New Crossbow Hunting Regulations Proposed

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service announced today a public comment opportunity on crossbow hunting changes. The Department recently convened a group of stakeholders from across the State to discuss the concept of additional opportunities for crossbow use in Maryland’s 2003-2004 deer hunting season framework. The proposals are the product of the stakeholders meeting and DNR consideration for a compromise that will be scientifically measurable regarding its effects on deer management, hunter participation and hunter success.

Regulation Proposal Number 1:
Legalize crossbows to hunt deer statewide during all deer seasons when vertical bows (recurve, compound, straight limb) are legal.

Regulation Proposal Number 2:

  • Legalize crossbows for hunting deer statewide during all firearm and all muzzleloader deer hunting seasons, and during the following segments of the Bow Season – October 1-15, 2003 and January 15-31, 2004; and
  • Any hunter who is 65 years of age or older and qualifies to hunt without a license, or possesses a Resident Senior Hunting License, a Resident Senior Lifetime Consolidated Hunting License, or a Nonresident Hunting License, can hunt deer with a crossbow in all Maryland deer hunting seasons.

Applicable to both proposals:

  • As they are now, vertical bows would remain legal during all deer hunting seasons.
  • A Bow Stamp will be required to hunt deer with a crossbow during the Bow Season.
  • A Muzzleloader Stamp will be required to hunt deer with a crossbow during the Muzzleloader Season.
  • Hunters who possess a Resident Senior Lifetime Consolidated Hunting License are exempt from the stamp requirements.
  • Deer taken with crossbows during the Bow Season count against the Bow Season deer bag limits.
  • Deer taken with crossbows during the Firearm Season, when Bow Season is closed, count against the Firearm Season deer bag limits.
  • Deer taken with crossbows during the Muzzleloader Season, when Bow Season is closed, count against the Muzzleloader Season deer bag limits.
  • Crossbow hunters will be required to wear hunter orange when hunting during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons.

Public comments are being received through April 25, 2003. Please specify which of the two proposals you prefer. Comments are encouraged via e-mail to: customerservice@dnr.state.md.us or fax: (410) 260-8596. Written comments may be sent to: Mr. Paul A. Peditto, Director, Crossbow Comments, DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service, Tawes State Office Building E-1, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401. Citizens may also call (410) 260-8540 or toll-free in Maryland at 1-877-620-8DNR, ext. 8540.