Early deer harvest down, turkey numbers about the same
Maryland hunters wrapped up the early portion of the archery and muzzleloader deer seasons by harvesting an estimated 19,859 deer in September and October, a 14 percent decrease from last year’s harvest of 23,097.
Department biologists attribute the decrease to various factors, including lower deer numbers, abundant mast (fruit or seed of woody trees and shrubs), and decreased effort due to poor weather conditions.
The two-month har vest included 12,269 deer taken during the archery season (6,833 taken with vertical bows and 5,436 taken with crossbows) and 7,275 harvested during the October muzzleloader season. An additional 315 deer were reported during managed deer hunts. Hunters harvested 497 antlered and 534 antlerless sika deer.
The archer y harvest decreased 7 percent while the muzzleloader harvest decreased 25 percent, primarily due to unfavorable weather during key hunting days. Compared to last year, the antlered har vest decreased 17 percent from 7,649 to 6,350 deer and the antlerless har vest decreased 13 percent from 15,448 to 13,509.
Turkey hunters reported taking 119 wild turkeys (Allegany County 35; Garrett 51; Washington 33) during the one week fall season that ended Nov. 5. The harvest was similar to last year (116).
** * What’s up with
our fisheries The Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland will host a free Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Symposium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the CBF Merrill Center in Annapolis.
Topics will include information on upcoming menhaden management changes and why ecosystem based management is the best way to achieve sustainability for “the most important fish in the sea.”
Capt. John McMurray (nycflyfishing.com) will talk fishing and share his views on managing our resources for the benefit of recreational fisheries. And he will include an update on various issues he is working on as a Mid-Atlantic Council member and proxy to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The symposium will also review the status of striped bass and include information about habitat restoration and education work that CCA Maryland is working on now.
A free lunch and refreshments are included for all attendees. Costa sunglasses has graciously provided support for the event. You can register online at ccamd.org.
* * * Fishing report At the very top of the Chesapeake region, striped bass have been biting well in the lower Susquehanna River and channel areas beyond the mouth of the river. A good number of the fish are well over the 20inch minimum and topwater lures have been working in the mornings on the river. Jigging has been a good choice later in the day in the channels and deeper areas.
Stripers are spread throughout the entire upper Chesapeake region and can be found in the tidal rivers and out in the bay near deeper channel edges. Light-tackle jigging with metal or large soft plastic jigs is a good way to target suspended fish when they can be found under birds or spotted on a depth finder. Trolling with heavy inline weights is another way to target fish holding deep along channel edges. Bucktails dressed with a twister tail, Storm type swim shads, spoons, and surgical tube lures are all good choices for trolling.
Anglers casting topwater lures and finding action in the tidal rivers early in the morning and also jigging along channel edges when fish move deeper. Sublegal-sized rockfish tend to dominate the surface action, but larger fish can be found deep underneath the action or on the outside edges and again deep. The mouth of Eastern Bay and the Choptank and Little Choptank have all been good places to search for fish. Farther south the Hooper’s Island area and the mouths of the Nanticoke, Wicomico, and Pocomoke all have fish feasting on bait exiting the rivers.
Fishing for largemouth bass in tidal rivers and ponds is also very good right now and the action can continue throughout the day. Bass are very active and feeling the need to fatten up. There is topwater action in the morning hours and evening hours and good fishing in the intermediate or transition zones that are slightly deeper. Panfish, crappie, and snakeheads also might be in the mix of feeding fish depending on your location. Crankbaits, jigs, and soft craws are good choices when fishing close to the bottom.
On the Atlantic coast, fall migrant striped bass are showing up along the beaches of New Jersey and should arrive for surf anglers on our beaches soon. Sea bass fishing has been excellent on the onshore wreck and reef sites and farther out to some sites beyond the 30-fathom line. Flounder also have been in the mix. * * * Duck blind know-it-all Birds take in oxygen even during exhalation. Follow me on Twitter @csknauss. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org