Maryland Furbearer Hunting and Trapping Laws and Regulations

Sunday Furbearer Hunting Rules 2023–2024

Eligible Furbearer Species for Sunday Hunting

  • Coyotes, fishers, foxes, opossums, raccoons, skunks can be hunted on Sundays during open seasons.

County-Specific Hunting Locations and Hours

Allegany, Cecil, Garrett, St. Mary’s, Washington

  • Locations: Private and designated public lands.
  • Hours: Same as Monday through Saturday.

Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester

  • Locations:
    • Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s: Private lands only.
    • Somerset: Private lands and public land leased to a hunt club.
    • Wicomico, Worcester: Permitted for trapping permit holders on WMAs; also on private and designated public lands.
  • Hours: From ½ hour before sunrise until 10:30 am on Sundays.

Designated Public Lands Open for Sunday Hunting

  • Billmeyer-Belle Grove WMA, Dan's Mountain WMA, Green Ridge SF, McCoole FMA, Sideling Hill WMA, Warrior Mountain WMA (Allegany)
  • Earlville WMA, C&D Canal Lands, Grove Farm WMA, Old Bohemia WMA (Cecil)
  • Cunningham Swamp WMA, Garrett SF, Mt. Nebo WMA, Potomac SF, Savage River SF (Garrett)
  • Salem SF, Saint Inigoes SF (St. Mary’s)
  • Indian Springs WMA, Prather's Neck WMA, Sideling Hill WMA (Washington)
  • Ellis Bay WMA, Chesapeake Forest Lands, Johnson WMA, Nanticoke WMA, Wetipquin WMA (Wicomico)
  • Chesapeake Forest Lands, E. A. Vaughn WMA, Hickory Pt. Wildlands, Isle of Wight WMA, Pocomoke SF, Pocomoke River WMA (Worcester)

Note on Furbearer Varieties

  • Includes beaver, bobcat, coyote, fisher, gray fox, long-tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, river otter, and skunk.
  • Bobcats are protected and cannot be hunted in Maryland.

Woodchuck and Nutria Hunting Regulations

Woodchuck (Groundhog) Protocols

  • Designated as an "unprotected mammal," resulting in:
    • No hunting license or furbearer permit required.
    • Year-round hunting, including Sundays.
    • Mandatory daylight fluorescent color clothing during hunts.
    • All legal hunting devices for other game permitted.

Nutria Status Update

  • Nutria considered eradicated in Maryland due to conservation efforts.

General Furbearer Hunting Times

  • Shooting hours extend from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset daily.

General Furbearer Regulations

Identification and Permissions

Identification Requirement

Hunters must carry personal photo identification (e.g., driver's license) or another form of positive identification while hunting.

Written Permission

Written permission is required to hunt or trap on private land.


Hunting License

A hunting license is required to hunt or trap furbearers, with exceptions. Refer to Hunting Licenses, Stamps, and Permits for Armed Forces information, costs, exceptions, purchasing details, requirements, and types.

Nonresident Requirements

Nonresidents must obtain a Nonresident Hunting License and Nonresident Trapping License to trap furbearers in Maryland.

Furbearer Permit

A Furbearer Permit is mandatory for hunting, chasing, or trapping any furbearer in Maryland. Refer to Furbearer Permit and Exceptions for details.

Furbearer Species

The following furbearers may be hunted and trapped:

  • Coyote
  • Fisher
  • Gray Fox
  • Opossum
  • Raccoon
  • Red Fox
  • Skunk

The following species may only be trapped:

  • Beaver
  • Long-tailed Weasel
  • Mink
  • Muskrat
  • River Otter

Prohibitions and Permits

Den Disturbance

Destroying or disturbing furbearer dens is strictly prohibited.

Possession Limits

A permit is required to possess the meat or skinned carcass of a furbearer for more than 10 days after the season closes. Obtain permits from the Natural Resources Police.

