ANNAPOLIS, MD (September 29, 2003)— The Maryland Department of
Natural Resources Wildlife & Heritage Service today reminded hunters of
the early three-day segments of Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season to
open in upcoming weeks. The first segment occurs Oct. 16-18. The second,
the white-tailed deer antlerless-only segment, occurs the following
week, Oct. 23-25, in Deer Management Regions B, C, and D.
The 2002-2003 early segments of the muzzleloader deer season produced
a harvest of 15,188 deer (6,945 antlered and 8,243 antlerless). Last
hunting season, 60,700 Maryland residents and 7,300 nonresidents
purchased muzzleloader stamps, which authorize hunters to hunt deer with
a muzzleloading firearm.
In Deer Management Region A, muzzleloader hunters may take one
white-tailed deer Oct. 16-18. This deer may be antlered or antlerless
when taken on private lands, but muzzleloader hunters may take only
antlered deer during this same segment on those lands managed by the
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Region A. Hunters should refer
to page 11 of DNR’s guide Hunting and Trapping in Maryland 2003-2004 for
a listing of eligible DNR lands.
In Region B, muzzleloader hunters may take two white-tailed deer
during the October muzzleloader segments, but only one of these deer may
In Region C, muzzleloader hunters may take two deer during the Oct.
16-18 segment, but only one may be antlered. During the Oct. 23-25
segment in Region C, unlimited antlerless deer may be taken with
In Region D, muzzleloader hunters may take a total of three deer
during the October muzzleloader segments, but only one may be antlered.
No more than two deer may be taken during the Oct. 16-18 segment.
Sika deer muzzleloader deer season is open in Dorchester, Somerset,
Wicomico, and Worcester Counties during the Oct. 16-18 segment; hunters
may take one antlered or antlerless sika deer. Antlered sika deer are
defined as any sika deer with at least one antler visible above the
hairline. Sika deer muzzleloader season is closed Oct. 23-25.
Telescopic sights and sabots are permissible for muzzleloader deer
hunting. Muzzleloading rifles must be at least .40 caliber and must be
loaded with at least 60 grains of black powder or an equivalent amount
of black-powder substitute.
Bow hunters are reminded that bow season for deer is closed during
the Oct. 16-18 segment of the muzzleloader season. Bow hunters may hunt
with a bow on these days, but they must check any deer taken against the
muzzleloader bag limit. Also, bow hunters must possess a muzzleloader
stamp when bow hunting Oct. 16-18. Bow season remains open Oct. 23-25,
and bow hunters must check any deer taken against the bow bag limit.
Hunters checking deer in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick,
Carroll, Baltimore, Harford, and Cecil Counties on Oct. 16 may be asked
to provide DNR with a brain sample from their deer for Chronic Wasting
Disease (CWD) surveillance. DNR will examine 50 deer from each county.
These counties are at highest risk for CWD because of captive cervids in
Maryland and adjacent Pennsylvania. Five of these counties were sampled
last year, but no CWD-positive animals were found. No CWD was found in
any eastern coast states that sampled deer for CWD in 2002. Maryland
hunters will be notified by late winter if their deer tested positive
Muzzleloader deer hunting is one component of DNR’s deer-management
program. Areas with deer-hunting programs contain fewer deer and more
diverse wildlife species than non-hunted areas do. Deer browse on
woodland plants, such as understory shrubs, wild flowers, vines, and
forbs (herbs other than grass). Therefore, forests with deer numbers
more in balance with the habitat contain a greater diversity of plants.
This forest type contributes to the health of the Chesapeake Bay by
absorbing nutrients before they reach the Bay’s tributaries.
For more information on Maryland deer hunting regulations, consult
DNR’s Hunting and Trapping in Maryland 2003-2004. This guide is issued
when a hunter purchases a 2003-2004 Maryland hunting license. It is
available at all DNR Service Centers and can be found on the DNR Web