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Deer Backup Plan


butler-day5-1Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak Pro Roy Butler lives right outside of Westminster, Maryland, and has taken as many as 30 deer in a season, but now he only harvests 2 - 5. If you're a bowhunter, a blackpowder hunter or a gun hunter, Maryland offers plenty of opportunities to fill your freezer. Many areas of Maryland have a severe overpopulation of whitetails.

If I don’t have a chance to take one of the bucks I've identified before archery season, I still go hunting and hope that luck will be on my side. Usually if I don’t get a buck, I’ll wrap up my season by taking one or two does. I'm often asked, “I'm thinking about coming to Maryland to bowhunt or hunt with a blackpowder rifle. What should I do to put the odds in my favor for having a successful deer hunt?” We have a lot of public hunting land here in Maryland. I suggest you:

  • butler-day5-2Go to, and get a list of all the state and public lands available for hunting;
  • Choose one or two public lands to hunt before the season opens;
  • Get aerial photos and topo maps of that property;
  • Use the maps to try and identify bottlenecks and pinch points where large tracts of land are necked-down to force the deer on both sides of that pinch point to go through those small funnels to get from one large block of land to another large block of land; and
  • Come to Maryland, and scout those areas before the season.

We have so-many deer in Maryland that I don’t believe anyone can come from out-of-state and not harvest a deer. If you're hunting for a quality buck, you may get lucky and see and harvest one. But that’s an iffy proposition. If you're looking for a quality buck, the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to find and take him is to contact an outfitter on the eastern side of the state and set up a hunt with them. The outfitters there are managing their properties to produce large bucks. One of the outfitters I recommend is Tuscarora Outfitters, and that group will have the seasons, bag limits and hunt dates on its website around the first of August.

butler-day5-4So, if you're looking for a place to early season bowhunt starting September 1, consider the State of Maryland, because we've got plenty of deer. If you know any landowners up here or are willing to knock on doors to get permission to hunt, you may find some really-good hunting spots on private lands that you can hunt for free. The same is true if you're a blackpowder hunter. We have two different blackpowder seasons – plenty of different opportunities to come and hunt the State of Maryland. I’ll really be surprised if you came to Maryland to hunt this year and don’t go home with venison in the trunk.

Yesterday: Hunting Maryland’s Bow and Blackpowder Seasons

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