Unlocking Benefits: Are Veterans Eligible for a Free Fishing License in Maryland?

Do Veterans Get a Free Fishing License in Maryland?

The Benefits of Fishing for Veterans

Fishing has always been regarded as a popular recreational activity for people from all walks of life. It provides an opportunity to relax, unwind, and connect with nature. For veterans, fishing can also serve as a therapeutic outlet that aids in their physical and mental well-being. Recognizing the importance of supporting our nation’s heroes, many states have implemented special benefits for veterans ─ one such benefit being free or discounted fishing licenses. In this blog post, we will explore whether veterans are eligible for free fishing licenses in Maryland.

Understanding the Regulations

Before delving into whether veterans receive free fishing licenses in Maryland, it is essential to understand the regulations set forth by the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR regulates and manages all aspects related to hunting and fishing within Maryland.

Veterans’ Discount on Fishing Licenses

While Maryland does not currently offer completely free fishing licenses specifically designated for veterans, they do provide discounted rates as a token of appreciation for their service. Qualified resident veterans can obtain an annual tidal and non-tidal sportfishing license at half price when compared to regular fees.

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for this discounted rate on fishing licenses, residents must meet certain requirements:

1. Residency: The veteran must be a legal resident of Maryland.
2. Military Service: The individual should have served honorably in any branch of the United States armed forces.


Proof-of-service documentation such as DD Form 214 or certification issued by the U.S Department
of Veteran Affairs is required while applying.

It’s important to note that non-resident military personnel stationed in Maryland are not eligible for these discounts and must pay regular license fees.

Obtaining a Discounted Fishing License

To obtain a discounted fishing license, veterans can apply in person or via mail. The DNR provides an online application system for convenience. This user-friendly platform allows applicants to submit the required documents electronically, making the process quick and hassle-free.

In-Person Application:

Veterans can visit any authorized sportfishing licensing agent within Maryland and present their proof-of-service documentation. After verification, they will be issued a discounted fishing license.

Mail-In Application:

Alternatively, veterans can complete the application form available on the DNR website, attach their proof-of-service documentation (photocopies are accepted), and send it by mail to the address mentioned on the form. Upon receiving and verifying all necessary documents, the DNR will issue a discounted fishing license through mail.

Additional Benefits for Veterans

While free or discounted fishing licenses offer significant advantages to veterans in Maryland, there are other benefits worth mentioning:

1. Accessible Fishing Piers: Maryland has numerous specially designed accessible piers that provide wheelchair access for disabled individuals ─ including veterans with mobility challenges.
2. Veteran-Friendly Events: Various veteran-focused events such as “Take a Veteran Fishing Day” are organized throughout Maryland each year. These events connect veterans with experienced anglers who volunteer their time to assist them in enjoying a day out on the water.


Keep an eye out for announcements from local organizations or check with community centers regarding upcoming events tailored towards honoring our nation’s heroes.

In conclusion, while free fishing licenses may not be available exclusively for veterans in Maryland at present, qualified resident veterans have access to heavily discounted rates when obtaining tidal and non-tidal sportfishing licenses from the state’s Department of Natural Resources. These discounted licenses, coupled with accessible fishing piers and various veteran-friendly events, demonstrate Maryland’s commitment to supporting its veterans in enjoying the therapeutic benefits of fishing.