Hunting In Maryland

If you’ve been dreaming about delving into the world of hunting, then let me take you on a little adventure called “Hunting in Maryland.”

Now, you might be thinking, “Maryland? Really?”.

Maryland might not be the first state that springs to mind when you think of hunting, but let me tell you, it’s got its own special charm that makes it stand out from the crowd. It has vast selections of hunting species with their respective huntable population and plenty of public hunting lands for hunters to enjoy the thrill of chasing their desired quarrel.

So, ready to explore hunting in a state that dances to its own tune? Click away, and dive into the unique and rewarding world of hunting in Maryland.

Maryland Hunting Season

In Maryland, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages hunting regulations like hunting seasons. It aims to promote sustainable hunting practices while providing ample opportunities for hunters.

Here’s the rundown of the general hunting seasons in the state:

Deer HuntingArchery: Early September to late November
Firearms: Late November to mid-December
Muzzleloader: Late October & Mid- to late December
Black Bear Hunting
lottery-based permit
Late October
Wild Turkey HuntingFall Season: Late October to early November
Winter Season: Weekends of Mid-January
Spring Season: Mid-April to late May
Waterfowl HuntingDuck: Early October to mid-January
Goose: Early November to late January
Upland Bird HuntingCrow: Mid-August to mid-March
Grouse: Early October to late January
Pheasant: Early November to late February
Quail: Early November to mid-January
Small Game HuntingRabbit: Early November to late February
Squirrel: Early September to late February
Note: These seasons might vary yearly. Make sure to verify the dates with the Maryland DNR before heading afield.

Thanks to the state’s conservation efforts and diverse landscapes, ample opportunities are presented for wildlife to grow their population and for hunters to enjoy these hunts.

Here are the popular hunting game species in Maryland:

Deer Hunting

If you’re considering hunting deer in Maryland, then you’re making the right choice. With a healthy and robust population of white-tailed deer, it’s a fantastic place for beginners and seasoned hunters alike.

The state’s diverse landscapes offer a unique experience for every hunt. From the thick forests of the Appalachians to the marshy lowlands of the Chesapeake Bay, each hunting trip feels like a brand-new adventure.

But before you set out on your adventure, don’t forget the essentials: a valid hunting license and a bow or muzzleloader stamp (of course, you’d get the one you’ll be using).

Black Bear Hunting

Bear hunting in Maryland is an adventure like no other. The state is home to a healthy population of black bears, particularly in the western region, and offers a managed bear hunting season to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

But here’s the deal: Black bear hunting in Maryland isn’t your everyday hunting trip. It’s a bit more exclusive. Due to the need to maintain a healthy bear population, the Maryland DNR runs a lottery system for bear hunting permits.

So how does it work? The Bear Hunting Permit Lottery opens in the summer’s heart each year. Hunters like you throw their hats in the ring with a $15 application fee. Then, come early fall, the lucky winners are drawn.

If your name is drawn, you’ll need to fork over a little extra for the permit—$25 for residents and $250 for nonresident hunters.

Wild Turkey Hunting

Wild turkey hunting in Maryland is an absolute blast!

Maryland is home to a healthy population of Eastern wild turkeys. These are the largest species of wild turkeys and are well known for their cunning and elusiveness, which makes hunting them an exciting challenge.

One of the best parts about hunting turkeys in Maryland is the variety of landscapes you can explore. From the mountainous regions of Western Maryland to the coastal plains of the Eastern Shore, each offers unique hunting experiences and challenges.

What makes Maryland turkey hunting more fun is that it also offers winter hunting season for those who weren’t able to harvest their turkey during the fall.

Waterfowl Hunting

Hunting waterfowl in Maryland is as much about the experience as it is about the sport – it’s a tradition, a passion, and a unique way to experience the great outdoors.

Maryland is a hotspot for waterfowl migration on the Atlantic Flyway. The Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore, and the state’s many tidal rivers and marshlands are like a five-star hotel for our feathered friends.

