Early Muzzleloader Deer Season Opens This Week

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that Maryland’s Muzzleloader Deer Season opens this week on the 19th.

Region A’s Total Muzzleloader Season bag limit is two white-tailed deer (one antlered and one antlerless); however only one deer may be taken during the October Muzzleloader Season (October 19 – 21, 2006). One either sex deer may be taken on private lands or one antlered deer may be taken on public lands.

Region B’s Total Muzzleloader Deer Season bag limit is two antlered white-tailed deer and 10 white-tailed antlerless deer. Only one antlered deer may be taken during the October 19 – 21 muzzleloader season segment. Only antlerless deer may be taken with a muzzleloader from October 23 through October 28. Muzzleloader hunters may take up to 10 antlerless deer combined for the both October segments.

The sika deer muzzleloader season is open in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, and Wicomico and Worcester counties from October 19 through 21. Sika deer hunting is now open in Caroline and Worcester counties since sika deer sightings have increased in both counties. The sika deer bag limit is one sika deer (antlered or antlerless). An antlered sika deer is a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline. Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties are closed for sika deer hunting during the October 23 – 28 muzzleloader season segment.

Successful Maryland deer hunters will register their deer by calling 1-888-800-0121 or by visiting http://www.gamecheck.dnr.state.md.us/. Hunters must immediately attach a completed Field Tag on the deer’s head and record the harvest on their Maryland Big Game Harvest Record portion of their hunting license before moving the deer from place of harvest. Both forms must be completed in ink. Hunters will receive a confirmation number to be recorded on the Big Game Harvest Record. Detailed instructions for this process are located on pages 28 – 29 of The Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland 2006-2007.

New and improved “Field Tags” and “Butcher/Taxidermy Tags” are located on pages 28 and 29 of The Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland 2006-2007. This season’s tags provide an improved 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.

Successful Junior Deer Hunters (age 16 and under) are eligible to receive a “Junior Hunter Game Certificate” from designated Junior Hunter Certificate Agents. Local participating businesses can be found on page 52 of The Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland 2006-2007 for the local participating business. Visit the local agent and receive an attractive certificate commemorating the bagging of any deer or turkey.

Bow hunters are reminded that bow deer season is closed during the October 19 – 21 muzzleloader hunting segment. Bow hunters may hunt with a bow on these days, but any deer taken with a bow must be checked against their muzzleloader bag limit. Bow hunters must possess a muzzleloader stamp if they choose to hunt with a bow between October 19 – 21.

Bow season remains open during the Region B antlerless-only muzzleloader hunting segment (October 23 – 28). Bow hunters must check any deer taken during these dates against the bow bag limit.

The 2005-06 top ten Maryland counties for total muzzleloader white-tailed deer harvest were as follows: Washington (2003); Frederick (1599); Baltimore (1209); Charles (1062); Garrett (1017); Harford (994); Worcester (976); Carroll (952); Montgomery (921); and Kent (867).

Maryland’s Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Season is one component of DNR’s deer management project. Muzzleloader deer hunting, combined with archery and firearm deer hunting, manages white-tailed deer and sika deer populations, provides outdoor recreation for 74,000 Maryland citizens and contributes over $150 million to the state’s economy.

Complete bag limits, season dates, new deer registration procedures and other deer hunting information can be found at the DNR website http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/. The Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland 2006-2007, issued with each hunting license, contains detailed information about all Maryland’s hunting seasons.

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