Maryland's annual deer archery hunting season opened September 15, 2008 and continues through January 31, 2009.
"Archery hunters continue to be an integral part of our comprehensive deer management strategy," says Wildlife and Heritage Service Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler.
Last season a total of 22,064 deer (8,342 antlered bucks, 11,700 does, 2,022 button bucks) were taken with archery equipment, up from 21,991 in the 2006-2007 season.
Maryland's deer hunting regulations vary in the two deer management regions. In Region A (Garrett and Allegany Counties) the white-tailed deer archery bag limit is two deer, one antlered and one antlerless. Additionally, no more than two antlerless deer may be taken on public lands in Region A with any combination of bow, muzzleloader and firearm bag limits, excluding the Junior Hunt Day.
In most of Deer Management Region B (Maryland's 21 other counties), archers may take two antlered and ten antlerless white-tailed deer. However, a second antlered deer may not be harvested until two antlerless deer have been taken. Archers in the Suburban Deer Archery Zone (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties) may take an unlimited number of antlerless deer.
The sika deer archery season opens September 15, 2008 and runs through January 31, 2009 in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester Counties. The sika deer bag limit is one antlered and one antlerless sika deer. An antlered sika deer is a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline.
Crossbow deer hunting will be permitted statewide from Oct. 1 through Oct.15, 2008 and from Jan. 15 to Jan. 31, 2009. Any deer taken with a crossbow will count toward the hunter's appropriate regional bow bag limit. Crossbows are also legal for all hunters during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons. In the Region B Suburban Deer Archery Zone (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties), bowhunters may use a crossbow for the entire bow season.
Successful Maryland deer hunters must register their deer either by calling 1-888-800-0121 or online at www.gamecheck.dnr.state.md.us . Hunters must immediately place a "field tag" on the deer's head and complete the Maryland Big Game Harvest Record. When registering each deer, hunters will receive a confirmation number that must also be recorded on the hunter's Big Game Harvest Record.
Deer taken with a straight limb bow, recurve bow or compound bow should be registered as taken with a vertical bow. Deer taken with a crossbow should be recorded as taken with a crossbow. These records enable DNR biologists to continue to monitor any influence of crossbows on Maryland's deer management program.
A limited number of Sundays will be open to bow hunting during the 2008-2009 hunting season. Bow hunting opportunities on Sundays vary by county. For a complete listing of Sunday bow hunting opportunities, please refer to the 2008-2009 Guide to Hunting and Trapping.
Complete bag limits, season dates, deer registration procedures and bow hunting regulations are also online at www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide . The 2008-2009 Guide to Hunting & Trapping, issued with each hunting license, also contains detailed information about all of Maryland's hunting seasons.