Early deer har­vest down, tur­key num­bers about the same

Record Observer - - Sports -

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 ck­nauss@star­dem.com


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