Early muzzleloader season starts this week, then again Oct. 20-25

ANNAPOLIS — The first segment of Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season opens on Thursday, Oct. 16 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 18. In this region of the state hunters can also harvest antlerless-only deer Oct. 20-25.

As a reminder, there is a statewide bag limit for antlered deer (bucks) of one per weapon season (i.e., bow, muzzleloader and firearm seasons). Hunters in this part of Maryland (Region B) have the option to take one additional bonus buck after purchasing a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp and taking two antlerless deer.

New this year, an antler point restriction mandates that a hunter may not harvest more than two white-tailed deer, within the yearly bag limit, that have two or fewer points on each antler present. Any additional antlered deer taken within the legal seasons and bag limits must have at least three points on one antler. Junior Hunting License holders are exempt from the antler point restriction.

The early muzzleloader season is open for sika deer of either sex in the four Lower Shore counties plus Caroline and Talbot counties from Oct. 16-18, and for antlerless sika deer only from Oct. 20-25. New this year, the sika deer muzzleloader season bag limit has increased to 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.

The early muzzleloader season serves as one of many that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers from September to January each year to manage deer populations, and provide hunters with recreation and food. Complete bag limits, season dates, deer registration procedures and hunting regulations can be found on the DNR Wildlife and Heritage website and in the 2014-2015 Maryland Guide to Hunting & Trapping.

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