Breech-load­ing ri­fle now OK to hunt deer in Caro­line County

Record Observer - - Sports - CHRIS KNAUSS

The 2016-17 Mary­land Hunt­ing and Trap­ping Guide is now avail­able and in­cludes a few no­table lo­cal changes to last sea­son’s reg­u­la­tions.

At the re­quest of the Caro­line County Com­mis­sion­ers, breechload­ing ri­fles will be al­lowed to hunt deer in Caro­line County dur­ing the statewide deer firearms sea­sons.

Sika deer hunt­ing is no longer re­stricted to Caro­line, Dorch­ester, Som­er­set, Tal­bot, Wi­comico, and Worces­ter coun­ties.

The max­i­mum age for hunters par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Youth Water­fowl Hunt­ing Days has been in­creased from 15 to 16 years of age.

Other state changes in­clude:

The black bear hunt­ing area has been ex­panded to in­clude all of Fred­er­ick and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties. Bear hunt­ing will now be open in Al­le­gany, Fred­er­ick, Gar­rett and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties by per­mit only. The per­mits will con­tinue to be is­sued by a lot­tery.

Dur­ing the fall turkey sea­son it will not be con­sid­ered to be hunt­ing with the aid of bait if a hunter and any turkey that hunter shoots at are at least 150 yards from any bait the hunter knows or should have known is present.

Bob­white quail sea­son

has been short­ened on DNR owned or con­trolled lands.

Sev­eral changes have been made in re­sponse to the grow­ing num­ber of white-tailed deer test­ing pos­i­tive for chronic wast­ing dis­ease in western Mary­land. Com­plete in­for­ma­tion is avail­able on the DNR web­site.

Leg­is­la­tion passed dur­ing the 2016 Gen­eral Assem­bly also cre­ated these other changes for hunters in Mary­land:

The safety zone for archery hunters was changed to 50 yards in Calvert and St. Mary’s coun­ties and 100 yards in Anne Arun­del County. In Har­ford County, the safety zone for archers is now 50 yards; how­ever, archers must use a tree stand when hunt­ing within 50 to 100 yards of an oc­cu­pied dwelling or other build­ing.

Sun­day hunt­ing has been added for turkey hunt­ing dur­ing the Ju­nior Hunt and spring sea­son in Car­roll County on pri­vate land only.

The penal­ties for killing white-tailed and sika deer il­le­gally were in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in an ef­fort to ad­dress poach­ing in Mar yland.

The fol­low­ing state parks will now re­quire hunters to ob­tain the Free Cen­tral Re­gion Pub­lic Hunt­ing Per­mit (Man­aged Deer Hunt­ing Pro­grams): Susque­hanna State Park, Pat­ap­sco Val­ley State Park, Mor­gan Run Nat­u­ral En­vi­ron­ment Area, Fair Hill Nat­u­ral Re­source Man­age­ment Area, and Elk Neck State Park.

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Qual­i­fi­ca­tion sched­ule re­leased The 2016-17 Shooter Qual­i­fi­ca­tion Sched­ule is now avail­able and in­cludes more than 30 firearm qual­i­fi­ca­tion ses­sions at 16 lo­ca­tions across the state, from Al­le­gany to Queen’s Anne County. These events al­low hunters to take the nec­es­sary pro­fi­ciency test re­quired to ob­tain a Shooter Qual­i­fi­ca­tion Card in or­der to par­tic­i­pate in many of the man­aged deer hunts sched­uled for the fall and win­ter.

Sev­eral lo­ca­tions are by ap­point­ment only and many charge a fee to cover ex­penses. A lot­tery sys­tem is used to se­lect par­tic­i­pants for many of the man­aged hunts. Dead­lines for the lot­tery can be found in the 2016-17 Guide to Hunt­ing and Trap­ping in Mary­land.

The DNR plans to up­date the shooter qual­i­fi­ca­tions cal­en­dar as ad­di­tional events be­come avail­able.

Lo­cally, the Del­marva Sports­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion, 816 Sudlersville Rd., Sudlersville, hosts qual­i­fi­ca­tion ses­sions by ap­point­ment only on week­days and evenings. For in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Wes Gro­gan at 302698-0840.

