Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland, was established in 1933 as a refuge for migratory waterfowl. The refuge includes more than 32,000 acres, composed mainly of rich tidal marsh characterized by fluctuating water levels and variable salinity. Other habitats include freshwater ponds, mixed evergreen and deciduous forests, cropland and managed impoundments that are seasonally flooded for waterfowl.
Blackwater NWR is home to the largest natural population of formerly endangered Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrels and is also home to one of the largest breeding population of American bald eagles on the East Coast.
The refuge contains one-third of Maryland's tidal wetlands, which makes it an ecologically important area within the state. These wetlands also provide storm protection to lower Dorchester County, including the town of Cambridge.
This permit authorizes the permit holder and their group to hunt the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge for both white-tailed deer and sika deer only. The refuge offers archery, limited and open muzzleloader, limited and open shotgun, and primitive hunts as well as special disabled and youth hunt permits. Taking and/or collecting any other wildlife or plants is a violation of refuge regulations. Permits are only made through Recreation.gov. The refuge will not sell permits in-person or by phone.
Open hunt reservations can be reserved during the open hunt season and will close on the last day of the open hunt at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Permit holder and group members, including assistants and adult supervisors (for youth hunts), must always have a signed permit on their person while hunting in the refuge.
This permit does not authorize turkey or waterfowl hunting. Hunters should visit https://www.fws.gov/refuge/blackwater/visit-us/activities/hunting to learn about these hunting opportunities.
You must print, sign your permit and bring it with you. Print the permit, that was emailed to you, before coming to the refuge. The refuge will not print permits.
Accessing the Refuge
Hunters are required to possess an electronic or printed copy of a valid Maryland hunting license and all required stamps, an original valid government-issued photo identification (no copies or photos), and a valid hunting permit (printed copy) issued by Recreation.gov on their person at all times during refuge hunting and scouting days. The corresponding State stamps are required to participate in the archery and muzzleloader hunts. Hunters hunting from a vehicle must possess a MD DNR issued universal disability pass (formally a “hunt from vehicle” permit).
Rules and Regulations
View the complete Blackwater NWR Hunt Permit Hunting Regulations , which include details about the following refuge regulation topics:
There is a $6.00 reservation fee for all permits.
Open Archery - $20/person
Limited Muzzleloader - $10/person
Open (Early Season) Muzzleloader - $20/person
Open (Late Season) Muzzleloader - $20/person
Limited Shotgun - $10/person
Open (Early Season) Shotgun - $40/person
Open (Late Season) Shotgun - $30/person
Primitive - $20/person
Youth Hunt - $0
*Note: Fees are reduced by ½ for Interagency Senior Pass or Interagency Access Pass holders. Pass numbers must be provided.
Primitive hunts will be released at a later date. Keep an eye out for that announcement on the Rec.gov page for when these will be available.
For the first time we will be offering a Sportsman's Package for Blackwater. This will include all dates for:
Early and late open muzzleloader
Early and late open shotgun
There will be one $12 transaction fee for this permit. No group permits for the Sportsman's Package will be allowed. The limited and primitive hunts will still need to be purchased separately.
There are no modifications allowed for this permit.
Customers, the call center, and the facility can cancel a reservation at any time. No refunds are provided for cancellations.
The permit is non-transferrable.
There are no refunds allowed for this permit.
The following Federal Interagency passes provide a 50% discount for only the pass holder. Each group member can enter their pass, but it must be a unique pass number. Note the reservation fee will remain at $6.00.
2145 Key Wallace Drive Cambridge MD 21613
For the Recreation.gov help center call (877) 444-6777. Hearing-impaired refuge visitors may call the Maryland Relay Service at TDD/(800) 735-2258