Hunting Licenses

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Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits

Full Season Hunting Licenses are valid from the day they are issued through the next July 31. A hunting license year is August 1 through the next July 31.

Be aware that a hunting license holder is required to have a printed paper copy or electronic copy of their hunting license in their possession while hunting.

Hunter Education and Safety Requirement

To hunt or purchase a hunting license state law requires:

  • Presentation of a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunting Safety (required of all first time hunters), or
  • Certification that you held a hunting license issued prior to July 1, 1977, or
  • Certification that you hunted on private property prior to July 1, 1977, and were legally exempt from purchasing a hunting license, or
  • Certification that you are purchasing a nonresident 3-day license and will only hunt waterfowl.

Exceptions: Compliance with the Hunter Education and Safety Requirement does not apply to those who are hunting only waterfowl with a Nonresident 3-day Waterfowl and Small Game License and those shooting under a Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License who are not hunting wild or free-flying captive-raised mallards (see Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License below).

The Natural Resources Police, Safety Education and Outreach Unit provides the Hunter Education Course required to obtain the Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety. In addition to traditional classroom courses, an online course is available for those age 13 and older that requires a mandatory one day Hunter Education Field Day Workshop.

Information about Hunter Education Courses, Boating Safety Education Courses and Trapper Education is available from the Maryland Natural Resources Police, Safety Education and Outreach Unit, 305 Marine Academy Drive, Suite 1, Stevensville, MD 21666, 410-643-8502 and by visiting the website at dnr.maryland.gov/nrp/Pages/default.aspx

Note: RESIDENT Junior Hunters (under 16 years of age) are entitled to a one-time FREE annual hunting license, Archery, Sika and Muzzleloader Stamps upon successful completion of a Hunter Education Course. Please email or fax the form provided by the course instructor (include a daytime phone number) to any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers). A Maryland resident who completes a Hunter Education Course in another state may contact a Licensing Service Center for the required application form.

Full Season Hunting Licenses

A Full Season Hunting License allows a person to hunt all legal game birds and mammals that are in season. There are additional stamps or permits required for hunting deer, migratory game birds, furbearers and bear (see each game section for its requirements).

An Apprentice Hunting License is available for first time hunters or junior hunters who are not ready for a Regular Hunting License. The Apprentice Hunting License is available to both residents and nonresidents. Adults may purchase the Apprentice Hunting License one time and only if they have never held a Maryland hunting license in the past. Junior hunters may purchase the license annually through age 16. Junior hunters must take the required online education course each year before purchasing the Apprentice Hunting License.

Resident Apprentice Hunting License – $15

Adult resident hunters who never held a Maryland hunting License may purchase this license one time. Junior resident hunters may purchase the license annually through age 16. Junior hunters must take the required online education course each year before purchasing the Apprentice Hunting License.

Use of an Apprentice Hunting License requires the following:

  • Successful completion of a short, online hunter safety course is required prior to purchasing this license.
  • Appropriate stamps are required to hunt migratory birds (federal and state duck stamps) and deer (Archery, Sika and Muzzleloader Stamps).
  • The apprentice hunter must be accompanied and directly supervised by a Maryland resident at least 18 years old who possesses a valid Maryland non-apprentice hunting license.
  • The apprentice and mentor hunter must hunt in close proximity so that the mentor can take immediate control of the apprentice hunter’s hunting device.
  • The apprentice hunter can hunt unaccompanied if the full hunter safety course was taken and a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunting Safety was acquired.

Nonresident Apprentice Hunting License – $40

Adult nonresident hunters who never held a Maryland hunting License may purchase this license one time. Junior nonresident hunters may purchase the license annually through age 16. Junior hunters must take the required online education course each year before purchasing the Apprentice Hunting License.

Resident Regular Hunting License – $35

For Maryland residents age 16 to 64.

Resident Junior Hunting License – $15

For Maryland residents under 16 years of age. Written permission of parent or guardian is required.

Resident Senior Hunting License – $5

For Maryland residents age 65 and above. It may be purchased in the calendar year in which a resident attains the age of 65.

