John Lewis

Mastering the Hunt: MDNR Regulations Made Simple

maryland, md hunting Regulations

Hunting regulations are governed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Here are some key regulations hunters should be aware of.

Important Resources

Deer Hunting Regulations

Deer Season

MDNR Regulations

MD Season Dates

General Regulations

  • Must carry personal photo identification (such as a driver’s license) or a secondary form of positive identification while hunting.
  • License holders must have a printed paper copy or electronic copy of their license when outdoor.
  • Drinking or using drugs while hunting is illegal.
  • It is unlawful to take animals besides deer on the first day of Deer Firearms Season, except for coyotes.
  • Shining lights from vehicles onto dwellings, buildings, fields, livestock, orchards, wildlife, or woods is prohibited. However, in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County, lighting may be used solely for observing or photographing wildlife until 9 PM if no game devices are in possession.
  • Safety Zones: Hunting within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling is prohibited without the owner’s permission. For archery, this distance is reduced to 100 yards in certain counties and 50 yards in others.

Hunting on Private Property

  • Written landowner permission is required to hunt or trap on private property in all Maryland counties.
  • People are liable for any damage they cause while on private property.
  • Landowners who allow access are generally not liable for any accidental injury to hunters on their land.
  • Posting property boundaries with blue paint stripes or signs makes trespassing illegal.

Sunday Hunting

  • For migratory game birds under a Falconry Permit.
  • For foxes during an organized fox chase without firearms.
  • On regulated shooting areas for captive-raised game birds, except free-flying waterfowl.
  • For deer, turkeys, small game, and furbearers in certain areas.

State Lands

  • Target shooting is restricted to designated areas.
  • Permanent blinds and tree stands are prohibited.
  • Written permission is required for trapping.
  • Baiting is prohibited.

Fluorescent Orange Clothing

Must wear daylight fluorescent orange or pink outer garments to promote visibility:

  • A hat displaying at least 250 square inches of fluorescent color.
  • A vest or jacket displaying at least 250 square inches of fluorescent color.
  • External clothing having at least 50% bright color.

Some exemptions exist, such as for archery deer seasons and certain bird species. Property owners and family are not exempt when pursuing their own land.

Fluorescent clothing helps ensure the safety of all enjoying Maryland’s outdoors. Responsible individuals make themselves visible, respect private property, and follow all regulations. With knowledge and preparation, the game experience can be safe, ethical, and rewarding.


Nonresident College Students• Buy hunting licenses at resident rates with proof of enrollment.
• Purchase through regional licensing centers.
Purple Heart Recipients• MD residents with Purple Heart Award get 50% off hunting licenses, stamps, and permits.
• Discounts in person by appointment at Service Centers with documentation.
Complimentary DAV-POW Licenses• Free lifetime hunting license for MD residents as former POWs or 100% disabled vets.
• Obtain at Service Centers, includes free additional permits.
Armed Forces in MD• Active-duty members stationed in MD are residents.
• Must follow safety requirements.
• Nonresidents on leave need a Nonresident Hunting License.
Hunting Without License• MD residents hunting on owned property or active-duty military on leave.
• Retired Armed Services on family-owned farmland.
Universal Disability Pass• Free pass for hunters with mobility impairments.
• Allows hunting from a vehicle in designated areas.
Purchasing Licenses• DNRid needed for licenses, stamps, and permits.
• Obtain through COMPASS portal, Service Centers, or Sport License Agents.
• Online system available 24/7; print licenses immediately.

Key Facts and Statistics

  • There are over 115,000 licensed hunters in Maryland.
  • The top harvested game species are white-tailed deer, Canada geese, squirrels, and wild turkeys.
  • Hunters provide over 2 million pounds of meat annually to Maryland food banks through the Sportsmen Against Hunger program.
  • The event generates over $300 million annually for Maryland’s economy.
  • Participants pay excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, bows, and arrows to support wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson Act.
  • Maryland has excellent hunting opportunities with over 4 million acres of public and private land open to hunting.

Hunting plays an important role in wildlife management, the economy, and Maryland’s heritage. By following regulations and practicing safety, ethical hunters can responsibly enjoy the outdoors while providing food for their families. With knowledge of the rules and respect for the resources, the tradition will continue thriving for future generations.

John Lewis
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