A final opportunity of the 2021-22 deer season, the Primitive Deer Hunt, runs Feb. 1-3 statewide for hunters with a valid hunting license as well as those exempt from the hunting license requirement. Primitive bows or muzzleloaders can be used to hunt sika and white-tailed deer.
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.
Any deer harvested during Primitive Hunt Days counts against the hunter’s 2021-22 archery or muzzleloader bag limit for antlered and antlerless deer. 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 Primitive Deer Hunt provides deer hunters with one last opportunity to enjoy their favorite pastime this winter,” says Paul Peditto, Wildlife and Heritage Service director. “Offering the season in February allows deer hunters to challenge themselves with more difficult hunting conditions while using low-tech hunting devices, much like our predecessors did.”
During Primitive Deer Hunt days, Maryland requires deer hunters and their companions to wear daylight fluorescent orange or daylight fluorescent pink in one clothing item. Caps of solid fluorescent daylight orange or pink or a vest or jacket containing back and front panels of at least 250 square inches of fluorescent daylight orange or pink can be worn, or an outer garment of camouflage daylight fluorescent orange or pink worn above the waist and containing at least 50% daylight fluorescent color.
Hunters are advised to carefully inspect all tree stands and always wear a full-body safety harness while in the stand or while climbing in or out. The DNR strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prusik knot, attached to a line secured above the stand that allows the hunter to be safely tethered to the tree as soon as they leave the ground.
Hunters are encouraged to help others by donating deer taken in Maryland. A state tax credit offers hunters an incentive for donated deer. Other local or state programs are also available; hunters should check with their deer processors.