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Muzzleloader Deer Season Opens in Late October

First Segment of Season Starts October 20

Photo of two bucks against backdrop of fall foliage

Photo by Reinhardt Sahmel

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the first segment of Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season runs from Oct. 20-22 statewide. 

Hunters in Region B — the state’s central, southern, and eastern regions — can also use muzzleloaders from Oct. 24-29 for antlerless deer only.

The popular season typically coincides with pleasant fall weather and is one of many deer hunting opportunities offered in the state.

“The October muzzleloader hunting season is a great way to enjoy time outside during one of the most beautiful times of the year,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Beyond that, it also provides us with our first look at the health and status of our deer herd for the year.”

For the 2022-23 season, the statewide bag limit for white-tailed bucks is set at two deer. Maryland hunters in Region B have the option to take one additional bonus buck after purchasing a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp, but this stamp may not be used during the early muzzleloader season. The antlerless deer bag limits differ between deer management regions.

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.

The early muzzleloader season for sika deer of either sex is open statewide Oct. 20-22, followed by an antlerless-only sika deer season Oct. 24-29. The sika deer muzzleloader season bag limit is three deer with no more than one being antlered. An antlered sika is defined as a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline.

Season dates, bag limits, hunting regulations, and registration procedures can be found in the 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 hunters should check with their deer processor.