Mi­gra­tory bird hunt­ing sea­sons pend­ing fi­nal ap­proval

Record Observer - - Sports -

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.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss Email me at

ck­nauss@star­dem.com

CHRIS KNAUSS

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