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Fish­ing re­port A large per­cent­age of the res­i­dent striped bass from the lower and mid­dle bay re­gions have moved into the up­per bay re­gion in the past cou­ple of weeks. They can be found spread out along the ship­ping chan­nel edges near Sandy Point Light, the mouth of the Magothy River, and the Love Point chan­nel edges. Chum­ming and chunk­ing tend to be the most pop­u­lar meth­ods of fish­ing.

For those who wish to skip the mess of ground up men­haden, jig­ging over a sus­pended school of fish can be a lot of fun on light tackle. Soft plas­tic jigs such as BKDs or Bass As­sas­sins have been fa­vorite jigs to use.

Trolling can also be ef­fec­tive to cover a lot of ter­ri­tory, just be care­ful to stay away from the chum­ming fleet. Um­brella rigs be­hind in­line weights with swim shads or buck­tails for trail­ers have been hard to beat. Small spoons be­hind plan­ers are a close sec­ond and tend to be eas­ier to reel in. A few al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions worth look­ing over are the mouth of Baltimore Har­bor, the Triple Buoys, Swan Point, and the HartMiller Is­land area, and the Bay Bridge piers al­ways seem to hold fish.

White perch fish­ing in the up­per bay has been good to ex­cel­lent in many of the tidal rivers and bay shore­lines as well as shoal ar­eas such as the Seven- and Nine-Foot Knolls and Man O War Shoals. Blood­worms or Fish­bites on a bot­tom rig are stan­dard fare when fish­ing some of the deeper ar­eas. Cast­ing to shore­line struc­ture with small jigs, spin­ners, and bee­tle-spins on ul­tra-light tackle of­fers a lot of fun. A good high tide ei­ther ebbing or flood­ing usu­ally of­fers the best op­por­tu­ni­ties and the same holds when cast­ing top­wa­ter lures for striped bass.

In the mid­dle bay re­gion striped bass are spread through­out the re­gion. They can be found along the ship­ping chan­nel edges along the western and eastern sides of the bay. The con­cen­tra­tions of fish are not what they were sev­eral weeks ago, but there are fish out.

Re­cre­ational crab­bing con­tin­ues to be ex­cel­lent in the tidal rivers of the mid­dle and lower bay re­gions.

On the fresh­wa­ter scene, fish­ing for large­mouth bass has slipped into a sum­mer mode where the bass are seek­ing cool shade dur­ing

the heat of the day and ven­tur­ing into shal­low feed­ing ar­eas in the evenings through the night and into the early morn­ing hours. Top­wa­ter lures such as frogs, buzzbaits, chat­ter­baits, and pop­pers can be ef­fec­tive. Tar­get­ing grass, lily pads, and spat­ter­dock are good choices as well as creek mouths and shal­low struc­ture such as fallen tree tops.

On the coast, surf an­glers are catch­ing a mix of king­fish, floun­der, and

blow­fish when us­ing small baits such as blood­worms or squid. Sea bass catches have been fair to good at the wreck and reef sites and floun­der are quickly be­com­ing part of the mix. Farther off­shore at the canyons there are a lot of small yel­lowfin tuna in the area of Poor­man’s Canyon down to the Wash­ing­ton Canyon. Mahi-mahi, big­eye tuna, and white mar­lin are also part of the mix.

Nine-year-old Emma Za­jdel was fish­ing with her dad Ed­die, Robert Clarke, and his son Ash­ton Clarke last Thurs­day, and on the way back to the dock from the Jackspot they spot­ted some bait­fish mov­ing about on the sur­face at Lit­tle Gull Shoal. They dropped in some al­ready rigged tuna baits and soon enough Emma be­gan to fight with a large fish. The re­sult was a 94.6-pound co­bia which, if the fish qual­i­fies, will break the cur­rent state record and the IGFA Small Fry World Record.

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Duck blind know-it-all Fri­gate­birds, seago­ing fliers with a 6-foot wing­span, can stay aloft for weeks at a time.

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