ANNAPOLIS — The archery hunting season for white-tailed and sika deer opened across Maryland Sept. 9 and continues through Jan. 31, 2023. On Feb. 1-3, 2023 archers may also use vertical longbows and vertical recurve bows during the annual Primitive Deer Hunt Days, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“A crispness in the air throughout much of Maryland signals the onset of fall and the Maryland deer season,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “For many people, hunting provides an avenue to escape to the beauty that Maryland’s great outdoors offers this season.”
For the 2022-23 deer season, the statewide bag limit for white-tailed bucks is two deer (no more than one per weapon season). Hunters have the option to take one additional bonus buck in Region B (the state’s central, southern, and eastern regions) after purchasing a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp.
The antlerless archery deer bag limits differ between deer management regions. In Region A, no more than one antlerless deer may be harvested during the regular archery season. An additional antlerless deer may be harvested in Region A during the Primitive Deer Hunt Days.
In Region B, the antlerless archery limit is 15, except for in the Suburban Deer Management Zone, where the archery antlerless limit is now unlimited. This zone comprises Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties.
The sika deer archery 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 archery season is open in every county.
Multiple Sundays are open to archery hunting in most counties, including on some public lands. In Somerset County Sunday hunting on private land and on designated public land leased to a hunt club is now allowed. Legal hunting hours for deer on many Sundays, however, is one half hour before sunrise to 10:30 a.m. so check with the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping for additional information on Sunday hunting and other deer hunting opportunities.
(Hunters should be advised the print version of the 2022-2023 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping includes an error on page 24 regarding Sunday hunting in Caroline, Dorchester, and Queen Anne’s counties; the digital guide on the DNR website and app contains the correct information.)
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.
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. DNR 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.
When checking in their deer, hunters should report deer taken with a long, compound, or recurve bow as harvested with a vertical bow. Crossbow hunters should register their deer as taken with a crossbow. This information helps biologists collect information on preferences and trends in how deer are harvested.
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.