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 2018-19 deer season has ended.

The 2018-19 hunt schedule and regulation information is posted below for reference only, and may change for the 2019-20 season. Please be aware that the application process will change substantially for 2019-20 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 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 2019 Turkey Hunt applications are now available at the Blackwater Visitor Center, and must be postmarked no later than March 15.  Turkey Hunt application instructions and regulations are posted below (PDF files) for your reference. If you have a question about the Turkey Hunt or to request that an application be sent to you, please call Hunt Coordinator Allen Johnston at 410-221-8815.

    2019 Turkey Hunt Introduction Letter

    2019 Turkey Hunt Application Instructions

    2019 Turkey Hunt Regulations and Map

    "First Shot" Turkey Hunt

    The "First Shot" mentored turkey hunt for first time turkey hunters is back for 2019! Check out this flyer to find out more information and how to apply for this exciting program!


      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 has ended. The 2018-19 waterfowl hunt regulations and instructions are posted below for reference, but be aware that some things may change for the 2019-20 season.
      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.