Migratory bird hunting seasons pending final approval
After receiving and reviewing public input, the Department of Natural Resources has selected the 2016-2017 migratory game bird hunting seasons. As the last step in the process, the recommendations are now pending final approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Highlights of the recommendations include:
• Youth waterfowl hunting days on Nov. 5 and Feb. 11;
• Regular duck hunting season segments from Oct. 15-22, Nov. 12-25 and Dec. 13-Jan. 28, with a daily-bag limit of six, including two canvasbacks;
• Migratory Atlantic Population Canada goose hunting segments from Nov. 19-25 and Dec. 16-Feb. 4, with a daily-bag limit of two;
• The special season for sea ducks in the designated zone from Nov. 5-Jan. 13; and
• Mourning dove season segments from Sept. 1-Oct. 8, Oct. 21-Nov. 19, and Dec. 17-Jan. 7.
The complete list of recommended migratory game bird seasons can be found on the DNR website and, once finalized, will appear in the 2016-2017 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping and on the department’s hunting webpage.
*** Diseased deer The DNR has received laboratory confirmation that five white-tailed deer harvested in Allegany County tested positive for chronic wasting disease, a neurological disease in deer, bringing the total overall cases to 11. Four of the five deer were harvested in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area (the eastern one-third of the county). The other deer was taken near Cumberland, marking the first documented case outside of the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area.
“Chronic wasting disease is an unfortunate but inevitable reality for a small amount of deer in western Maryland,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Given that this disease is now present in the region, our wildlife biologists will continue to work diligently to document and monitor its presence, which, so far, has been limited to Allegany County. We urge citizens to only consume the meat of deer that appear healthy.”
Concerns over the disease should not stop anyone from hunting deer or enjoying venison. There is no evidence the disease can be transmitted to humans, livestock, or other animals. It is recommended hunters avoid consuming the meat of sick animals as well as the brain, spinal column or lymph nodes of deer — all of which are normally removed during the butchering process.
*** Wye, Miles pumpout The DNR secured federal funding for a new pumpout boat that will service boaters on the Wye and Miles rivers. The vessel will join two other public-service pumpout boats, which serve Annapolis and Shady Side.
The lower Wye River is a popular anchorage but currently has no marinas or pumpout stations. The Miles River and St. Michaels Harbor see thousands of boats each summer and, although they have several fixed pumpout stations, this vessel will provide boaters another convenient waste disposal service.
Purchased used for $40,000, the boat has been refurbished with a new outboard engine and new pump. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service covered 75 percent of the cost with funding from the Clean Vessel Act, with the remaining 25 percent provided by the MidShore Riverkeeper Conservancy. Owned and managed by the conservancy, it will operate weekends and holidays from May 14 through Oct. 16.
The vessel will make its debut at the annual Blessing of the Fleet event on April 14 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which will provide free dockage to the boat.
*** Fishing report The weather is getting milder and there are plenty of fish to catch. There has been a fair amount of striped bass catch-andrelease action in the Susquehanna Flats area as water temperatures slowly increase. Most all of the striped bass being caught are males with some exceeding 30 inches or better. Soft plastic jigs and crankbaits tend to be the most popular choices for lures.
White perch can be caught in the lower sections of the upper bay’s tidal rivers. The perch tend to be in deeper waters, so bottom rigs and bait are a good choice, but if fishing from a boat, a sinker and two dropper flies or small jigs can be very effective. It does not hurt to tip the flies or jigs with a piece of bloodworm or a small slice of fresh minnow to make the rig a little more attractive to the perch.
In the middle-bay region, striped bass are moving up toward the spawning reaches in the Nanticoke and Choptank Rivers. The male fish have been in place and the largest females are now arriving in the spawning reaches. Anglers are reminded these areas in the tidal rivers are strictly off limits to catch-and-release striped bass fishing.
Largemouth bass are moving into transition areas leading to shallower areas where spawning occurs. This is particularly true in ponds and small lakes where water temperatures are creeping up into the mid-50’s. In tidal rivers the largemouth bass can be found staging at the mouths of feeder creeks and coves. Casting jigs and small crankbaits near sunken cover in these areas is a good bet.
Fishing for channel catfish in the tidal rivers of the Chesapeake
Bay could hardly be better. Water temperatures have warmed up and the catfish are very active. Most any kind of fresh cut bait or chicken livers is a good choice for baits.
Ocean City area fishing is slowly coming to life as near-shore water temperatures creep to the 50-degree mark. In the surf there are a few short stripers being caught along with a lot of spiny dogfish. At the inlet the first tautog of the season are being caught at the south jetty and bulkhead areas inside the inlet. Sand fleas and pieces of crab have been the preferred baits and the bottom of an ebb tide tends to offer the best fishing. In the back-bay areas near the Rt. 90 and Verrazano bridges there is some fun action for short striped bass. Outside the inlet at the wreck and reef sites, boats are finding fair action for tautog.
*** Duck blind know-it-all Peanut butter can be converted into a diamond.
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