A new regulation this year allows any bow hunter to use "draw-lock" devices during the crossbow hunting dates. A "draw-lock" allows a bowstring of a vertical bow to be drawn and held until the hunter chooses to release the string. This device also may be used during any open season by anyone who is authorized by special permit to use a crossbow.
Crossbow deer hunting will be permitted from Oct. 115 and Jan. 1531. Crossbows also are legal for all hunters during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons. Any deer taken with a crossbow will count toward the hunter's appropriate regional bow bag limit.
Crossbow hunters and vertical bow (straight limb, recurve, compound) hunters must possess a bow stamp with a valid hunting license in order to hunt deer during Maryland's bow season.
All bow hunters must purchase a muzzleloader stamp in order to hunt with a bow (vertical or crossbow) during the muzzleloader deer season. DNR records indicate that 50,234 Maryland residents and 7,250 nonresidents purchased bow stamps during the 2003-04 bow season.
Hunters are reminded that all deer must be checked into a DNR official deer and turkey checking station either within the county of harvest or in an adjacent county no later than 24 hours after the kill.
Deer taken with a straight limb bow, recurve bow or compound bow will be registered as taken with a vertical bow. Deer taken with a crossbow will be recorded as taken with a crossbow. This will allow DNR biologists to accurately determine the influence of crossbows on Maryland's deer management.
Maryland's archery deer hunting season is part of the Maryland DNR deer management project. Archery hunting, combined with firearm and muzzleloader deer hunting, provides outdoor recreation for more than 80,000 Maryland residents, manages white-tailed deer and sika deer populations and contributes more than $150 million annually to Maryland's economy.
Complete bag limits, season dates and bow hunting regulations may be found at the DNR Web site, www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide. The Hunting & Trapping In Maryland 2004-2005 Guide, issued with each hunting license, also contains detailed information about all of Maryland's hunting seasons.