Late Muzzleloader Deer Season Opens December 20 in Maryland
Annapolis, Md. — Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season reopens on Saturday, Dec. 20. and continues through Jan. 2, 2009. An estimated 59,600 resident and 7,900 nonresident hunters enjoy pursuing deer with muzzleloaders annually. Last year, muzzleloader hunters took 7,614 deer (1,870 antlered and 5,744 antlerless) during the late season, a 10 percent increase over the previous year.
“Muzzleloader season is an integral part of managing deer numbers in Maryland,” said Wildlife and Heritage Service Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler. “Generally, the October and December seasons account for nearly 20 percent of yearly deer harvest.”
In Region A (Garrett and Allegany Counties), the total muzzleloader season bag limit is two deer, one antlered and one antlerless. On public lands, only antlered deer may be taken from Dec. 20, 2008 through Jan. 2, 2009, and either sex deer may be taken on Jan. 3, 2009. On all other lands in Region A, only antlered deer may be taken from Dec. 20 through Dec. 31, and either sex deer may be taken from Jan. 1 through Jan. 3, 2009. No more than two antlerless deer may be taken on public lands in Region A with any combination of the bow, muzzleloader and firearm bag limits.
In Region B (all counties except Garrett and Allegany), the total muzzleloader season bag limit is two antlered deer and ten antlerless deer, which may be taken during the entire two week season. Hunters in Region B are reminded they must take two antlerless deer and purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp before pursuing a second antlered deer.
Sika deer muzzleloader season runs from Dec. 20 through Jan. 3 in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester Counties. The total muzzleloader sika deer bag limit is two deer, one antlered and one antlerless.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges hunters to inspect any permanent and portable tree stands before using them. Harness-style safety belts should be used while climbing into or out of a tree stand, as well as while in the stand. Hunters should always exercise the fundamental commandments of firearms safety while afield.
Deer hunting provides outdoor recreation for over 68,000 Marylanders, is a vital tool in managing deer populations, and contributes more than $150 million to the state’s economy each year.
Successful Maryland deer hunters must register their deer within 24 hours of harvest by calling 1-888-800-0121 or through the Internet at www.gamecheck.dnr.state.md.us. Hunters must immediately attach a field tag to the deer’s head and record the harvest on the Maryland Big Game Harvest Record portion of their hunting license before moving the deer from the place of kill. Both forms must be completed in ink. Upon registering the deer, hunters will be given a confirmation number that is to be recorded on the Big Game Harvest Record. Detailed instructions for this registration process are located on pages 32 – 33 of the 2008-2009 Maryland Guide to Hunting & Trapping issued with each hunting license.
For bag limits, season dates, and other deer hunting information visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide.