Maryland Mentored Hunt Program


First Shot Turkey HuntThe Mentored Hunt Program aims to teach first-time hunters and lapsed hunters a new set of skills, whether it be hunting techniques or how to hunt specific species.

The program pairs skilled veteran hunters with first-time or lapsed hunters (mentees) and walks them through a series of technical lectures that cover a range of topics including firearm safety, hunting tips and hunting techniques and strategies, as well as providing range time to help the mentee begin their journey into hunting.

Throughout the program, staff and members from the partnering agencies and organizations all contribute their collective resources and knowledge to make the program as encompassing as possible.

From the moment the mentee is selected into the program, they are paired with a mentor. From there, the mentor and mentee can take the opportunity to meet in person, text, call or email each other (whichever they prefer) to talk about any questions or concerns the mentee may have.

The goal of the program, and the job of the mentor and all the partners, is to guide the mentee on their journey into hunting and make sure the mentee becomes as prepared as possible when they leave the program.

First Shot Turkey Hunt 

Why do we need a program like this?

Isn’t hunting an American tradition that is passed down from generation to generation? A recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey showed that fewer than 5% of Americans, 16 years of age and older, actually hunt. This is alarming because it is less than half of what it was 50 years ago and is not showing any signs of reversing direction on its own. Over half of the current hunters in the United States are over 45 years old, with 38% of those being over 55 years old. Many hunters hang up their boots as they begin to age, which leaves a major deficit. Conservation agencies depend on money generated from license fees and excise taxes on firearms and ammunition to manage wildlife, all wildlife, not just game species. Hunters spend approximately $26 billion dollars a year, with a large portion of that being distributed to state wildlife agencies. A decline in hunters means a decline in dollars from hunters, which leads to a decline in funding. All of which spells trouble for hunting and other conservation and management activities.

First Shot Turkey HuntIt is imperative that the trend be reversed and agencies must find new ways to bring attention and new hunters to the sport. It is time to adjust how and who we market to as conservation agencies because, just as the United States becomes more diverse, so must hunting. The female population is grossly under-represented with only 10% of all hunters being women. 97% of all hunters are white and the majority have a median household income of $40,000-$100,000. It is glaringly obvious that a massive portion of our population is untapped and we hope programs like the Mentored Hunt Program will help to introduce people from all walks of life to hunting as a means of gathering food and, ultimately, a lifestyle. We are surrounded by sustainable local food sources that many folks do not think about; wild game is the ultimate field to table food source.​

  Apply now to become a Mentor 

 ​Apply now to become a Mentee 

If you have any questions about the Maryland Mentored Hunt Program, please contact Chris Markin at

Stocked Pheasant Hunts- November 20-21, 2021

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be offering “do-it-yourself” hunts for stocked pheasants. Apprentice license holders, junior license holders, new hunters and hunters who have previously held a Maryland hunting license, but have let it lapse are eligible to apply. The pheasant hunts will take place on public lands across the state on November 20 and 21, 2021.

Check back for application information, dates, locations and other resources as they become available.


  • Who may apply?
    Any youth (junior) hunter, apprentice hunter or lapsed hunter. A lapsed hunter is one who has held a MD hunting license in the past, but has not purchased a hunting license for any three of the last five years.
  • When does the lottery open and close?
    The 2021 Stocked Pheasant Hunt Lottery will be open to receive applications July 1, 2021 through October 15, 2021.
  • Is this a guided hunt?
    No, this is a “do-it-yourself” hunt. All participants will supply their own gear and firearms and be expected to have the necessary hunting license.
  • Can I bring a parent or friend?
    Friends, family or mentors may accompany the selected participant, but only the individual chosen in the lottery is able to carry and use a firearm.
  • How will I be notified if I am selected?
    Selected applicants will be listed on this webpage by their DNRId by October 25, 2021.
  • Who may I contact if I have additional questions?
    You may contact Chris Markin at for any additional questions or concerns.
  • How to Apply for the Stocked Pheasant Hunts

    In order to apply to participate in the stocked pheasant hunts, taking place on November 20-21, 2021, you will need to log in to your Compass​ account and enter the lottery. If you do not have a Compass account, you will need to create one. There is no charge to create an account and there is no charge to apply for the pheasant hunt lottery or participate in the stocked pheasant hunts.

    You will be able to select a first, second and third choice for the area you want to hunt, but you will only be able to select one day. You will not be able to apply to hunt both days since space is limited at each of the areas. The entire Wildlife Management Area (WMA), or state forest, will not be open to pheasant hunting, but we will provide you with a map showing the general area where the pheasants are stocked and the area(s) where you can hunt. Each area will be clearly signed the day of the hunt.

    Once you have logged into Compass, please follow these steps to complete your application to enter the lottery for the stocked pheasant hunts:

    • Log in to Compass with existing account or create a new account
    • Select “Purchase New License.”
    • Select “Hunting.”
    • Select “2021 Pheasant Hunt Lottery Entry.”
    • At the top of the page, select “Add item to cart.”
    • At top of page, select “Proceed to checkout.”
    • One next page, select “Checkout.”
    • Answer pheasant hunt survey questions.
    • Select “Checkout” at the end of the survey.
    • Print receipt.

Selection Procedure

Participants will be selected at random from all eligible applicants. In order to be eligible, you must be a youth (junior) hunter, apprentice hunter or a lapsed hunter. A lapsed hunter is one who has held a MD hunting license in the past, but has not purchased a hunting license for any three of the last five years. The deadline to apply to participate in the stocked pheasant hunts is October 15, 2021. After that date, a random drawing will be held and selected applicants will be listed on this webpage by their DNRId by October 25, 2021.


Upcoming Events​

**During these unprecendented times, we implore all participants to follow the most up to date guidance from the State in order to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing video meetings, email, text and phone calls will help to reduce risk. Practicing social distancing and masks when meeting in person in the outdoors is another way for participants to mitigate risk while still taking opportunity of the program and events.**​​​

First Shot Mentored Deer Hunt

When: October 29 or 30, 2021
Where: Dorchester County, MD (Blackwater NWR and surrounding areas)
Who: New hunters (ages 18 and older)
Application deadline: September 20, 2021

Apply Here

Contact Chris Markin at for any questions regarding this event.

The First Shot Mentored Deer Hunt is intended to introduce first time adult hunters (18 and older) that do not otherwise have the skill set or knowledge to hunt deer on their own and would like to learn and hunt with skilled veteran hunters. Space is limited and participants will be selected via random lottery. Selected participants will be paired with an experienced hunter to learn pre-hunt skills and culminating in the hunt. Selected participants will be required to attend a “Virtual Orientation” prior to the hunt. More details can be found on the application.

Mentored Pheasant Hunt

When: November 6 or 7, 2021
Where: Wild Wings Hunting Preserve, Friendsville, MD
Who: Youth (Junior) Hunters, Apprentice License Holders, Lapsed Hunters (ages 13 and older)
Application deadline: October 1, 2021

Apply here

Contact Clarissa Harris at for any questions regarding the event.

The Mentored Pheasant Hunt event is designed to be an introduction to pheasant hunting for youth, new and lapsed hunters (13 and older). The event will include firearm safety, pheasant hunting techniques, a hunt with experienced hunters and dogs and lunch. Qualifying participants will be selected via random lottery to hunt one of the two event days. Selected participants will need to provide their own shotgun or inform staff that they need to borrow a shotgun prior to the event. More details can be found on the application.