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All hunters in MD are required to buy Maryland hunting licenses prior to hunting any game on public state lands. Hunting licenses are regulated and issued by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to both residents of the state and non residents visiting the state. Individuals caught hunting without the proper credentials will be prosecuted for poaching and other offenses, each of which comes with steep fines and penalties. The state wildlife department issues a number of hunting licenses in various categories based on factors such as the applicant’s residency status, age, the length of time the license to hunt is valid for and the type of animal the license allows the applicant to hunt. Prior to completing the hunting license application process, hunters must first take and pass the state’s required hunter education course. Hunter education courses cover a range of important topics, such as firearm safety, hunting ethics, wildlife conservation and survival skills. Applicants must also submit required documentation proving their age, residency status and identity (a state-issued photo ID card or valid driver’s license is sufficient proof for wildlife officials). The Maryland Department of Natural Resources allows hunters to buy hunting licenses in one of four ways: online, over the phone, by mail or in person at a local Department of Natural Resources office. At the conclusion of the hunting license application process, hunters must pay the associated hunting license fee to receive their new credentials. Read the topics outlined below to find out more about how to get hunting licenses in Maryland:

  • Types of Maryland hunting licenses
  • How to get Maryland hunting licenses
  • Hunting education courses in Maryland
  • Replacing Maryland hunting licenses

What types of hunting licenses are available in Maryland?

Several hunting licenses are offered to both residents and non residents of the state. Prior to completing the hunting license application process, applicants should make sure they have completed the hunter education course requirements laid out by the state. Additionally, applicants should know which type of license they need. Hunting licenses are categorized in Maryland by factors such as the applicant’s residency status, age, the type of animal the applicant plans to hunt and the length of the hunting license’s validity.

The available types of hunting licenses in Maryland include annual residential hunting licenses, annual non resident hunting licenses, junior licenses (for both residents and non residents) and senior licenses (for both residents and non residents). Additional license options include three-day small game hunting licenses and a variety of hunting stamps, such as migratory game bird stamps, archery stamps, muzzleloader stamps and bonus antlered deer stamps.

Fees for Maryland hunting licenses vary depending on the length of the license’s validity as well as the applicant’s residency status and age. Hunting license fees must be paid in full at the same time the hunting license application is submitted, prior to the applicant receiving the credentials.

How do I purchase hunting licenses in Maryland?

Applicants for hunting licenses in Maryland have a number of options for buying hunting licenses through the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Before buying hunting licenses though, hunters must first meet all the requirements set by the wildlife department. Requirements include passing a hunter education course in addition to submitting required documentation to wildlife officials (i.e. proof of identity, proof of age, proof of residency, etc.). The Department of Natural Resources offers four options for buying hunting licenses:

  • Online
  • In person
  • By phone
  • By mail

To buy hunting licenses online, visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources online COMPASS service. Online applicants must complete the associated form and provide personal information such as their name, date of birth, address and Social Security Number. Applicants can also buy hunting licenses over the phone by calling the Department of Natural Resources license purchase hotline. To buy hunting licenses by mail, print and complete a hunting license application and mail it, along with the appropriate fee, to the Annapolis location of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. To buy hunting licenses in person, visit a local authorized licensing agent or Department of Natural Resources regional service center.

Each license to hunt purchased online can be printed out from a personal printer immediately after purchase. Hunting licenses purchased by mail will take a few business days to arrive.

Am I required to take any hunting classes to be eligible for a Maryland hunting license purchase?

Before buying hunting licenses, hunters must first complete the hunter education and safety course requirement set by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Prospective hunters have the option of taking hunter education courses online from the convenience of their home. However, online students must still physically attend the one-day hunter education field day workshop following the completion of the online portion of the course. Following successful completion of the workshop, hunters will be issued a certificate of completion, which they can use to buy hunting licenses from the Department of Natural Resources.

Maryland hunters younger than 16 years of age who are residents of the state and have completed a hunter education and safety course will be issued a one-year residential hunting license for free.

How do I replace hunting licenses in Maryland?

Maryland hunters dealing with lost or stolen hunting licenses can apply for a hunting license replacement through the Department of Natural Resources. To complete the replacement hunting license application process, visit a local Department of Natural Resources licensing and registration service center and ask for a replacement license to hunt. The wildlife department does not charge a fee to replace hunting licenses at a local service center.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. All throughout the United States, hunters safety classes must be completed in order for applicants to obtain their desired hunting permits and stamps. Failure to take this specific course will result in the rejection of your hunting license request, thus requiring you to start over.
Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to buy hunting licenses in a variety of ways, including online (through your state department’s portal), by mail, by phone or in person. Choose the option that is most convenient for you. Make sure to also have any type of official documentation and payment for fees on hand.
No. Different states have different limits and regulations on hunting licensure. Certain animals may be considered “prohibited species,” whereas other animals may be legal to hunt, so long as you have the necessary hunting permit/stamp. Keep in mind that if you do hunt for any type of prohibited species, you will be subject to serious consequences.
Yes. States typically offer various short-term hunters license options, such as one-day and one-week passes, to those who do not meet residency requirements. In order to receive issuance of a short-term hunting license, make sure to get in touch with your state/hunting wildlife department to find out the available methods you have to apply.
In the event your hunting credentials are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, contact your state hunting/wildlife department to order a hunting license replacement. You may have to make an in-person visit to a local office to complete the process. At the time of your replacement request, you may be asked to present your state driving license or another type of identification.
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