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ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminded hunters today that the deer hunting with crossbows is legal during Maryland’s Archery Season from Oct. 1-15 and Jan. 15-31.

All crossbow hunters must possess a resident or nonresident hunting license and a resident or nonresident Bow Stamp. Any white-tailed deer or sika deer taken with a crossbow will count toward the appropriate Regional Bow Bag Limit. All bow-hunting regulations apply to crossbow hunters.

In addition, crossbows must have a minimum draw of 75 pounds and have a working safety. Arrows used for deer hunting must have sharpened broadhead with a cutting surface with a minimum width of 7/8 inch. A cocked crossbow may not be transported in a vehicle whether unloaded or loaded with an arrow.

Any deer taken with a crossbow or vertical bow must be registered at a DNR Official Deer & Turkey Check Station. Deer taken with crossbows will be registered as taken with a crossbow. Deer taken with straight limb, recurve or compound bows will be registered as taken with vertical bows. Maryland DNR deer biologists will be able to accurately record the harvest of deer taken crossbows versus vertical bows. This will allow DNR to verify the influence of crossbows on deer management.

Seventeen sika deer and 314 white-tailed deer were taken during the 2003-2004 four-week crossbow season. During this same 4-week period, 123 sika deer and 3,654 white-tailed deer were taken with vertical bows. The top ten counties for the four-week crossbow season were: Baltimore, 48; Frederick, 31; Dorchester, 28; Harford, 27; Howard, 27; Carroll, 26; Garrett, 23; Washington, 23; Kent, 18; Prince George’s, 12.

Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities. In order to maintain this safety record, DNR reminds crossbow hunters to follow these safety guidelines:

Maximum effective range is 40 yards.
Know exactly where the arrow will hit before you pull the trigger (practice, practice, practice).
Never walk or climb a tree with a crossbow cocked and loaded with an arrow.
Always use manufacturer recommended arrow weights.
Practice with the same type of broadhead you plan to hunt with.
Keep your fingers and thumb down on the crossbow forearm out of the path of travel for the string and cables.
Always identify your target and background before you shoot.
Never shoot if there is any doubt about the shot.
Never shoot if the animal is alert.
Carry a field point tipped arrow in your quiver to uncock the crossbow at the end of the hunt by shooting the arrow into soft ground.
Maryland Crossbow 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 over 80,000 Maryland residents, manages white-tailed deer and sika deer populations and contributes over $150 million annually to Maryland’s economy.

Complete bag limits, season dates and bow hunting regulations can be found at the DNR website, The Hunting & Trapping in Maryland 2004-2005 Guide, issued with each hunting license, also contains detailed information about all of Maryland’s hunting seasons.

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