Public Hunting on DNR Properties



Our South Side Trails in Port Republic are beautiful and are open year round. There’s no gun hunting on the South Side Trail Properties. Future gun hunting dates for North Side trail closures: Nov 26-Dec 10, Dec 17-Dec 31, Jan 6-8. All trails are always open on Sundays!

Happy Trails!

PLEASE BE AWARE. As early as this Friday, October 14th, public hunting will begin on most of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) properties in the Parkers Creek Preserve. The change to public hunting is due to DNR designation of the properties as Wildlife Management Area.

Last fall, I reported in the Watershed Observer of the state’s intention to allow public hunting on properties it owns within the Parkers Creek Preserve. Until the public hunting plan was approved, Paul Peditto, Director of Wildlife and Heritage Service for DNR notified ACLT that the state properties could not be hunted.

This spring, the ACLT Board of Directors approved an amendment to the Management Plan to allow public hunting, subject to a number of conditions. The conditions were met (see below) and the Management Plan and Public Hunting Plan were signed in the last few weeks.

General Provisions:

  • Hunting is open for deer archery, firearms and muzzleloader.
  • No small game, other forest game, or waterfowl hunting is permitted.
  • Hunting is restricted to public hunters who have met state requirements only  (see below).

Requirements to participate:
All hunters will comply with seasons, bag limits, general regulations and licensure requirements for hunting in Maryland; in addition, hunters shall:

  • Obtain a MD DNR Southern Region Hunting Permit (available from DNR via the Myrtle Grove WMA office in La Plata, MD: (301) 743-5161);
  • Submit a MD DNR Shooter Qualification Card with their application for the Southern Region Hunting Permit;
  • Attend at least one pre-hunt scouting and orientation day;
  • Reserve their hunting dates and locations via the Myrtle Gove WMA hunt reservation system. The total number of hunters for each site will be limited to ensure a sustainable and safe experience for hunters, non-hunters and neighbors.

Management of the deer herd is critical for maintaining a diverse, healthy ecosystem. I believe that the new hunting plan will be run successfully by DNR staff and I urge our membership to give it time to work.

For hikers, the biggest change is that the state does not close trails during gun hunting, while ACLT has always done so. At all ACLT trail heads, we will continue to post notices when there will be gun hunting on the DNR properties. Meanwhile, if you wish to avoid walking the trails during gun hunting, please use the Southside ACLT trails  or hike the Northside trails on Sundays at these times. Gun hunting is not permitted on state properties on Sundays in Southern Maryland.  Please check ACLT’s website and Facebook page for notices of scheduled hunting days.

If you have questions, please contact me.

Greg Bowen



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