A cool start for hunting and a record sheepshead
Hunting season in Maryland got off to the coolest start that I’ve ever witnessed on Friday, which made for very favorable conditions for dove and resident goose gunners. Doves continued to test the patience and shotgunning skills of many of hunter afield on opening day including myself, but the ideal weather for the opener and not-that-horrible weather Saturday helped the doves move along and kept hunters thoroughly challenged. The first split of dove season runs through Oct. 14. There’s a second split Oct. 26-Nov. 18 and a third split Dec. 16-Jan. 6. I really enjoy dove hunting but I’ve never hunted doves much after the opening few days, so I’d be interested to know if many hunters around here have much success later on. The fall season is great here on the Shore and there are so many outdoor activities to pursue. Sometimes, it’s hard to pick what to do.
Resident Canada goose season runs through Sept. 15 in the Eastern Zone and to the 25th in the Western Zone. Hunters are allowed to use shotguns capable of holding more than three shot shells for resident goose hunting and shooting hours are extended to a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. Just make sure to put the plug back in if you use the same gun for dove hunting. Both days I hunted doves, an NRP officer checked for that and made sure I had my license. One officer had to check to make sure it was okay to use lead shot. While I was waiting for him to find the answer, a dove flew right over my head, just about the only bird that did that both days.
* * * Record sheepshead A Deal Island resident has set a new state fishing record in the Chesapeake Division for sheepshead. Dave Alveberg caught the 13.73-pound recordbreaking fish Aug. 17 in roughly four feet of water off South Marsh Island near Tangier Sound.
Intent on catching white perch and rockfish, Alveberg was using soft crab as bait when his line went “haywire.” After a brief struggle he pulled aboard the record sheepshead.
“Seeing something like this on my boat was amazing,” Alveberg said. He plans on getting his sheepshead mounted for display.
The sheepshead’s weight was confirmed by Brent Malone of How Sweet It Is, a market in Somerset County. The catch broke the previous record 13.3-pound fish caught by Dan Thomas in 2016.
*** Trapping course The DNR is offering a free class for anyone wanting to trap furbearers in the state. The class will take place Sept. 16, at Casselman Valley Sportsman’s Club, in Grantsville. Pre-registration is required.
Furbearers that can be trapped in Maryland include beaver, coyote, fisher, gray fox, longtailed weasel, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, raccoon, red fox, river otter, and skunk. All trappers must possess a Furbearer Permit and Certificate of Trapper Education.
Course participants must complete a Maryland Trapper Education Workbook before Sept. 16. The workbook is available online or at regional Wildlife and Heritage Service offices. For more information or to obtain a workbook, call 301-777-2136.
*** Fishing report Cooling temperatures should mean more hungry fish and anglers are catching striped bass in the midChesapeake by live-lining, trolling, and casting. The False Channel at the mouth of the Choptank River continues to be a hot spot for live-lining spot for striped bass. Breaking fish are being spotted from Kent Island south to the Choptank mouth on the Shore and at Tolley Point, Thomas Point, and West River mouth on the Western side. There tends to be fast moving schools of smaller striped bass and there may be bluefish and Spanish mackerel mixed in with the schools of stripers.
Bottom fishing for a mix of white perch and spot with a few small croakers tossed in has been good in areas from Kent Island south to the Choptank and in most tidal rivers where good hard bottom can be found. Peeler crab and shrimp have been working well for white perch and croaker; bloodworms will work well for spot. Spot have been abundant around Hackett’s Bar, Dolly’s Lump, and the Bay Bridge area off Annapolis.
*** Duck blind know-it-all The silver-spotted skipper butterfly almost never visits yellow flowers but favors blue, red, pink, purple, and sometimes white and cream-colored ones. Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at firstname.lastname@example.org