Deer season returns to Maryland starting January 5th

27 December 2023- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will open the January firearm deer hunting season on Jan. 5, 2024 in Deer Management Region B, which includes all of the state except the westernmost counties. Hunters with a valid hunting license may use firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during this season.

The season is open Jan. 5-6 in all of Region B. The season is also open through Sunday, Jan. 7 on private and designated public lands in Cecil, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties, and on private lands only in Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, and Washington (Zone 1) counties. Shooting hours end at 10:30 a.m. in Kent, Montgomery, Talbot, and Wicomico counties.

“The January firearm season is the perfect opportunity for hunters to restock the freezer after the holidays,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Karina Stonesifer said. “This is a great opportunity for many to harvest their first deer of the New Year, and January hunting favors antlerless deer, which is a critical component of managing a healthy deer population in Region B.”

Hunters are reminded that 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.

New for the 2023-24 hunting season, if hunters intend to pursue sika deer, they must purchase a sika hunting 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 firearms 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 season is open in every county.

During firearms season, Maryland requires deer hunters and their companions to wear daylight fluorescent orange or daylight fluorescent pink in one of the following manners: a cap of solid fluorescent daylight orange or pink, a vest or jacket containing back and front panels of at least 250 square inches of fluorescent daylight orange or pink, or an outer garment of camouflage daylight fluorescent orange or pink worn above the waist and containing at least 50 percent daylight fluorescent color.

More information on the firearms season, along with season bag limits and other deer hunting regulations, are available in the 2023-2024 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 and while 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.