You better watch out! Wildlife Crimestoppers is here
Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police is cracking down on illegal killing of fish and wildlife through a partnership with Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers. The newly established nonprofit organization serves as the state affiliate of International Wildlife Crimestoppers, a group dedicated to stopping illegal hunting and fishing around the world.
Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers was established to increase public awareness of the impact of potential poaching on fish and wildlife populations, and encourage anyone with knowledge of these activities to connect with Maryland Natural Resources Police. Neighboring states Delaware and Pennsylvania host similar partnerships with International Wildlife Crimestoppers.
Information can be relayed anonymously by email, phone, or text to dispatchers, who will alert the nearest patrol officer. If the tip leads to the arrest and conviction of a suspected poacher, the Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers board of directors may issue a reward.
“The public is our eyes and ears,” said NRP Superintendent Col. Robert K. “Ken” Ziegler Jr. in a press release. “We need everyone’s support in our vigorous pursuit and prosecution of criminals who illegally fish, hunt, or trap our fish and wildlife resources. The Natural Resources Police is excited about partnering with Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers to recognize those who take the time contact us when they become aware of an incident.”
Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers does not receive any federal or state funding and depends solely on financial support from corporate, individual, public donations, or gifts. Jack Bailey, a retired NRP sergeant, is chairman of the five-member board. Other members include Shawn Derher, manager of Bass Pro Shops at Arundel Mills; NRP Reserve Officer Stan Samorajczyk; and Ken Schrader, president of Schrader Outdoors LLC.
Founded in 1997, International Wildlife Crimestoppers supports wildlife law enforcement officers in 40
U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. Retired Texas Game Warden Lewis Rather currently serves as executive director.
To contact Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers, call or text to 443-433-4112, email [email protected]land.gov, or report violations using the department’s free mobile app. Donations to Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers can be sent to: 580 Taylor Ave., E-3, Annapolis, MD 21401.
Eastern Shore Haiku
Copies are now available on Amazon and through local book sellers of the Shore’s hottest book of haiku poetry, “Shore-Ku,” published by Sandy Island Media.
Written by yours truly and inspired by my travels around these here parts, critics so far have been largely speechless over the content. But this is what they might be thinking: “Seventeen syllables have never been so artfully arranged with such ambiguity and thought-provoking juxtaposition. The artistic photography and the 365 1/4 poems in this book are pure magic.”
“Shore-Ku” does fit nicely in a stocking. All proceeds will be used to restock my Yuengling supply.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman will conduct a goose hunting clinic and hunt on Sunday, Jan. 6 and Monday, Jan. 7 here on the Mid-Shore. Staff of the Maryland DNR and Blue Stem Farms are hosting the event that begins at Schrader’s Bridgetown Manor in Caroline County.
Classroom instruction will cover the “hows and whys” of waterfowl hunting, including safety, state and federal laws and regulations, as well as hunting skills and techniques. Participants can also enjoy
shooting trap, take a tour of Bridgetown Manor, and watch a retriever dog demonstration.
On Monday, the group travels to Blue Stem Farms in Queen Anne’s County to participate in a guided goose hunt. Only 15 spaces are available. The workshop is open to women who are new to or have little experience goose hunting. Participants may bring a non-hunting partner, but they are required to register at full price and will not be permitted to carry a firearm. The deadline for registration (mail-in only) is Dec. 19.A valid Maryland Hunting License is required, including a Maryland Migratory Bird Stamp and a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp. Complete information is available on the DNR website or call Karina Stonesifer at 301777-2136.
Current surface water temperatures are about 50 degrees in the mid Chesapeake Bay area and the salinity is 4.5 parts per thousand, which is extremely low for this part of the bay. Trolling is still a fine option for getting out on the water to catch some fish, especially if you have a heated cabin.
Trolling deep with inline weights or downriggers to get umbrella rigs and single- or tandem-rigged lures down is now the ticket to get stripers that are holding deep. The rockfish are holding in 35 feet to 50 feet of water. Umbrella rigs with sassy shads or spoons are popular with bucktails, swimshads, or spoons as a trailer. The deep channels at the mouths of the Choptank and Severn rivers along with the Eastern Bay and the western side of the shipping channel have been good places to give trolling a try. Bottom bouncing can also be a good option along channel edges.
Light-tackle jigging is certainly a good option when fish can be spotted suspended deep along channel edges in the region. Large soft plastic jigs in the 6-inch size range will help target the larger striped bass. Using a good depth finder and understanding how to read it accurately are paramount to finding fish to jig on. There are other fish settling down in the same areas such as gizzard shad and white perch.
White perch have moved into deeper waters and now can be found in the bay channels or the very deepest channels at the mouths of the largest tidal rivers over hard bottom. Often it will take some lead to be able to hold bottom so a bottom rig or a dropper fly rig will be needed that is baited with pieces of bloodworm. The rewards are there in the form of some fishing fun and tasty fillets.
On the freshwater scene, largemouth bass are very active in transition zones leading to deeper waters often near sunken wood or similar structure. Spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and crankbaits are good options for fishing these areas. Working deeper structure with grubs, jigs, and crankbaits that resemble crayfish is an excellent tactic for largemouth. Fallen treetops, sunken logs, rocks, bridge pylons, and dock piers are great places to target.
Cooler water temperatures have caused channel catfish to be very active in all of the tidal rivers that flow into the Chesapeake. Fishing with cut bait, nightcrawlers, chicken liver, or chicken breast marinated in garlic or other favorite scents will lure catfish.
On the Atlantic Coast, surf anglers along the Ocean City and Assateague Island beaches are mostly catching small bluefish. There are good numbers of these fish and they make fine table fare. They can be caught on bottom rigs with a float to keep cut mullet or finger mullet off the bottom and away from calico crabs.
Sea bass action at the wreck and reef sites has been very good with limit catches being common. A mix of large flounder, triggerfish, bluefish, and tautog are also being caught.
Duck blind know-it-all
Duckweed is eaten by humans in some parts of Southeast Asia as it contains more protein than soybeans.