Next year’s goose seasons shortened, mallard limits reduced
Atlantic Flyway waterfowlers will have to deal with reduced bag limits for Canada geese and mallard ducks during the 20192020 season. The mallard limit will drop to two daily, only one of which may be a hen, while Canada goose seasons in the Atlantic population zones will run just 30 days with a restrictive har vest.
The Atlantic Flyway Council approved the changes in September, and they were formalized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Oct.
Canada goose hunters in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia will be limited to one bird daily, while the rest of the flyway’s Atlantic population zones will be permitted two daily. The move was largely spurred by poor Canada goose production last spring, plus a 30 percent decline among Atlantic population Canadas in the most-recent breeding population survey.
“Atlantic Flyway biologists estimate it was the worst Atlantic population Canada goose production in 22 years,” said John Devney, Delta Waterfowl’s senior vice president. “The collaborative Atlantic population banding effort accounted 30 juveniles for the 3,000 geese banded. That is abysmal.”
Atlantic population goose regulations are based on a three-year average population estimate. The threshold for conservative regulations is 150,000 birds. While this year’s estimate was 155,000, poor goose production compelled the Atlantic Flyway Council to make changes.
The reduced mallard limit is in response to a longerterm problem. Surveys indicate breeding mallards in the northeast have declined about 20 percent since 1998. Despite increasing seven percent in this year’s sur vey to 482,100 birds, they are 32 percent below the long-term average.
Atlantic Flyway hunters will still see a 60-day duck season for 2019-2020. Although eastern mallards are declining, mallards occupy a smaller percentage of the Atlantic Flyway harvest than elsewhere.
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New date for open house
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the new Bohemia River State Park in Cecil County, located at 3864 Augustine Herman Highway in Chesapeake City. The event was rescheduled from its original date due to bad weather.
Community partners, outdoor enthusiasts, and others are invited to see and tour the property, and share thoughts on the newest state park on our Eastern Shore.
Park Service staff will be available to answer questions about the park and provide information on topics such as hunting, trails, and water access. A shuttle service will be available to ferry you to and from the waterfront and other scenic areas of the park.
* * * Talking turkey Hunters can pursue turkeys now through Nov.
4 in Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties with a bag limit of one bird. The
2018 Wild Turkey Observation Survey Summary showed turkey reproduction in western Maryland was below average, but populations remain healthy and sustainable, and should provide ample opportunity. Turkeys are feeding heavily on acorns in areas where they are abundant. When acorns are scarce, turkeys will frequent fields more often and tend to be easier to locate. A statewide winter season will run Jan. 17-19.
* * * Fishing report Shorter, cooler days are a sign for Chesapeake Bay fish to prepare for winter conditions or migrate out of the bay. For tidal rivers and main bay locations, anglers can target fish at areas with good structure such as underwater points, oyster bottoms, reefs, channel edges, and large schools of baitfish. Hungry striped bass will also roam nearby shallow water areas looking for an easy meal.
Anglers continue to chum and chunk with menhaden or to fish with artificial lures. Locations in 25 feet to 35 feet of water around points, including Swan, Love, Podickory, Hacketts, and Thomas Point, are congregating fish. Trolling has been a good option along channel edges in the bay or river mouths with umbrella rigs using swimshads or bucktails as trailers.
Pods of breaking stripers are showing up in locations in the middle bay including Poplar Island and Bloody Point. Light-tackle jigging with metal or soft plastic jigs can be fun and productive. Working your jig underneath breaking fish or to suspended fish along channel edges often produces larger fish. Trolling is a good option with umbrella rigs behind inline weights with swimshad or bucktail trailers.
Farther south, a hot bite has developed in the Gas Docks area off Calvert Cliffs. There continues to be good chumming for rockfish and a few bluefish at the mouth of the Potomac River and near St. George Island.
On the Atlantic Coast, anglers are catching bluefish in the surf with cut mullet and bunker as bait. Headboats are seeing some good days for both flounder and sea bass at the artificial reefs and shipwrecks when winds are calm enough. At the offshore lumps and canyons, dolphin-fish are providing action near lobster buoys and floating debris or weed lines. White marlin were being caught and released from the Washington Canyon south to the Norfolk Canyon prior to the big blow, but they are heading south.
* * * Duck blind know-it-all The blood of a greenblooded skink is green.