Thesecond portion of Maryland’smuzzleloader deer hunting seasonis set to open Dec. 16. Hunters who possess a valid hunting license and amuzzleloader stampfrom theMaryland Department of Natural Resourcesmay use muzzleloading firearms to hunt white-tailed and sika deer during the season, which concludes Dec. 30.

Photo of deer herd in winter by Jan Branscome

Photo by Jan Branscome

“Muzzleloader hunting is a great opportunity for hunters to enjoy more time in the woods with friends and family during the holidays,”Wildlife and Heritage ServiceDirector Paul Peditto said. “The season is important to the state’s deer management program and for reaching our harvest goals.”

Thebag limitsfor the season, which also includes the already completed October dates, are:

  • Statewide:One antlered white-tailed deer. Three sika deer, no more than one antlered.
  • Region A: One antlerless white-tailed deer. The antlerless season is Dec. 28-30 on private land and Dec. 30 on public land.Hunters may only take two antlerless deer total for the license year.
  • Region B: 10 antlerless white-tailed deer. A hunter may also take one bonus antlered white-tailed deer per license year in the weapon season of their choice after purchasing aBonus Antlered Deer Stampand taking two antlerless white-tailed deer during any season.

Theantler point restrictionremains in effect for the coming hunting season. Deer hunters may harvest up to two antlered white-tailed deer within the yearly bag limit that do 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 are exempt from this restriction.

New this year, theApprentice Hunting License Programallows first-time hunters a lower-cost opportunity to explore the sport and tradition with an experienced and licensed guide and mentor.

Hunters should carefully inspect all tree-stands and always wear a full-body safety harness while climbing in or out and while in the stand. The department strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prussic 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.