Record num­ber of black bears har­vested in west­ern Mary­land

Record Observer - - Sports -

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 ck­nauss@star­


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