Crossbow Deer Hunting Opens September 30 - Southern Maryland Headline News

Crossbow Deer Hunting Opens September 30

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Heritage Services (WHS) announced that crossbow hunting will be permitted during Maryland’s Deer Archery Season from Saturday, September 30 through Saturday, October 14, and again between Friday, January 15 and Sunday, January 31.

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 working safety. Arrows and bolts used for deer hunting must have sharpened broadheads with a cutting surface with a minimum width of 7/8-inch. A cocked crossbow may not be transported in a vehicle.

Any deer taken with a crossbow or vertical bow must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by calling 1-888-800-0121 or online at . Deer taken with crossbows will be registered as taken with a crossbow while those taken with straight limb, recurve or compound bows will be registered as taken with vertical bows, allowing DNR biologists to accurately break down the harvest based on the type of equipment used. This will allow DNR to verify any influence of crossbows on deer management.

New and improved “Field Tags” and “Butcher/Taxidermy Tags” are located between pages 28 and 29 of the 2006-2007 Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland. This season’s tags provide a superior writing surface material and a more tear-resistant hole. DNR made these changes in response to suggestions from the Maryland hunting public. Unused “Field Tags” and “Butcher/Taxidermy Tags” from last season are still valid for tagging deer and turkey during the coming hunting seasons.

Seventeen sika deer and 899 white-tailed deer were taken during the 2005-2006 four-week crossbow season. During this same four-week period, 114 sika deer and 3365 white-tailed deer were taken with vertical bows. The top counties for the four-week crossbow season were: Baltimore (134), Montgomery (93), Harford (82), Washington (80), Howard (61), Garrett (56), Carroll (42), Charles (41), Anne Arundel (36), and Allegany (36).

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

* Keep in mind that the maximum effective range is 40 yards.

* Know exactly where the bolt will hit before you pull the trigger (practice, practice, practice).

* Never walk or climb a tree with a crossbow cocked and loaded with a bolt.

* Always use manufacturer recommended bolt 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 bolt in your quiver to uncock the crossbow at the end of the hunt by shooting the bolt into soft ground.

Maryland’s Crossbow Deer Hunting Season is one component of DNR deer management activities. Archery hunting combined with firearm and muzzleloader deer hunting provides outdoor recreation for over 74,000 Maryland residents while managing white-tailed deer and sika deer populations. Each year deer hunting contributes over $150 million to Maryland’s economy.

Complete bag limits, season dates and bow hunting regulations can be found at the DNR website at The 2006-2007 Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland, issued with each hunting license, also contains detailed information about all of the state’s hunting seasons.

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