For culling, food security, firearm deer hunting in Md. returns this weekend

For Maryland hunters using firearms, deer hunting season resumes this weekend in most parts of the state.

In a news release, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources said hunting season will be open Jan. 6-7  in “Deer Management Region B,” which includes all but the westernmost counties in the state.

Hunters in the state with a valid license will be allowed to use firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer for food during this season.

“Beyond putting an extra deer in the freezer, the harvest favors antlerless deer this time of year and contributes to the management of a healthy deer population in Region B,” said Paul Peditto, director for DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

In addition to helping cull the state’s deer population, participating hunters can receive a state tax credit if they donate the deer carcass to charity.

Groups like Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry help facilitate the processing of donated carcasses to help keep local food pantries full.

“A lot of hunters don’t realize this, but in about 40 different states, they have the opportunity to donate a deer — a legally harvested and tagged and field-dressed deer — to a participating butcher shop,” said Josh Wilson, the group’s executive director.

Hunting is extended to Jan. 8 for private and designated public properties in Cecil and St. Mary’s counties, as well as private properties in Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Washington (Zone 1) and Worcester counties.

For those in Kent and Montgomery counties, shooting hours end at 10:30 a.m.

The DNR said the previous firearm hunting season that ended on Dec. 10 resulted in 29,124 deer being harvested, which was a 10% increase from the previous year.

As previously, hunters will have an ‘antler-point restriction’, which means hunters may only harvest one white-tailed deer that has less than three points on one antler within the yearly bag limit.

Licensed junior hunters and apprentice license holders, 16 years of age or younger, are exempt from this restriction, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

For more information, including bag limits, safety and other regulations, visit DNR’s 2022-2023 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.

WTOP’s Valerie Bonk and John Domen contributed to this story.

Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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