Firearms deer season opens Saturday

The two-week firearm deer season opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 13.

Hunters who possess a valid Maryland hunting license or are exempt from license requirements may use firearms to harvest white-tailed and sika deer during this season.

The bag limits for the season are:

Statewide: one antlered white-tailed deer.

In Region A: On private land, one antlerless deer on Dec. 12 or 13. On public land, one antlerless on Dec. 13. New this year, hunters may only take two antlerless deer total for the license year.

In Region B: Ten antlerless white-tailed deer and one bonus antlered white-tailed may be taken per year during a weapon season of the hunter’s choice (archery, muzzleloader or firearm). A hunter must first take two antlerless white-tailed deer and purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp before taking a second antlered deer.

Also new this year, an antler point restriction has been established for white-tailed deer hunting. Per license year hunters may harvest two antlered deer with two or fewer points present on each antler.

Any additional deer. taken within the legal seasons and bag limits, must have at least three points on one antler. Youth holding a Junior Hunting License are exempt from the antler point restriction.

These and other changes are in the 2014-2015 Guide to Hunting and Trapping in Maryland or online in What’s New. Complete bag limits, season dates, deer registration procedures and hunting regulations can be found on the DNR website.

DNR reminds hunters to carefully inspect all tree stands and always wear a full-body safety harness when entering, leaving or in the stand. The department strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prussic 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 urged to view the tree stand tips and safety video.

Deer hunters are encouraged to donate any extra deer they may harvest to the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry program.

The deer are processed at participating butchers and processors free of charge and the venison is then given to local food banks.

Hunters with questions may contact the Wildlife & Heritage Service at 410-260-8540.

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