Senior Lifetime Consolidated License

This license is no longer available for purchase. Persons who already hold this license are “grandfathered” and:

  • Do not need to purchase the Senior Hunting License, Archery or Muzzleloader Stamps.
  • Must buy a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp to hunt a bonus antlered deer.
  • Must purchase a Sika Deer Stamp to hunt sika deer.
  • Must purchase a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp to hunt migratory game birds.
  • Must obtain a Free Public Hunting Permit (where required).
  • Must purchase a Furbearer Permit to hunt or chase furbearers.
  • Hunters must keep a record of their confirmation numbers by using the Big Game Harvest Record provided with their license, creating their own record or storing a record electronically on their mobile device. Proof of harvest must be furnished upon request. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking (Deer & Turkey Tagging & Checking).
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Nonresident Hunting License – $160

For hunters who are not Maryland residents and are age 16 to 64.

Nonresident Junior Hunting License – $80

For hunters who are not Maryland residents and are under 16 years of age. Written permission of parent or guardian is required.

Nonresident Senior Hunting License – $65

For hunters who are not Maryland residents and are age 65 or older. This license may be purchased in the calendar year in which a nonresident attains the age of 65.

Other Hunting Licenses

Nonresident 3-Day Waterfowl and Small Game License – $65

  • This license allows nonresidents of Maryland to hunt all legal game in season except deer, bear and turkey for three consecutive legal hunting days.
  • A Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp is required to hunt migratory game birds with this license.
  • A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is required to hunt waterfowl and coots with this license.
  • A Furbearer Permit is required to hunt, chase or trap furbearers with a Nonresident 3-Day Waterfowl and Small Game License.
  • The Hunter Education and Safety Requirement does not apply to hunting only wild waterfowl with this license.

Nonresident Trapping License – $50

This license is required for nonresidents to trap furbearers (Furbearer Hunting & Trapping) in Maryland in addition to a Nonresident Hunting License and an Individual Furbearer Permit.

Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License – $6

This license allows a person to shoot captive-raised game birds on a state-licensed Regulated Shooting Area only.

  • A Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License and the purchase of a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp allows a person to shoot tower-released, flighted mallards on a Regulated Shooting Area.
  • This license cannot be used to hunt wild or free-flying, captive-raised waterfowl on a Regulated Shooting Area.
  • To hunt free-flying, captive-raised mallard ducks or wild waterfowl on a state-licensed Regulated Shooting Area a hunter must possess a Maryland hunting license, the printed validation showing proof of purchase of the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and Harvest Information Program certification and a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp or its proof of purchase (if over the age of 15).
  • A Regulated Shooting Area Hunting License is not required if you have a valid Full Season Hunting License.
  • Hunters on Regulated Shooting Areas may shoot captive-raised game birds on Sundays.

Stationary Blind and Blind Site License – $20

A Stationary Blind and Blind Site License allows a person to have an offshore waterfowl blind or blind site in Maryland public waters. For Maryland Offshore Waterfowl Hunting information see: dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/hunt_trap/offshore_intro.aspx.

Hunting Stamps

Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp at National Wildlife Refuges, U.S. Post Offices and at duckstamp.com – $25

From the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ OR any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers) OR a Sport License agent – $27

A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (federal duck stamp) is required of all hunters 16 years of age or older to hunt brant, coots, ducks and geese (Migratory Game Bird Hunting).

Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp – $15

A Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp is required of all hunters to hunt all migratory game birds in Maryland. The Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp is no longer produced as an actual stamp. Hunters must possess a printed validation showing proof of purchase while hunting migratory game birds.

Resident Archery Stamp – $6

Nonresident Archery Stamp – $25

An Archery Stamp is required to hunt deer during the Archery Season (Deer Seasons & Bag Limits).

Resident Muzzleloader Stamp – $6

Nonresident Muzzleloader Stamp – $25

A Muzzleloader Stamp is required to hunt deer during the Muzzleloader Season (Deer Seasons & Bag Limits).

NOTE: Exceptions to the Archery and Muzzleloader Stamp requirements: Hunters entitled to hunt without a license and hunters with a Senior Lifetime Consolidated License do not need to purchase an Archery or Muzzleloader Stamp.

Resident Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp – $10

Nonresident Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp – $25

A Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp allows hunting license holders to take one additional antlered white-tailed deer during one of the hunting seasons (Archery, Muzzleloader or Firearms), (Deer Seasons & Bag Limits).

