasing the risk of spreading the disease to other portions of the state.
  • Sika Deer
    In addition, the Wildlife Advisory Commission supported a recommendation from DNR to withdraw the proposal requiring legal antlered sika deer to have at least one branched antler. Hunters may still practice voluntary restraint when selecting antlered sika deer for harvest.

The proposed regulations selected by DNR for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons may be viewed online at