Hunting at Blackwater NWR


Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of more than 560 national wildlife refuges in the United States. The primary objective of a national wildlife refuge is to provide habitat for the conservation and protection of wildlife. The harvest of surplus animals is one tool used to manage wildlife populations. Carefully managed hunts maintain wildlife populations at a level compatible with the environment, provide wholesome recreational opportunities, and permit the use of a valuable, renewable resource.

REMEMBER! Your hunt permit authorizes you to take specified game only. Harming or needlessly disturbing any other wildlife is a violation of Refuge regulations and is cause for prosecution.

Blackwater NWR provides hunting opportunities for turkey, deer and waterfowl.

Hunt Coordinator

Important: For more information about any of the deer or turkey hunts offered at Blackwater NWR, or to request a hunt packet containing hunting regulations, maps, and applications, please contact Hunt Coordinator Allen Johnston at 410-221-8815.


Deer Hunting

The refuge offers archery, quota and non-quota muzzleloader, and quota and non-quota shotgun hunts as well as special disabled and youth hunt opportunities for both white-tailed deer and sika deer.

Hunting at Blackwater is on a first come, first serve basis. There is no standby.

The application period for gun hunting during the 2018-19 deer season has ended. Permits for archery only are available for purchase ($20, cash or check only) at the Visitor Center daily 9:00 am til 4:00 pm through the end of the season.

The 2018-19 application and regulation information is posted below for reference. Please be aware that the application process will change substantially next year as we transition to an on-line system.

All hunting questions should be directed to the hunt coordinator at 410-221-8815.

Click below to view the following (all are in PDF format):

2018-19 Deer Hunt Letter Highlights changes to the 2018-19 deer hunt.

2018-19 Deer Hunt Application Instructions

2018-19 Deer Hunt Regulations  Formatted for 11x17 paper.

2018-19 Deer Hunt Schedule Tables  Formatted for 11x17 paper.

2018-19 Deer Hunt Map  Formatted for 11x17 paper.

Area U1 Map. This area is designated for disabled hunters.

2017 Deer Density Study

Researchers from University of Delaware recently performed a deer density study at the refuge.  Click on the links below to view their findings (PDF files).

Deer density study one page summary.

Deer density study presentation. 

    Interactive Deer Hunt Unit Maps

    Click here to find out how to use Blackwater hunt unit maps on your smart phone.


    Turkey Hunting

    Each spring the refuge offers turkey hunting on designated Tuesdays and Saturdays within the State season. Hunters can use any weapon approved for state turkey hunts. The refuge also offers a special one day youth turkey hunt.

    Turkey hunters are chosen by lottery from applications received.

    The application process for the 2018 Turkey Hunt has ended.  The 2018 Turkey Hunt regulations, application instructions, and hunt map (PDF files) are posted below for your reference, but be aware that some regulations may change for 2019. If you have a question about the Turkey Hunt, please call Hunt Coordinator Allen Johnston at 410-221-8815. Please be aware that the application process will change substantially next year as we transition to an on-line system.


      Waterfowl Hunting

      *Federal Duck Stamp Reminder for Waterfowl Hunters*

      Blackwater NWR provides waterfowl hunting opportunities at several designated hunt sites on the refuge. Waterfowl hunting is permitted on dates specified by the Refuge during the State waterfowl season. All sites are accessible by boat only.

      The 2018-19 Blackwater NWR waterfowl hunt information is below. Please follow all instructions found within the regulations. Waterfowl hunting is free, but you must call in to reserve a site. Reservation call-in begins at 8:00 am sharp (cell phone time) on the dates indicated in the regulations. If you get voicemail, hang up and call again until someone answers because voice messages are not checked immediately.

      Please note that everyone in your hunting party must print out and sign the regulations page. This serves as your waterfowl hunting permit.

      Waterfowl Hunt Access Photos and Maps

      If you are interested in learning about duck stamps, visit our duck stamps page for more information.