Breech-loading rifle now OK to hunt deer in Caroline County
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.
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.
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.
Duck blind know-it-all Frigatebirds, seagoing fliers with a 6-foot wingspan, can stay aloft for weeks at a time.