Tagging Requirements

Fisher and river otter pelts or unskinned carcasses must be tagged within 15 days after the season closes. Tags are available through the Wildlife and Heritage Service or Natural Resources Police.

Submission Requirement

Trappers in Allegany and Garrett counties must submit the whole, skinned carcass of any harvested river otter to the Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Fur Shipping Tag

Pelts or unskinned carcasses of furbearers transported across state lines must have a "Fur Shipping Tag," available through the COMPASS portal or local Wildlife and Heritage Service offices.

Wildlife Management Areas

On Wildlife Management Areas in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties:

  • Only trapping permit holders or their appointees can hunt or trap furbearers between Nov. 15 and March 15.

Fox Restrictions

Local Regulations

Some counties have local restrictions governing fox hunting, trapping, and possession. For details, contact local law enforcement authorities.

Specific Regulations

  • In Charles and Dorchester counties, fox hunting and trapping are allowed year-round.
  • It is unlawful to kill a fox being pursued by dogs in Cecil, Harford, Kent, and Wicomico counties.

Additional Notes

  • Daylight fluorescent color clothing is not required for hunting or trapping furbearers.
  • Sunday hunting for certain furbearers is permitted with restrictions in some counties and locations. Refer to the Sunday hunting chart.

Furbearer Permit and Exceptions

Furbearer Permit

Requirement Overview

  • A Furbearer Permit is mandatory for hunting, chasing, or trapping any furbearer.
  • Required for unarmed chasing of fox and raccoons and for those who may hunt without a license to hunt, chase, or trap any furbearer.
  • An Individual Furbearer Permit is available for anyone. Trappers using it must meet the conditions of the Trapper Education Requirement.
  • A Group Furbearer Permit is for representatives of associations or groups chasing or hunting furbearers. Members or guests covered by a Group Permit don't need an Individual Furbearer Permit.
  • Group Permit holders must submit an annual report to the Department of Natural Resources by September 1.

Furbearer Permit Exceptions


Individuals not required to have a Furbearer Permit include:

  1. Possessors of a Wildlife Damage Control Permit engaged in fur-bearing mammal control.
  2. Landowners with a Landowner Wildlife Damage Control Permit.
  3. Holders of an Apprentice Hunting License.

Additional exceptions:

  • No permit needed for a landowner to destroy a damaging muskrat or to hunt/trap a coyote, fox, or skunk damaging the landowner's property.
  • Marsh owners or employees can hunt raccoons destroying muskrats in a marsh they own.
  • Landowners or agents can set traps or use devices anytime to trap raccoons or opossums damaging property.

Trapper Education Requirement

  • Individuals trapping under a Furbearer Permit must obtain a Certificate of Trapper Education from the Department of Natural Resources or its designee.
  • The certificate isn't required if the person holds an apprentice hunting license or had a Furbearer Permit before August 1, 2007.
  • Certificates from other states are acceptable if reciprocal for Maryland residents.
  • For Trapper Education Courses, contact the Natural Resources Police, Safety Education and Outreach Unit, or visit
  • All trappers are encouraged to participate in statewide trapper education courses.

Furbearer Hunting and Chasing Regulations

General Regulations

  • Firearms, Archery, and Air Guns: Legal for hunting coyote, fisher, gray fox, opossum, raccoon, red fox, and skunk.
  • Furbearer Permit: Required for hunters pursuing these furbearers.
  • Prohibited Species: Shooting a beaver, long-tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, or river otter is illegal.
  • Local Fox Hunting Restrictions:
    • Charles and Dorchester counties allow fox hunting and trapping year-round.
    • It's unlawful to kill a fox pursued by dogs in Cecil, Harford, Kent, and Wicomico counties.
  • Sunday Fox Chasing: Permitted for unarmed participants in organized fox chases.
  • Deer Firearms Season Restrictions:
    • Fox hunting with dogs is prohibited during deer Firearms Season, except unarmed fox chasing.
  • Coyote Hunting: Allowed day and night, year-round, in all counties.
  • Raccoon Control: Owners or employees can hunt raccoons destroying muskrats and dens at any time.

