Deer in Spring Landscape

Wildlife Permits & Licenses

The Wildlife and Heritage Service regulates many activities, both hunting and non-hunting, that affect Maryland's wildlife or rare, threatened and endangered species, both animals and plants. For a review of the types of permits that may be required, check out Wildlife & Plant Permits.

There are also some circumstances when coping with nuisance animals where Wildlife Damage Permits may be needed. For example, if deer or resident geese are causing extensive crop damage, a landowner may require advice or assistance from our technical staff.

Hunting licenses go on sale each year on August 1 and are valid from the date of issue to July 31, except the 3-day non-resident license.

Hunter Education and Safety Requirement

To purchase a hunting license or hunt in Maryland, state law requires:

  • Presentation of a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunting Safety (required for junior licenses), 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 license and will only hunt waterfowl.
  • Note: Resident Junior hunters (under 16 years of age) will be entitled to a FREE one-year hunting license upon successful completion of a Hunter Safety and Education course. The free license may only be obtained from DNR Licensing and Registration Service Centers.

    Additional hunting permits or special licenses may be required for specific activities, such as falconry, retriever training, or blind sight licensing. For a list of these additional permits, and a review of their requirements see Hunting Permits and Licenses.