And yes, you can hunt them down during their respective seasons. Here are the most commonly hunted waterfowl species in Maryland:

  1. Ducks: Mallards, black ducks, canvasbacks, pintails, teal, scaup, and wood ducks are some common duck species hunted in Maryland.
  2. Geese: Canada geese are the most well-known, but snow geese and white-fronted geese can also be found in the state.
  3. Tundra Swans: Maryland also has a tundra swan hunting season, but it is limited and requires a special permit obtained through a lottery system.

If you plan to hunt in Maryland, ensure you have a hunting license, a Migratory Game Bird Stamp, a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting, and a Conservation Stamp. Don’t forget to register with the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) as well.

Top Hunting Locations in Maryland

Maryland’s hunting destinations are as diverse and unique as the state itself. Let’s explore the top three spots that have hunters coming back season after season.

Garrett Country

First up, we’re heading west to the mountainous landscapes of Garrett County. This area is a favorite among Maryland hunters, and it’s not hard to see why. Known for its healthy population of white-tailed deer and black bears, Garrett County provides a hunting experience that’s as rich as its scenery.

But what makes Garrett County really special? It’s home to Maryland’s black bear hunt!

The bear population here is carefully managed, with hunting opportunities awarded through a lottery system. If you’re lucky enough to score a permit, you’re in for one of Maryland’s most exciting hunting experiences. Plus, the county’s dense forests are a haven for white-tailed deer, making it a prime spot for deer hunting as well.

Chesapeake Bay

Next, we’re trading mountain views for water vistas as we head to the famous Chesapeake Bay. As a key stop on the Atlantic Flyway, Chesapeake Bay is a waterfowl hunter’s dream come true. The Chesapeake Bay has it all, whether you’re after ducks, geese, or even tundra swans.

The marshes and open waters of the Bay provide vital habitats for a wide variety of waterfowl species, making it one of the best spots in the state for waterfowl hunting. The views aren’t too shabby either, with stunning sunrises over the water that make those early morning hunts totally worth it.

Eastern Shore

Lastly, we’re heading over to the Eastern Shore, a region beloved by turkey and deer hunters alike. The Eastern Shore’s diverse forest and agricultural land mix make it an ideal habitat for white-tailed deer and Eastern wild turkeys.

But the Eastern Shore isn’t just about the hunt. It’s about the experience. There’s something special about watching the sunrise over the vast fields and forests, listening to the gobble of a turkey echoing through the woods, or seeing a deer quietly emerge from the brush.

Hunting License and Permits

License Types

Like any other state, Maryland hunters must always obtain a valid hunting license before heading afield. The state offers different licenses to ensure and promote an inclusive hunting experience for aspiring state hunters.

Here’s the rundown of available licenses in Maryland:

License TypeResidentNonresident
Adult Hunting$24.50$130.00
Youth Hunting$10.50$22.50
Senior Hunting$5.00N/A
Note: To buy a hunting license in Maryland, a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunting Safety is required for those born on or after July 1, 1977. The certificate must be issued by the Department of Natural Resources or a comparable certificate from another state.

Permit Types

Aside from the hunting license, the state’s DNR also requires hunters to obtain a necessary permit or stamp. This regulation contributes to the conservation effort of wildlife managers.

Here’s the list of hunting permits issued in the state:

Permit TypeResidentNonresident
Archery Stamp$6.00$20.00
Muzzleloader Stamp$6.00$20.00
Maryland Migratory
Game Bird Stamp
Federal Duck Stamp$25.00$25.00
Bear Permit$25.00$250.00


Hunting in Maryland may not be known to hunters, but it offers a unique and thrilling experience for those who enjoy deer, bear, waterfowl, and turkey hunting. The state’s rich culture only adds to the excitement of the adventure.

Want to broaden your horizon on non-famous hunting in the US? Then, you better check our hunt-by-state guide to explore hunting opportunities in other US states.