Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge has a long hunting tradition. Waterfowl hunting once dominated the area, and the refuge’s visitor center was originally a private hunting lodge. Today, the refuge serves as a resting area for ducks and geese, but hunters can still come to the refuge each fall to hunt white-tailed deer. Specific hunting days are designated annually by the refuge manager, including days for archery, muzzleloader and shotgun hunting. In addition, the refuge sets aside days for youth hunters and for hunters with permanent disabilities. A refuge permit is required, and can easily be obtained via the Recreation.gov website.

Hunting and Fishing Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a final hunting and fishing plan for Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex in Maryland, which includes Blackwater and Eastern Neck NWRs. A draft plan was issued earlier this spring; during the 97-day public comment period, 24 comment letters were received. We are grateful to those who provided comments, which helped in developing the final plan.   

A summary of all substantive comments, and our responses, can be found in Appendix E (Finding of No Significant Impact). No significant changes have been made between the draft and final versions of the Hunting and Fishing Plan. As part of next year’s proposed rule, Blackwater and Eastern Neck NWRs will propose a non-lead requirement, which will take effect on September 1, 2026. The Environmental Assessment analyzes the impacts of lead ammunition and tackle; based on the breadth of comments received on the plan to require non-lead ammunition and tackle by 2026, the Service intends to complete additional analysis and provide another opportunity to comment during next year’s annual rulemaking. 

Other changes that are now in effect include the use of straight wall cartridges during shotgun hunts this fall, the incidental take of coyotes, and an early teal season in 2023.  

We may begin to implement the Hunting and Fishing Plan for Chesapeake Marshlands NWR Complex upon publication of the final 2022-2023 Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations in the Federal Register. The final plan can be viewed here.

Youth Turkey Hunt

In partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, the refuge hosts a mentored spring turkey hunt for a limited number of youth every April. Young people ages 12 to 16 (at the time of the hunt), who have not previously participated in this hunt, can apply. The application is free, and youth are chosen by a random draw.

The application period for the 2024 youth turkey hunt has ended, and the drawing was held on March 25. Thank you to all who applied for this hunt, and congratulations to our successful applicants. We hope those who were not drawn this year will apply again next year if eligible.

If you have any questions, please email us at easternneck@fws.gov .

Deer Hunt

The 2023 deer hunt has ended. The 2023 deer hunt regulations and dates are posted on our Library Page. These documents are for reference only, as dates and some regulations will change for the 2024 hunt.

New 2024 regulations and dates will be posted here typically in June/July. Hunting permits will be available for purchase at Recreation.gov sometime in July or August. The exact date and time will be posted here when we confirm it.

If you have any questions, please email us at easternneck@fws.gov .

Wayfinding Map for Smartphones

The Eastern Neck deer hunt map below is a georeferenced PDF file compatible with the AVENZA MAPS smartphone app. This free app uses your phone’s GPS to find your location, and works without a signal from your carrier. It is available for Apple and Android devices. Learn how to install the Avenza app here. After installing the app on your phone, download the Eastern Neck Deer Hunt Map below to use with the app while hunting on the refuge. Please note that any boundary markings you find on the ground trump boundary lines on the hunt unit map.

Related Documents
Eastern Neck 2024 Youth Turkey Hunt Flyer

Flyer announcing the 2024 youth turkey hunt at Eastern Neck NWR.

Eastern Neck 2024 Youth Turkey Hunt Application

Application packet for the 2024 youth turkey hunt at Eastern Neck NWR. Read, fill out, and email to easternneck@fws.gov .

Eastern Neck NWR Deer Hunt Map

Deer hunt map for Eastern Neck NWR. This is a georeferenced PDF map compatible with the Avenza Maps smartphone app.

E-bike Statement

Eastern Neck NWR's policy on the use of e-bikes for hunting on the refuge.