NEW – Resident Sika Deer Stamp – $10

Nonresident Sika Deer Stamp – $25

An annual Sika Deer Stamp is required to hunt sika deer during any of the deer hunting seasons.

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Hunting Permits

Archery Hunting Permit for the Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs – FREE

Issued in cooperation of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service and the City of Baltimore Bureau of Water and Wastewater. Allows archery hunting only on the Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs (Public Hunting Lands).

Free Public Hunting Permit – FREE

Replaces the former Central and Southern

Region Public Hunting Permits. This permit

is required for certain public hunting areas in Maryland. To obtain this free permit go to the COMPASS online license portal compass.dnr.maryland.gov. Contact either the Gwynnbrook Wildlife Office at 410-356-9272 or the Myrtle Grove Wildlife Office at 301-743-5161 for more information or other options for obtaining the permit.

Individual Furbearer Permit – $5

Group Furbearer Permit – $50

A Furbearer Permit is required to hunt, chase or trap any furbearer (Furbearer Hunting & Trapping).

Managed Hunt Permit – N/A

The Managed Hunt Permit is no longer required to hunt any Department of Natural Resources properties and is not available for purchase.

Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season Permit – $5

A Maryland Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season Permit is required to participate in the Light Goose Conservation Order Season (Migratory Game Bird Seasons & Limits).

Hunting Fees

Black Bear Hunt Lottery Application Fee – $15

A Black Bear Hunting Permit is only available through the Maryland Black Bear Lottery process. The lottery application fee is non-refundable (Black Bear Hunting).

New! Nonresidents Attending College in Maryland

Nonresidents of Maryland who attend college in Maryland may purchase a hunting license at a resident rate upon providing proof of enrollment in a Maryland College. In order to complete this purchase you must apply directly to one of the Department’s regional licensing and registration services centers (Addresses & Phone Numbers).

Purple Heart Recipients

Maryland residents who were recipients of the Purple Heart Award are eligible for a discounted hunting license and any associated stamps and permits. This year’s discounted rate is 50 percent of the regular price of the license or stamp. These discounted hunting licenses and stamps can only be purchased in person by appointment only at a Licensing and Registration Service Center (Addresses & Phone Numbers). Documentation proving the Purple Heart Award was received by the hunter must be provided at the time of purchase. The Purple Heart medal does not suffice as proof of receiving the award. All other requirements apply for obtaining a hunting license and stamps.

Complimentary DAV-POW Hunting Licenses

A Complimentary Lifetime Hunting License is available to Maryland residents certified as a former prisoner of war or a 100 percent service-connected disabled American veteran (Veterans Administration documentation is required).

  • This free lifetime hunting license is available by appointment only at Licensing and Registration Service Centers (Addresses & Phone Numbers).
  • This license also includes free, lifetime Archery Stamps, Muzzleloader Stamps, Sika Deer Stamps, and Furbearer Permits.
  • The Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp and Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp are required to be purchased annually and are not included with this license.
  • Deer and turkey hunters must keep a record of their confirmation numbers by using the Big Game Harvest Record provided with their license, creating their own record or storing a record electronically on their mobile device. Proof of harvest must be furnished upon request. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking (Deer & Turkey Tagging & Checking).

Members of the Armed Forces Hunting in Maryland

Active duty members of the Armed Forces stationed in Maryland:

  • are considered residents of Maryland.
  • must comply with the Hunter Education and Safety Requirement (Hunting Licenses).
  • must purchase a Resident Hunting License and all required stamps and permits before hunting, unless they are on official leave and possess a copy of their official leave orders.
  • while hunting during official leave in Maryland with a copy of their official leave orders:
    • do not need to purchase a hunting license or deer stamps.
    • must purchase a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp, a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp and a Furbearer Permit to pursue migratory game birds and furbearers.

Any nonresident serving in the Armed Forces who is on leave in Maryland, but not stationed in Maryland, must purchase a Nonresident Hunting License before hunting.

Who May Hunt Without a Hunting License

All Maryland hunters must comply with the Hunter Education and Safety Requirement (Hunting Licenses).

