Public meeting on waterfowl seasons March 1 at Chesapeake College
The Department of Natural Resources will host a public meeting March 1 at 7 p.m. at Chesapeake College’s Wye Mills campus (Building No. 13) to review proposed waterfowl hunting seasons for 2017-2018.
The seasons will be finalized in early spring after the department reviews public input and obtains approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The public comment period will close at noon March 8.
“We look forward to reviewing public feedback from our waterfowl hunters and other citizens,” said Wildlife and Heritage Services Director Paul Peditto. “This input is always vital to helping us provide the best waterfowling opportunities in Mar yland.”
The proposed youth waterfowl hunting days are Nov. 4, 2017, and Feb. 10, 2018. The days are included to provide mentors for young hunters interested in waterfowl hunting.
The proposed regular duck season-opening split season would run Oct. 1421, 2017. The second and third split seasons would be Nov. 11-24, 2017 and Dec. 12, 2017-Jan. 27, 2018. The proposed bag limit for black ducks has been increased to two birds per day during the black duck season.
The proposed special sea duck season would run from Nov. 4, 2017, to Jan. 12, 2018. Federal regulations for the special sea duck season call for a maximum season length of 60 days for the 2017-2018 season.
The proposed Atlantic Population (migrant) Canada goose season will be split into its traditional two segments, Nov. 18-24, 2017 and Dec. 15, 2017Feb. 3, 2018.
The proposed mourning dove season will run from Sept. 1-Oct. 14, 2017, followed by two additional splits, Oct. 26-Nov. 18, 2017, and Dec. 16, 2017Jan. 6, 2018.
Citizens unable to attend the meeting may comment online, by phone at 410260-8540, by fax at 410260-8596, or by writing to: Maryland Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife and Heritage Service, 580 Taylor Avenue, E-1, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401.
*** Deer totals Maryland hunters harvested 85,193 deer during the combined archery, muzzleloader, and firearm seasons (Sept. 9, 2016-Jan. 31, 2017), according to the DNR. The harvest exceeded the 2015-2016 total by more than 1,000 deer.
Included in the statewide total were 7,684 deer taken on Sundays open for deer hunting, representing an increase of 19 percent compared to last year.
The 2016-2017 statewide harvest included: 29,042 antlered and 53,318 antlerless white-tailed deer, and 1,284 antlered and 1,549 antlerless sika deer.
The harvest in deer management Region A (Garrett, Allegany and western Washington counties) decreased 8 percent, from 9,190 to 8,490 deer this year. These hunters reported 5,067 antlered and 3,423 antlerless deer.
Hunters in Region B (the remainder of the state) harvested 76,703 deer, up 3 percent from last year’s 74,832. From this year’s total, 25,259 antlered and 51,444 antlerless deer were reported in this area.
Frederick County led the harvest totals again this year with 7,556 deer, followed by Carroll County at 5,663 and Baltimore County with 5,367. Counting sika deer, Dorchester County was third with 5,360 total. Montgomery and Washington counties rounded out the top six with 4,873 and 4,736 deer, respectively.
Mid-Shore totals were as follows:
Caroline: 918 antlered, 2,033 antlerless, 1 sika, 2,952 total
Dorchester: 896 antlered, 1,820 antlerless, 1,185 antlered sika, 1,459 antlerless, 5360 total
Kent: 1,232 antlered, 2,182 antlerless, 3,414 total
Queen Anne’s: 1,141 antlered, 2,583 antlerless, 3,724 total
Talbot: 812 antlered, 1,981 antlerless, 2,793 total
* * * Fishing report Mild weather opportunities are creating fine conditions for trout fishing across the state. The lower Susquehanna River near Perryville has been offering some of the most consistent yellow perch fishing. The perch tend to congregate in about 40 feet of water just below the Route 40 Bridge. Anglers are using a sinker with a Christmas tree type rig with two dropper flies or small soft plastic jigs in the 1/32 oz. to 1/8 oz. size category. Tipping the lures or flies with a small piece of cut minnow or a dip in your favorite fish attractant juice can often pay dividends.
Generally speaking, water temperatures between 48 and 54 degrees will show the greatest amount of spawning activity. Traditionally the tributaries on the western side of the bay will be a little warmer than similar waters on the eastern side of the bay at the same latitude. The surface water temperature at Hillsboro on the Tuckahoe River was recently 41 degrees.
The 2013, 2014, and 2015 were good year classes of yellow perch and the 2011 year class of yellow perch was a dominant year class. It takes about three years for a yellow perch to reach 9 inches so the 2011 year class should provide some nice yellow perch in the 12-inch or better size range.
Chain pickerel are comfortable in cold water and are eager to chase down most any offering coming their way in tidal waters or lakes and ponds these days. Crappie are also active but tend to hold close to structure in deeper waters as are largemouth bass. Small jigs or minnows will work well for crappie and bass may be enticed to bite on blade lures or soft plastic jigs worked slowly and close to the bottom.
* * * Duck blind know-it-all President Lincoln’s mother was killed by poisoned milk.
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