Service Center Getting Started

Getting Started

Important information you should know before you begin


Available Licenses

Customers may now purchase hunting licenses, fishing licenses, and off-road vehicle registrations along with associated items through our new COMPASS online portal, 7 am to 7 pm call center, at any of our Sports License Agents and the Department's 7 Regional Service Centers. All convenience fees have been eliminated. License prices are the same regardless of how or when you obtain your license.

Please contact your local Department of Natural Resources Service Center for other department licenses & permits, such as commercial licenses and boat titling and registration.

Items purchased through our COMPASS online portal are effective immediately. Be sure to print your license document before leaving COMPASS. Additionally, give us your email address and a copy of your license will be emailed to you 30 minutes after purchase. Only fishing decals and the Maryland migratory bird stamp will be mailed (allow 7-10 days for delivery). Hunting and Fishing Guides can be viewed or downloaded from the links included on your license or within the email containing your copy of the license.

From your online COMPASS account you can access various forms for download. These forms include your DNRid Card, additional Harvest Record cards, and Field Tags. Additionally, you can access a listing of Maryland Emergency Rooms, a Trip and Emergency Contact form and forms for securing permission on private property for fishing, hunting and trapping. Remember, a fishing or hunting license does not represent permission to fish or hunt on private property. You must always secure the property owner's permission prior to hunting or fishing on their land.


Definition of a Maryland resident

  • An individual whose fixed, permanent and principal home for legal purposes is located in the State of Maryland.
  • A member of the armed forces of the United States who is on active duty and stationed officially in the State.
  • A member of the armed forces of the United States who is officially stationed outside the State of Maryland whose legal residence is Maryland.

Printer Test

To ensure that your license will print properly, we recommend printing a sample license to ensure that you have the most current Adobe Acrobat software and that it is working properly.


Lost Licenses

If you provided your email address during the purchase of your license, a copy will be emailed 30 minutes after purchase. This electronic copy of your license will allow you to print another copy should your original be lost or damaged. A license can also be reprinted for free within 24 hours of purchase. You can reprint your license any time after that by logging into your COMPASS account. Customers can also download and print additional DNRid cards, harvest records, and all field tags directly from your COMPASS account. You are automatically given a COMPASS account if you provided your email address during your first purchase. COMPASS will email you a password and logon link so you can access your account at anytime and anywhere using this provided email. If you do not provide an email during purchase, you will still have a COMPASS account, but you will need to access it by a combination of an identification type (DNRid, Driver License, SSN, License Number) and date of birth.

Call 410-260-3220 for assistance between the hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, excluding State Holidays.


Requirement to carry second form of ID along with license

Maryland licensed sportsmen are required to carry a second form of identification along with their licenses when hunting or fishing. That second form of identification should match the name and address printed on your license.

All licenses now include a DNRid card. This DNRid card provides quick access to your COMPASS account for future purchases at Department of Natural Resources Service Centers and Sports License Agent locations.

The DNRid Card does not qualify as your second ID in the field. You must still carry a second form of identification while you hunt and/or fish.


Hunter Education Requirements

Customers qualify for certain items by the education or other certifications the carry. COMPASS stores these certifications for each customer to prove your eligibility. One your Recreational License and DNRid card, you will notice ‘PRE’ or up to three letters after the ‘CRT:’ one each and they represent the following certifications:

  • PRE = Certification that you held a hunting license, or hunted on private property prior to July 1, 1977;
  • H = Hunter Education and Safety Certification
  • T = Trapper Education and Safety Certification
  • B = Boating Safety Education Certification
To purchase a hunting license or to hunt in Maryland, state law requires:
  • Presentation of a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety (required for junior licensees), or
  • Certification that you held a hunting license issued prior to July 1, 1977, or
  • Certification that you hunted on private property prior to July 1, 1977, and were legally exempt from purchasing a hunting license, or
  • Certification that you are purchasing a non-resident license and will only hunt waterfowl.

Note: Persons under the age of 18 hunting on family property when a license is not required, must have a Certificate of Competency in Firearms and Hunter Safety.


