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Firearm winter season gives Carroll County deer hunters one last shot

Carroll County hunters get another shot at bagging deer with firearms this weekend after a lackluster fall season.

The winter portion of the firearm deer hunting season opens Jan. 10 in Deer Management Region B, which includes Carroll and neighboring counties Frederick, Howard and Baltimore, according to a Maryland Department of Natural Resources news release. Hunters with a valid hunting license may use firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during this season, which runs from Friday, Jan. 10 through Sunday, Jan. 12. Sunday hunting is on private lands only.

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“This season provides deer hunters with another chance to fill their firearms season bag limit if they have not already done so,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said via the release.

Most probably have not filled their bag limit given that poor weather significantly impacted the fall firearms season. During that two-week season, from Nov. 30 through Dec. 14 in Region B, 27,088 deer were taken, 14% fewer than last year’s official count of 31,631.

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“Rain, ice, and fog once again hampered parts of the firearms season this year,” Peditto said in another DNR news release. Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s and 60s this weekend.

In Carroll County, hunters killed 745 antlered deer — 26.7% fewer than during the same season in 2018 — as well as 1,336 antlerless deer, virtually unchanged from the previous year. Overall, Carroll’s 2,081-deer harvest was 11.5% below the 2018 firearm season.

But now there is another chance. Reminders from DNR:

· During firearms season, Maryland requires deer hunters and their companions to wear daylight fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink in one of the following manners: a cap of solid fluorescent daylight orange or pink; a vest or jacket containing back and front panels of at least 250 square inches of fluorescent daylight orange or pink; or an outer garment of camouflage daylight fluorescent orange or pink worn above the waist and containing at least 50% daylight fluorescent color.

· Hunters should carefully inspect all tree-stands and always wear a full-body safety harness while climbing in or out and while in the stand. The department strongly recommends using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prusik knot, attached to a line that is secured above the stand that allows the hunter to be safely tethered to the tree as soon as they leave the ground.

· Maryland hunters are encouraged to donate any extra deer they may harvest to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Hunters are reminded that they may claim a tax credit of up to $50 for each legally harvested deer that is processed and donated to a nonprofit food sharing program. The maximum credit in any one tax year is $200 per hunter.

While this weekend marks the final chance for deer hunting with firearms, there is one final archery season, running Jan. 13-31. For more information, visit https://dnr.maryland.gov.

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