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Archery deer hunting season opens Friday across Maryland

The Maryland archery hunting season for white-tailed and sika deer opens statewide this Friday, September 8 and ends January 31, 2024.

Archers may also use vertical longbows and vertical recurve bows February 1-3, 2024 during the second annual Primitive Deer Hunt Days.

“Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Maryland and archery season is a great reason for many to get outside,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Acting Director Karina Stonesifer said. “The season provides our hunters with the first of many opportunities to contribute to the management of our state’s deer population.”

For the 2023-24 deer season, the statewide bag limit for white-tailed bucks is two deer (no more than one per weapon season).

A Maryland buck in the tall grass. photo by Patricia Neal

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, comprising Western Maryland, 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.

New for the 2023-24 hunting season, if hunters intend to pursue sika deer, they must purchase a sika hunting stamp in addition to the archery stamp. Sika stamps may be purchased on the department’s online licensing site COMP ASS, at a licensing agent, or by calling the department’s Licensing and Registration unit at 866344-8889.

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.

Hunters can consult the 2023-2024 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping for additional information on Sunday hunting and other deer hunting opportunities.

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 who are 16 or younger are exempt from this restriction. Hunting safety

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 should report deer taken with a long, compound, or recurve bow as harvested with a vertical bow when checking in their deer. 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 to food banks. A state tax credit offers hunters an incentive for donated deer. Other local or state programs are also available so hunters should check with their deer processors.