Now’s the time to register for hunter education course
The facts prove that hunting is one of the safest recreational activities in America. That’s because today’s hunters are better educated than ever before. They’re going into the field knowing how to hunt safely and responsibly — a knowledge offered by hunter education courses.
Now’s the time to register for a course. Most courses are offered in the late summer and early fall prior to the start of hunting seasons, and they do fill up. The DNR’s volunteer instructors are also dedicated hunters and prefer to be in the woods than in the classroom during hunting season. Some courses are also offered in the spring prior to spring turkey season. Volunteer instructors schedule each course. Some are completed in a weekend, while others may take several week nights and a day during the weekend to complete.
Complete information is available on the DNR website, but here’s an overview of the basic course and a list of a few upcoming classes in our area.
The goals of Maryland’s Hunter Education Programs include a reduction of hunting accidents and violations; promotion of safe, responsible, and knowledgeable hunting activities; and continuation of the traditions of the hunting experience.
In 1966 Maryland started with a voluntary program of hunter education. In 1977, the Maryland legislature made it mandatory for all first-time hunters to complete a hunter education course. The DNR now has more than 1,100 volunteer instructors teaching over 250 hunter education courses each year. Over 8,000 people take the Maryland Hunter Education Course every year.
The Maryland Hunter Education Course is a minimum of 10 hours in length. Most classes run 12-14 hours. Students must attend all sessions of the class to pass. Most courses require that youngsters under the age of 14 attend with a participating adult.
The course includes instruction in hunter responsibility, firearms and ammunition, firearm handling and safety, marksmanship and shooting fundamentals, principles of wildlife management, bowhunting, muzzleloader hunting, tree stand safety, safety and first aid, water safety, and Maryland legal requirements.
In order to pass the course, students must pass a 50-question multiple choice test with a grade of 80 percent, demonstrate to the instructor that they can safely handle a firearm through practical exercises, and participate in live firing. Students must also be recommended by the instructor to obtain certification by
demonstrating responsibility and the maturity to be a safe, responsible, and ethical hunter.
Upcoming local face-to-face hunting education courses will be offered at the following places. Registration is available online on the DNR’s web page.
Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, Centreville, 7-9 p.m., August 1-3; 9 a.m. to noon, August 6; 7-9 p.m., August 8-10. Instructor: Bernard Dadds.
Chestertown Fire Department, Chestertown, 6-9 p.m., August 9, 11, 16, 18; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., August 20. Instructor: Russel Parson.
Caroline County 4-H Center, Denton, 7-9:30 p.m., August 15, 19, 22, 26. Instructor: Robert Fletcher.
The Maryland Hunter Education Program also offers two programs for Independent Study. The Internet Based Course and Home Workbook Course. Once students successfully complete the independent study course, they must complete a mandatory one-day Hunter Education Field Day Workshop, which includes lectures, hunter safety skills demonstration, range skills demonstration, live firing, and a final exam in order to complete all state requirements.
The Talbot Rod and Gun Club on Chapel Road in Easton will host a Hunter Education Internet Field Day from 9 a.m. to noon on August 13. All registrants for the event must be 13 years of age by August 13, 2016. The instructor is Ricky Morris. The class will be part of an all-day event sponsored by the Maryland Waterfowlers and will include many activities introducing new hunters to waterfowl hunting.
*** Fishing report White perch fishing continues to be good in most of the upper bay’s tidal rivers and creeks. The early mornings and evenings have been offering good white perch fishing for those casting beetle-spins, spinners, and small jigs along shoreline structure. White perch can be found deeper during daytime bright sun and heat. Rigs with dropper flies or bait will lure fish in deeper waters.
The chumming fleets for striped bass continue to anchor along the channel edges from Sandy Point to above Baltimore Light as well as the Love Point and Swan Point areas. Most boats are chumming and drifting cut baits back into the chum slicks, but chunking can also be a good option as well as live lining small white perch; an ebbing tide tends to offer the best action.
Stripers also can be found in many other locations along 30-foot or better channel edges in the upper bay for those seeking a little elbow room. When fish are spotted on a depth finder, jigging can be a satisfying way to catch fish. Trolling is also an option with umbrella rigs behind inline weights or small spoons behind planers often a good way to catch a nice grade of striped bass with a few bluefish thrown in for good measure.
The shallow water fishery for rockfish continues to be good with a few adjustments as water temperatures climb into the mid-80s. The early morning bite tends to be over as soon as the sun breaks the horizon and the evening bite starts a little later than it did a month ago. Topwater poppers tend to be the most popular way to fish near shoreline structure, but swim shads work well when the water is a little deeper. Eastern Bay, Kent Narrows, Poplar Island, and most of the larger tidal rivers and creeks all offer fishing opportunities.
Farther south, cobia fishing opportunities are better than has been seen for a long time. Most are being caught by chumming and chunking at the area around the Target Ship, the Mud Leads, the Middle Grounds and south near Smith Point and the Cut Channels.
On the Atlantic Coast, kingfish are being caught on bloodworms or Fishbites, small bluefish on finger mullet, and flounder on squid. A few larger bluefish are being caught on cut menhaden baits but most of the takers are sting rays, dogfish, and inshore sharks.
At the wreck and reef sites there is a mix of sea bass, triggerfish, and flounder being caught. Farther offshore there is good chunking action for a mix of bluefin and yellowfin tuna at the Hot Dog, Jack Spot, Massey’s Canyon, and the Lumpy Bottom. Out at the Washington and Poorman’s Canyons there is a mix of bluefin, yellowfin, dolphin and white marlin. *** Duck blind know-it-all An Anishinaabe word, “puhpowee” means the power that causes a mushroom to rise up from the earth overnight. Follow me on Twitter @csknauss Email me at email@example.com