Information about the Sales Process

  • Customers may cancel the transaction at any point before entry of payment information, however they will still receive a COMPASS account through customer enrollment to make future purchases at any time.
  • All sales are final. We accept Discover, Mastercard and Visa at our Service Center locations, through the COMPASS online portal and if you call our call center, A Department of Natural Resources contracted, Maryland-based company provides our 7 am to 7 pm by 365 call center operations to issue licenses to you by live operators.
  • We are proud to be living up to our green roots with the deployment of COMPASS. With the added convenience of email license delivery, we only provide access to our hunting and fishing guides digitally through our web site and no longer mail guidebooks to online and telephone license customers. Providing a digital copy allows you to print the specific pages that are relevant to you, or download the entire guide to store on your smartphone or other mobile device. Additionally, the digital versions never go stale and are updated with the most current information as the license year progresses. If you desire a hard copy of our guidebooks, you may visit any of our more than 200 sports license agent locations, 7 Service Centers and 10 wildlife management areas.
  • Department of Natural Resources operates the COMPASS online licensing and registration system, but it was developed by a Maryland-based company.
  • Customers will not be charged a convenience fee for licenses purchased by any method through COMPASS. All licenses are the same price regardless of how or when they are obtained.

Get Your DNRid Card and Number

Obtaining your DNRid Card and Number is quick and free. Your DNRid Card is the quick and easy way for a representative to locate your account in COMPASS consistently each time to limit the data entry involved in each purchase. Most importantly, this card in your hand proves that you are verified in COMPASS and your information is accurate. Private Landowners and other individuals exempt from hunting license requirements will need to obtain their DNRid Card to report deer and turkey harvest through COMPASS and the telephone system. Please follow these quick instructions for the option that best matches your scenario.

Enrollment is a one-time process, but if your information changes at any time you can update from your COMPASS account and then print a new DNRid Card. Additionally, the DNRid Card will always print with your license, so obtaining a fresh copy is convenient and always free. View our Tutorial before obtaining your DNRid Card!


If you have never purchased a Maryland Hunting or Fishing License previously, select either "I’ve never purchased a license from DNR" or "Create a New Account."

Then, complete our 5 step customer enrollment process, entering all required information.

The last step of new customer enrollment is the validation of your email address and activation of our COMPASS account. After you enter your email address and password, COMPASS will send a portal/account verification email to the email address you provided. This verification email will ask you to click on the provided link to activate your account.

Once active, you should login to COMPASS with your email address as your username and your created password to enter your home page. From your COMPASS home page, look for the ‘Downloads’ section and select DNRid Card, which is the first link. COMPASS will generate your DNRid Card for printing. Your DNRid card contains your DNRid number, any certifications and your name and address.


If you purchased a Maryland Hunting or Fishing License in the past 3 years, you will access COMPASS using your date of birth and one of the following:

  • Previous license (to reference the license number), or
  • Driver's license number (without dashes or spaces)

At the COMPASS portal login, select ‘Use Identification and Date of Birth’ to verify your information migrated over from our legacy systems and activate your COMPASS account. Upon confirmation of your email address and password, you will receive a verification email requesting you to click the provided link to activate your COMPASS account.

Once active, you should login to COMPASS with your email address as your username and your created password to enter your home page. From your COMPASS home page, look for the ‘Downloads’ section and select DNRid Card, which is the first link. COMPASS will generate your DNRid Card for printing. Your DNRid card contains your DNRid number, any certifications and your name and address.


If you already have a COMPASS account:

  • Login with your username (registered email) and password; or

At the COMPASS portal login, select either ‘Use my Login and Password’ to access your COMPASS account. From your COMPASS home page, look for the ‘Downloads’ section and select DNRid Card, which is the first link. COMPASS will generate your DNRid Card for printing. Your DNRid card contains your DNRid number, any certifications and your name and address.

When you are ready, browse to COMPASS to Get Your DNRid Card


Why We Ask for Social Security Information

The federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 requires that states establish procedures under which the state has authority to withhold, suspend, or restrict the issuance and use of licenses when individuals have unresolved debt or other court actions related to paternity or child support proceedings.

In response to the very real possibility of losing millions in federal funding, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB 115 in 2003, which requires the collection of Social Security numbers upon the issuance of recreational fishing licenses. The requirement to collect Social Security numbers from hunting license applicants dates to the early 1990s.

Statutory and regulatory requirements to collect the Social Security number:

    Annotated Code of Maryland
        Natural Resources Article
            §10-301(e) – hunting
            §4-205(l)(1) – recreational fishing
        Family Law Article
            §10-119.3 – commercial fishing

The department’s new COMPASS licensing system is convenient and secure. The Department’s COMPASS enrollment process asks for the customer’s personal information only once. The customer receives a DNR id card that identifies them as a Department of Natural Resources customer. The unique DNRid# displayed on the card is the consistent way for department associates and sport license agents to accurately identify a customer within the system and to promptly provide the items they wish to purchase.