Early Muzzleloader Deer Season Opens October 20

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces that Maryland’s 2005 Muzzleloader Deer Season will open on October 20. Several amendments have been made regarding Region A Early Muzzleloader Deer Season. In addition, the process for registering deer has also been changed.

In Region A, which is made up of Garrett and Allegany counties, the total muzzleloader season bag limit is two (2) white-tailed deer - one antlered and one antlerless; however only one deer may be taken during the Oct. 20-22 split. One of either sex deer may be taken on private lands or one antlered deer may be taken on public lands.

In Region B, which comprises Washington County and all counties east, the total muzzleloader deer season bag limit is two (2) antlered white-tailed deer and 10 white-tailed antlerless deer. One antlered deer may be taken during the Oct. 20-22 muzzleloader season segment, while only antlerless deer may be taken with a muzzleloader from Oct. 24 through 29. Muzzleloader hunters may take up to 10 antlerless deer combined for both October segments.

The sika deer muzzleloader season is open in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties during the Oct. 20-22 season. The sika deer bag limit is one sika deer, antlered or antlerless. An antlered sika deer is a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline. Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties are closed for sika deer hunting during the Oct. 24-29 split.

Successful Maryland deer hunters will register their deer by calling 1-888-800-0121 or through the internet www.gamecheck.dnr.state.md.us. Hunters must immediately attach a completed Field Tag on the deer’s head and record the harvest on their Maryland Big Game Harvest Record portion of their hunting license before moving the deer from place of harvest. Both forms must be completed in ink. Hunters will receive a confirmation number to be recorded on the Big Game Harvest Record. Detailed instructions for this process are located on pages 28-29 of the 2005-2006 Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland.

Successful Junior Deer Hunters (age 16 and under) are eligible to receive a “Junior Hunter Game Certificate” from designated Junior Hunter game certification agents. Page 55 of the 2005-2006 Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland lists local agents from which Junior Hunters can receive an attractive certificate commemorating the bagging of any deer or turkey.

Bowhunters are reminded that bow deer season is closed during the Oct. 20-22 muzzleloader hunting segment. Bowhunters may hunt with a bow on these days but any deer taken with a bow must be checked against their muzzleloader bag limit. Bow hunters must possess a muzzleloader stamp if they choose to hunt with a bow during the Oct. 20–22 split.

Bow season remains open during the Region B antlerless only muzzleloader hunting segment, Oct. 24-29. Bowhunters must check any deer taken during these dates against the bow bag limit.

The 2004 top ten Maryland counties for total muzzleloader deer harvest were as follows: Washington (2392); Frederick (1765); Garrett (1525); Allegany (1252); Dorchester (1230); Baltimore (1221); Harford (1092); Montgomery (1018); Charles (1015); and Worcester (1012).

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

Complete bag limits, season dates, new deer registration procedures and other deer hunting information can be found at the DNR website www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide. The 2005-2006 Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland, issued with each hunting license, contains detailed information about all Maryland’s hunting seasons.