You are not required to possess a Maryland hunting license if you are:

  • a resident of Maryland (or their spouse) who owns property and who hunts only on that property. This also applies to:
    • The landowner’s children and grandchildren if they are under the age of 16.
    • The landowner’s children and grandchildren, and the spouse of the children or grandchildren, regardless of age, if the child, grandchild, or their spouse lives on the property, or has worked on the property for at least 30 days during the preceding 12 months, or manages the property.(Each person must individually qualify under these criteria. To qualify for this exemption, a landowner does not need to live on the property but must be able to prove ownership.)
  • A person (or their spouse) who holds land under lease for agricultural purposes (or a sharecropper), and lives on this farmland, and hunts only on this farmland. This also applies to:
    • The lessee’s children and grandchildren if they are under the age of 16.
    • The lessee’s children and grandchildren, and their spouses, if the child, grandchild, or spouse of the child or grandchild, lives on the property, or has worked on the property for at least 30 days during the preceding 12 months, or manages the property.
  • A nonresident (or their spouse) who owns a contiguous piece of farmland that is in both Virginia and Maryland and the person’s primary residence is on the Virginia portion of the property. Thus, they may hunt on the Maryland portion of the property without a Maryland hunting license. This also applies to the owner’s children and grandchildren if they are under the age of 16.
  • A Maryland resident serving in the Armed Forces who is on official leave in Maryland (whether stationed in Maryland or outside Maryland) and possesses a copy of official leave orders while hunting.
  • A person serving in the Armed Forces who has a service-connected disability and possesses a valid military identification while hunting.
  • A person who is a retired former member of the Armed Services and hunting on farmland that is in active farming status and owned by the person or the person’s spouse, child, child’s spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, niece or nephew. A retired former armed forces member who hunts on farmland without a hunting license must possess the retired military identification card and written permission from the owner of the farm property specifying the relationship of the person to the owner of the property.
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Be aware that hunters not required to have a license:

  • must obtain a free DNRid number available through the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/ OR any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Hunting Regulations) OR a Sport License agent.
  • must keep a record of their deer and turkey confirmation numbers by using the Big Game Harvest Record provided with their license, creating their own record or storing a record electronically on their mobile device. Proof of harvest must be furnished upon request. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking (Deer & Turkey Tagging & Checking).
  • must have a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp to hunt migratory game birds.
  • must possess the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp to hunt waterfowl and coots.
  • must obtain a Furbearer Permit to hunt, trap or chase any furbearer.
  • are not required to purchase Archery Deer Stamps, Sika Deer Stamps, Muzzleloader Deer Stamps or Bonus Antlered Deer Stamps.

Nonresidents of Maryland who own property in the state and hunt on that property are required to purchase a Nonresident Hunting License and all other appropriate stamps and permits.

Individuals who are exempt from Maryland hunting license requirements are subject to all state and federal laws and regulations relative to hunting and trapping.

Universal Disability Pass

Hunters with mobility impairments may obtain a free Universal Disability Pass that will allow them to hunt from a vehicle in designated areas. Applications are available from the website dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Documents/UDisabilityPass.pdf. See Public Hunting Lands for areas that have provisions for the mobility impaired. Please contact each area for their specific conditions.

Purchasing Your Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits

A DNRid number is required to obtain hunting and trapping licenses, stamps and permits.

A DNRid Card and number, hunting licenses, stamps, permits and Big Game Harvest Records are available through:

  • COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov.
  • Licensing and Registration Service Centers by appointment only– Hours, addresses and phone numbers are listed on Hunting Regulations.
  • Sport License Agents– A list of agents is available at: dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/licensing.aspx and your local Licensing and Registration Service Center can provide the location for Sport License agents near you.

You may obtain a hunting license 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the COMPASS portal at compass.dnr.maryland.gov. You may print your license and receipt at the end of your purchase. A confirmation email will be provided shortly after purchase. You may print or reprint your license then and do so any time through the COMPASS portal. The license immediately authorizes your participation in all purchased activities, including deer and turkey hunting. Supporting documents for some privileges will be mailed. Payment can be made by Visa, Master Card or Discover.

You may obtain a Hunting License Application by calling a Licensing and Registration Service Center or from the website: https://dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/dnrforms.aspx. Complete all applicable sections and mail it with the appropriate fee to any Licensing and Registration Service Center (Hunting Regulations).

Lost or damaged hunting licenses can be reprinted for free. Call any Licensing and Registration Service Center , email [email protected] or log into your account at compass.dnr.maryland.gov.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>