The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the state’s first Primitive Deer Hunt will be open Feb. 1-3, 2021 statewide. Hunters with a valid hunting license, or those exempt from the hunting license requirement, may use primitive bows or muzzleloaders to hunt sika and white-tailed deer during these days.
Primitive hunting devices are defined as long bows, recurve bows, flintlock, or sidelock percussion muzzleloaders. Hunters may not use compound bows, crossbows, drawlocks, and telescopic or other electronic aiming devices. However, fiber optic sights are permitted on otherwise legal primitive bows or muzzleloaders.
Hunters‘ existing 2020-21 archery and muzzleloader bag limits for antlered and antlerless deer will apply for this opportunity. An exception is in Region A, where hunters may harvest one antlerless deer that will not count against their existing archery or muzzleloader bag limits.
Hunters are encouraged to consult the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping for more information on the Primitive Deer Hunt and other deer hunting regulations.
“The newly created Primitive Deer Hunt will give deer hunters one last opportunity to enjoy their favorite pastime,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “The purposeful timing of this season allows deer hunters to experience more challenging hunting conditions using low-tech hunting devices.”
During the Primitive Deer Hunt, all deer hunters and their companions are required to wear daylight fluorescent orange or daylight fluorescent pink in one of the following manners: a cap of solid fluorescent daylight orange or pink, a vest or jacket containing back and front panels of at least 250 square inches of fluorescent daylight orange or pink, or an outer garment of camouflage daylight fluorescent orange or pink worn above the waist and containing at least 50 percent daylight fluorescent color.
Hunters are additionally reminded to use precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which includes keeping six feet away from anyone who does not reside with you and wearing a facial covering when social distancing isn’t possible.
Hunters must carefully inspect all tree-stands and always wear a full-body safety harness while in the stand and while climbing in or out. The department strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prusik 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.
Maryland hunters are encouraged to donate any extra deer they may harvest. Hunters are reminded that they may claim a tax credit of up to $50 for each legally harvested deer that is processed and donated to a nonprofit food sharing program. The maximum credit in any one tax year is $200 per hunter. The approved form to claim this credit is available online.