Maryland’s Early Muzzleloader Deer Season Begins Oct. 19

Photo of four deer in a field

Photo by Mary Pat Bozel, submitted to the 2021 Maryland Department of Natural Resources Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the first segment of Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season runs from Oct. 19-21 statewide. 

Hunters in Region B — the state’s central, southern, and eastern regions — can also use muzzleloaders from Oct. 23-28 for antlerless deer only.

The popular season typically coincides with pleasant fall weather and is one of many deer hunting opportunities offered in the state.

 “The October muzzleloader season is a prime time to get out in the woods and take advantage of the increased deer activity,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Acting Director Karina Stonesifer said. “Hunters have a great opportunity to enjoy the autumn colors while pursuing a deer to fill the freezer.”

For the 2023-24 season, the statewide bag limit for white-tailed bucks is set at two deer. Maryland hunters in Region B have the option to take one additional bonus buck after purchasing a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp, but this stamp may not be used during the early muzzleloader season. The antlerless deer bag limits differ between deer management regions.

An antler-point restriction remains in effect. Deer hunters may harvest one antlered white-tailed deer within the yearly bag limit that does not meet the requirement of having at least three points on one antler. Any additional antlered deer taken within the established bag limit must meet the minimum point restriction. Licensed junior hunters and apprentice license holders, 16 years of age or younger, are exempt from this restriction.

The early muzzleloader season for sika deer of either sex is open statewide Oct. 19-21, followed by an antlerless-only sika deer season Oct. 23-28.

New for the 2023-24 hunting season, if hunters intend to pursue sika deer, they must purchase a sika hunting stamp in addition to the muzzleloader stamp. Sika stamps may be purchased on COMPASS, at a licensing agent, or by calling DNR Licensing and Registration Services at 866-344-8889. The sika deer muzzleloader season bag limit is three with no more than one being antlered. An antlered sika is defined as a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline. The sika deer muzzleloader season is open in every county.

Season dates, bag limits, hunting regulations, and registration procedures can be found in the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping

Hunters should carefully inspect all tree stands and always wear a full-body safety harness while in the stand as well as when climbing in or out. The department strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prusik knot, attached to a line that is secured above the stand that allows the hunter to be safely tethered to the tree as soon as they leave the ground.

Hunters are encouraged to help others by donating deer taken in Maryland. A state tax credit offers hunters an incentive for donated deer. Other local or state programs are also available so please check with your deer processor.

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