Fine weather greets hunters on opening day of deer season
Firearms season for deer is open now in Mar yland and runs through Dec. 10. Hunters may use firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during this season.
With the overall fine weather across the state on opening day, and judging from the amount of discharges near where I was perched, hunters should do their part to manage the state’s deer population this season.
As Paul Peditto of the DNR says: “The two-week firearm season is our most popular hunting opportunity. Not only is the harvest over this period a critical part of the department’s deer management program, it also allows hunters to spend time outdoors with family and friends after the holidays.”
The bag limits for the season are:
Statewide: One antlered white-tailed deer. Three sika deer, no more than one antlered.
Region A: One antlerless white-tailed deer. Antlerless deer season is open Dec. 9-10 on private land and Dec. 10 on public land. Hunters may only take two antlerless deer total for the license year.
Region B (our region): Ten antlerless white-tailed deer. One bonus antlered white-tailed may be taken per year during a weapon season of the hunter’s choice. A hunter must first take two antlerless whitetailed deer and purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp before taking a second antlered deer. New this year: • Sika deer season is open in all counties.
• Hunters in Caroline County may use a rifle or handgun during the firearm seasons.
An antler-point restriction for white-tailed deer remains in place. Hunters may harvest up to two antlered deer per license year, which have two or fewer points on each antler present. Any additional antlered deer taken within the legal seasons and bag limits must have at least three points on one antler. Licensed junior hunters are exempt from the restriction.
Hunters who use tree stands are strongly advised to wear a full-body safety harness, which should be secured at all times, including while climbing up or down the stand. Using a sliding knot, commonly known as a prussic knot, attached to a line that is tied above the tree stand provides a secure attachment when leaving the ground and when returning.
* * * Menhaden PID The Atlantic coastal states of Maine through Florida have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on the Public Information Document (PID) for Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden.
Maryland’s DNR will host its meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at Calvary United Methodist Church, 301 Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis.
Fisheries managers are seeking input from people interested in Atlantic menhaden. The PID presents tools to manage menhaden using ecological reference points and provides options to allocate the resource among the states, regions, and user groups.
The PID can be found on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Web site.
Public comment will be accepted until 5 p.m. on January 4.
* * * Fisheries symposium The Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland will host a free Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Symposium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the CBF Merrill Center in Annapolis.
Topics will include information about 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. He will
include an update on issues he is working on as a MidAtlantic Council member and proxy to the ASMFC.
The symposium will also review the status of striped bass, and include information about habitat restoration and education work that CCA Mar yland is working on now.
A free lunch and refreshments are included for all attendees. Costa sunglasses has graciously provided funding for the event.
You can register online at ccamd.org.
* * * Fishing report The cold front that clobbered us with gale-force winds and cold temperatures sadly claimed the lives of three anglers returning from fishing in the MSSA Chesapeake Bay Fall Classic.
The men were aboard Reel Intimidator on the Potomac River on Saturday, Nov. 19, when according to the lone sur vivor, 39-year-old Jason Downing of Mechanicsville, the hull split at the rub rail on the bow and took on water; all the anglers were wearing life jackets.
After coming to the scene of the submerged boat near White Point Beach, rescue crews found Downing on top of the hull. Boat owner, 55-year-old Gregor y Moore, of Mechanicsville, and 48-year-old William Edelen Jr., of White Plains, were initially missing from the scene, but were found a short time later.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for the body of 52-year-old Roger Dale Grissom of Hughesville.
Before the big winds, John Weber weighed in a 55.3-pound striper on Friday that ended up being the tournament winner, which paid $24,205. On Saturday, Chad Moore caught a 45-pounder to win $10,605, and Frank Delph caught a 36-pounder to win $7,070.
Fishing opportunities remain when the weather cooperates, but action will likely diminish with colder water temperatures as bait heads down the bay and fish start to hunker down in the deepest areas.
The Bay Bridge continues to hold a mix of striped bass and white perch near the deeper parts of the rock piles and pylons. Vertical jigging is a good to target these fish and it will take some weight to get to them when the current is running strong. Below the bridge there are white perch and striped bass holding along some of the deeper edges of the main shipping channel and to a lesser extent the channels at the mouths of the major tidal rivers.
There are a lot of small fish spread throughout the region and it can be tough at times to find a nice grade of fish. Jigging deep will continue to be a fun way to fish but trolling can also be very effective. It takes a lot of weight to get tandemrigged bucktails down to where the fish are holding.
On the freshwater scene, largemouth bass are taking advantage of small baitfish and crayfish losing cover and headed for deep structure for the winter months. Hair jigs, tubes, soft plastic craws on a jig head, small crankbaits, basically anything that looks like a crayfish is a good bet when worked close to the bottom.
On the Atlantic Coast, water temperatures are dropping fast and surf anglers were patiently waiting for the main body of migrating striped bass to arrive from New England waters. Large bluefish are also part of the fall migration and will soon start showing up at the sea bass fishing sites and should be found on the inshore shoal areas and surf zones soon.
*** Duck blind know-it-all Researchers have proven that the Common Swift (Apus apus), a mediumsized bird, can remain airborne for 10 months.
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