Methods and Devices

  • Artificial Light and Dogs: Permitted for hunting coyotes, foxes, opossums, or raccoons on foot.
  • Electronic Calling Devices: Allowed for hunting coyotes, fishers, foxes, opossums, raccoons, and skunks.
  • Telescopic and Laser Sights: Permitted on devices used for hunting furbearers.
  • Road Restrictions: Shooting on, from, or across public roads is against the law.

Firearms Regulations

  • Shotguns: Limited to three shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
  • Rifles and Handguns: Allowed; prohibited ammunition includes full metal-jacketed, incendiary, or tracer bullets.
  • Muzzleloading Firearms: Allowed; considered unloaded if the ignition system is disabled.
  • Loaded Firearm in Vehicles: Prohibited; includes ammunition in the magazine or a ready-to-fire muzzleloader.

Archery Equipment Regulations

  • Vertical Bows: Permitted; draw locking devices and release aids are legal.
  • Crossbows: Allowed with a working safety; no poisoned or explosive-tipped arrows.
  • Loaded Crossbows in Vehicles: Prohibited; a cocked crossbow without an arrow is considered unloaded.

Air Gun Regulations

  • Air Guns: Allowed for taking furbearers; unloaded while in, on, or leaning against a vehicle.

Unarmed Fox Chasing

  • Definition: Not classified as hunting but subject to Department of Natural Resources regulations.
  • Permit Requirements: Participants must possess an Individual Furbearer Permit or be part of a group with a Group Furbearer Permit.
  • Public Lands: Additional permits may be required for fox chasing on certain public lands, subject to department regulations.

Furbearer Trapping Regulations

Identification Requirements

  • DNRid Number: Required on snares, traps, or similar devices. Must be stamped or affixed by metal tag.
    • Exception: Traps on private property owned or rented by the placer are exempt.

General Trapping Regulations

  • Tampering Prohibition: Unlawful to tamper with or remove the catch from a legally set trap.
  • Furbearer Permit: Mandatory for all individuals trapping furbearers unless exempt.
  • Permission for Trapping: Written permission required to trap or hunt on another person's property, including publicly owned lands.
  • Proximity to Residences: Prohibited to set foothold, body-gripping, or snare traps within 150 yards of a permanent human residence with exceptions.
    • Exceptions include state, federal, or private wetlands, qualified agricultural assessment lands, timberlands, and lands used for reforestation.
    • In Harford and Howard counties, landowners and lessees can use traps on their property if not within 150 yards of another person's residence.

Checking and Release Regulations

  • Checking Frequency: Traps must be checked once per calendar day, except those set in water or tidal marshes, which must be checked once per two days.
  • Tidal Areas Exclusivity: In tidal areas, landowners and their agents or lessees have exclusive rights to muskrats and other furbearers above the mean low water line.
  • Release On-Site: Furbearers caught during the legal trapping season may be released on-site but not transported unless killed.
  • Closed Season Release: Animals caught during the closed season must be released on-site.

Legal Trapping Devices

  • Body-Gripping Traps: Legal with diameter restrictions based on water submersion.
  • Foothold Traps: Toothed or serrated jawed traps prohibited; maximum jaw spread restrictions apply.
    • Exception: In specified counties, foothold traps can be set above waterline for certain individuals or in response to wildlife control concerns.
  • Snare Traps: Illegal in specified counties (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Montgomery, and Prince George’s).

Compliance and Enforcement

  • Identification Compliance: Failure to include the DNRid number on traps is a violation.
  • Prohibited Trapping Devices: Use, possession, or maintenance of prohibited trapping devices is illegal in specified counties.
  • Local Regulations: Compliance with local restrictions and guidelines, contact local law enforcement authorities for details.
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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.