Record number of black bears harvested in western Maryland
Favorable weather conditions and increased hunting opportunities in western Mar yland enabled hunters to achieve a record harvest in the 2016 Maryland Black Bear Hunt as the season came to a close Thursday, Oct. 27.
A total of 167 bears were reported to mandatory check-in stations.
The harvest total was 72 more than the previous record set in 2015 (95 bears).
John Kennedy, of Flintstone, took the largest bear of the 2016 hunting season, a 559-pound male.
“We are thrilled with another record hunting season and view it as further evidence that the department is managing the black bear population effectively,” said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto. “With such a healthy bear population throughout western Maryland, this hunt is an essential tool used to slow the growth of the expanding bear population.”
New this year, hunters were allowed to hunt bears in all four western Maryland counties: Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington.
Some statistics from this year’s hunt:
167 bears reported
30 from Allegany County 3 from Frederick County 126 from Garrett County 8 from Washington County 142 pounds, average weight of the bears
58 percent of the bears were taken on private land
5,547 hunters applied for a hunting permit
1,708 hunters participated in the hunt ** * Fishing report Cooler air temperatures have returned and water temperatures continue their decline. Fish are feeling the urge to feast as they prepare for the winter months, so it’s an ideal time to get out and fish, that is, when you’re not hunting.
In the middle Chesapeake Bay region, fishing for striped bass has picked up again. This is the time of the year to be watching for birds and slicks, indicating feeding fish. Jigging with lures like Stingsilvers is one of the most effective ways to fish for stripers in the fall. There have been a lot of sub-legal striped bass in the tidal rivers but often a better grade of fish can be found out toward the bay. The mouth of Eastern Bay near Poplar Island, Thomas Point, outside of West River, Little Choptank, and the False Channel at the mouth of the Choptank have been good places to check. A few sea trout have also been part of the mix when jigging. A good running tide is important.
Trolling can be a good option along channel edges and anywhere slicks can be spotted. Bucktails dressed with twister tails, spoons, and swim shads are good choices behind inline weights. Umbrella rigs are also productive but add to the weight of gear that must be reeled in with a fish.
Most rockfish seem to have moved from the shallower shoreline areas now that water temperatures approach the 60-degree mark. In some areas where the shoreline waters are deeper, casting crankbaits, jerkbaits, or soft plastic swim shads can produce a couple of legal-sized striped bass in the early morning or evening hours. White perch have also moved to deeper waters and can be found holding over oyster bottom.
Farther south, striped bass can be found chasing schools of bay anchovies and small menhaden throughout the region from the Potomac River to Tangier Sound. Many of the fish on the surface tend to be sub-legal but larger fish can often be found suspended near channel edges or below the surface-feeding smaller fish. The channel edges in the lower Potomac have been a good place to jig, as have channel edges along the western shore of the bay and Tangier Sound up to Hooper’s Island. Trolling can be very effective in these same areas or anywhere slicks can been found. Bucktails dressed with twister tails, spoons, and swim shads are all good choices to troll behind inline weights.
There are still crabs to be caught in the lower sections of the tidal rivers in all regions of the bay. You have to go deep for them. Using collapsible crab traps makes it easy and you can go out later in the day when it is warmer.
Freshwater fishing could hardly be any better as most fish species feel the urge to actively feed throughout most of the day due to cool water temperatures. The October trout stocking program is still going strong.
Our Eastern Shore tidal rivers are providing some excellent fishing for largemouth bass with the added bonus of northern snakeheads when fishing shallow near grass and wood. Crappie will begin to school up in the tidal rivers near marina docks and fallen tree tops.
On the Atlantic Coast, boats heading to the inshore shoal areas and the wreck and reef sites are catching limits of flounder. The sea bass season opened up again on Oct. 22 and some ver y nice fish are now being landed as a nice addition to the flounder catches. *** Duck blind know-it-all A University of Georgia study from 2000 showed that does— not bucks — were the most frequent visitors to scrapes. Follow me on Twitter @csknauss. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org