Guide to Black Bear Hunting in Maryland

Bear Hunters' Guide to Hunting Black Bears in Maryland 2014

General Hunting Regulations

The following are general hunting laws and regulations that you should be aware of while bear hunting in Maryland. Please refer to the Guide to Hunting and Trapping in Maryland for additional information.

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

  1. Presentation of a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety (required for junior licensees), or
  2. Certification that you held a hunting license issued prior to July 1, 1977, or
  3. Certification that you hunted on private property prior to July 1, 1977, and were legally exempt from purchasing a hunting license.

Note: Persons under the age of 18 hunting on family property when a license is not required must have a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety.


  • Hunt on private land without written permission of the landowner.
  • Hunt black bears on Sunday.
  • Have a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle. This includes ammunition in the magazine.
  • Hunt with an automatic firearm capable of firing a series of shots with one continuous pull of the trigger.
  • Hunt bears with rifles and ammunition that develop less than 1,200 foot-pounds of energy.
  • Hunt bears with firearms loaded with more than 8 cartridges or bullets.
  • Use firearms with military, full metal jacketed, incendiary or tracer bullets.
  • Use buckshot to hunt bears.
  • Hunt with muzzleloading rifles using less than 60 grains of black powder or black powder equivalent, and less than .40 caliber.
  • Hunt with a handgun and ammunition that does not develop a muzzle energy of 700 or more foot-pounds of energy.
  • Hunt with a vertical bow that has less than 30 pounds of draw, or a crossbow that has less than 75 pounds of draw.
  • Shoot on, from or across any public road.
  • Hunt or shoot at wildlife within 150 yards of an occupied structure or camp without permission of the owner or occupant.
  • Cast the rays of an artificial light from a vehicle on woods, fields, orchards, livestock, wild mammals or birds, dwellings or buildings.
  • Target shoot on state lands except in designated areas.
  • Construct or use permanent tree stands on state-owned or controlled properties.
  • Hunt without a form of positive identification, such as a driver’s license, other photo identification or a secondary form of positive identification.