Crossbow Deer Hunting Opens October 1

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminded hunters today that deer hunting with crossbows is open during Maryland’s Archery Season from Oct. 1-15, 2005 and Jan. 16-31, 2006.

All crossbow hunters must possess a Resident or Nonresident Hunting License and a Resident or Nonresident Bow Stamp. Any white-tailed deer or sika deer taken with a crossbow will count toward the appropriate Regional Bow Bag Limit. All bow-hunting regulations apply to crossbow hunters.

In addition, crossbows must have a minimum draw of 75 pounds and have a functioning trigger safety. Arrows used for deer hunting must have a sharpened broadhead with a minimum 7/8- inch cutting surface. A cocked crossbow may not be transported in a vehicle and should never be hauled into or out of a tree-stand.

Deer taken with crossbows will be registered as taken with a crossbow. Deer taken with straight limb, recurve or compound bows will be registered as taken with vertical bows. Maryland DNR deer biologists will be able to accurately analyze the harvest of deer taken with crossbows and vertical bows to study the impact of archery equipment on deer populations.

NEW THIS YEAR: successful Maryland deer hunters will now register their deer by calling 1-888-800-0121 or online at Hunters are required to immediately attach a completed field tag to the head of the deer and complete the Maryland Big Game Harvest Record provided with the hunting license. Hunters will receive a confirmation number when registering the deer. All documents must be recorded in ink. Complete instructions for the new check-in process are located on pages 26 – 27 of the 2005-2006 Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland or at:

Seven sika deer and 344 white-tailed deer were taken during the 2004-2005 four-week crossbow season. During this same four-week period, 143 sika deer and 4,114 white-tailed deer were taken with vertical bows. The top counties for the four week crossbow season were: Baltimore- 39; Harford- 36; Frederick- 31; Allegany- 26; Washington- 26; Montgomery- 25; Prince George’s- 22; Charles-17; Anne Arundel- 16; Garrett- 12; Howard- 12.

Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities. In order to maintain this safety record, DNR reminds crossbow hunters to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Maximum effective range is 40 yards.
  • Know exactly where the arrow will hit before you pull the trigger (practice, practice, practice).
  • Never walk or climb a tree with a crossbow cocked and loaded with an arrow.
  • Always use manufacturer recommended arrow weights.
  • Practice with the same type of broadhead you plan to hunt with.
  • Keep your fingers and thumb down on the crossbow forearm out of the path of travel for the string and cables.
  • Always identify your target and background before you shoot.
  • Never shoot if there is any doubt about the shot.
  • Never shoot if the animal is alert.
  • Carry a field point tipped arrow in your quiver to uncock the crossbow at the end of the hunt by shooting the arrow into soft ground.
Maryland Crossbow Deer Hunting Season is part of the Maryland DNR Deer Management Project. Archery hunting combined with firearm and muzzleloader deer hunting, provides outdoor recreation for over 80,000 Maryland residents, manages white-tailed deer and sika deer populations and contributes over $150 million annually to Maryland’s economy.

Complete bag limits, season dates and bow hunting regulations can be found at the DNR website, The Hunting & Trapping in Maryland 2005-2006 Guide, issued with each hunting license, also contains detailed information about all of Maryland’s hunting seasons.

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