Deer num­bers solid dur­ing firearms sea­son de­spite bad weather

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Sports -

Mary­land’s De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has an­nounced that hun­ters re­ported tak­ing 31,588 deer dur­ing the state’s twoweek firearms sea­son. The to­tal was eight per­cent lower than last year’s of­fi­cial har­vest of 34,502. Bad weather dur­ing the prime Satur­day hunt days con­trib­uted to the de­cline in many parts of the state.

More than 4,400 deer were taken on the two Sun­days dur­ing the sea­son, rep­re­sent­ing 14 per­cent of the to­tal har­vest. Sun­day hunt­ing is cur­rently per­mit­ted on se­lect Sun­days in 20 of 23 coun­ties.

Hun­ters re­ported tak­ing 13,262 antlered deer dur­ing the sea­son, up slightly from last year’s of­fi­cial to­tal of 12,767. The antler­less har­vest de­creased from 21,735 last year to 18,326 this year.

Sika deer rep­re­sented 502 of the to­tal antlered har­vest and 560 of the to­tal antler­less har­vest. Of those 560, 539 were taken in Dorch­ester County, which bucked trends and saw a 20.2 per­cent in­crease in its sika har­vest.

In west­ern Mary­land (Re­gion A), hun­ters re­ported tak­ing 4,731 white-tailed deer, a five per­cent in­crease from last year’s har­vest of 4,498. The re­gion’s har­vest was com­prised of 2,903 antlered and 1,828 antler­less deer. In the re­main­der of the state (Re­gion B), the white-tailed deer har­vest de­creased 10 per­cent from last year’s har vest of 30,004 to 26,857 deer this year. The Re­gion B to­tal in­cluded 10,359 antlered and 16,498 antler­less deer.

On our Mid-Shore, the take was as fol­lows (antlered, antler­less, per­cent­age of change from last year):

Car­o­line County: 416, 905, -0.8

Dorch­ester: 382, 619, -6.1; sika: 459, 539, 20.2 Kent: 449, 859, -10.3 Queen Anne’s: 479, 904, -19.8

Tal­bot: 341, 788, -7.5

Modern Fish Act passes On Mon­day, De­cem­ber 17, the U.S. Se­nate passed the Modern Fish Act (S. 1520) by unan­i­mous con­sent, which was fol­lowed just days later by House pas­sage on Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 19.

So, for the first time ever, a sport­fish­ing-fo­cused bill is headed to the Pres­i­dent’s desk to be en­acted into law.

The Modern Fish Act, in­tro­duced by Sen­a­tor Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Con­gress­man Gar­ret Graves (R-La.), rec­og­nizes in fed­eral law the dif­fer­ences be­tween recre­ational and com­mer­cial fish­ing and hope­fully will put fed­eral man­age­ment on a path to im­prov­ing the way our fish­eries are man­aged.

Ac­cord­ing to Jeff Angers of the Cen­ter for Sport Fish­ing Pol­icy, the act en­cour­ages the in­clu­sion of state-driven data col­lec­tion pro­grams and elec­tronic re­port­ing. The leg­is­la­tion aims to im­prove the ac­cu­racy and time­li­ness of an­glers’ har­vest es­ti­mates, and ul­ti­mately bet­ter align fish­ing reg­u­la­tions with what an­glers are ac­tu­ally catch­ing.

The Modern Fish Act re­quires the Na­tional Acad­e­mies of Sciences and the U.S. Govern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice to con­duct in-depth stud­ies in ar­eas that af­fect pub­lic ac­cess to Amer­ica’s pub­lic fish­eries re­sources.

What will hap­pen as a re­sult re­mains to be seen, but we can thank Congress for do­ing the right thing here. I did not see the bi­par­ti­san ef­fort cov­ered on any main­stream me­dia out­lets, but I don’t look at much TV these days ex­cept for sports.

Fish­ing re­port On the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, ac­tion, to say the least, has re­ally dropped off, and many an­glers have shifted to species like perch and pick­erel in trib­u­taries. That be­ing said, die-hard an­glers are still catch­ing them as stripers con­tinue to feed de­spite fall­ing tem­per­a­tures. Cast­ing to struc­ture will catch them as well as trolling deep if you know where they’re hang­ing out.

On the fresh­wa­ter scene, re­cent rain­fall has been a downer for ac­tion in many rivers and streams. When wa­ter flows and lev­els

sub­side, an­glers should find pick­erel will­ing to bite as they con­tinue to be ag­gres­sive de­spite cold tem­per­a­tures. It’s usu­ally a good tac­tic to tar­get ar­eas

with de­cay­ing lily pads and other veg­e­ta­tion. Tuck­a­hoe Creek, Wye Mills Lake, Uni­corn Lake, and the Chop­tank River are all good places to check out.

Crap­pie and yel­low perch can also be tar­geted this time of year. They’ve gen­er­ally moved to deeper wa­ter due to fall­ing tem­per­a­tures

and in­creased runoff. Min­nows and jigs worked un­der slip bob­bers can be an ef­fec­tive tech­nique for catch­ing them.

On the At­lantic Coast, striped bass sea­son for surf an­glers seems to be a bust. The stripers have ap­par­ently cruised past us out­side fed­eral lim­its and are re­port­edly

cir­cling around the Cape Charles area at the mouth of the Ch­e­sa­peake.

Tau­tog are pro­vid­ing some ac­tion at wreck sites off the coast, with sand fleas and green crab baits lur­ing some large ones over 10 pounds. Ac­cord­ing to FishTalk mag­a­zine, Ken Wester­field reeled in a 17-pound,

4 oz. tog on 15-pound test while aboard the Fish Bound out of Ocean City.

Duck blind know-it-all Leu­cism is an ab­nor­mal con­di­tion of re­duced pig­men­ta­tion af­fect­ing an­i­mals, such as birds, mam­mals, and rep­tiles,

that is marked by over­all pale color or patches of re­duced col­or­ing. It is caused by a ge­netic mu­ta­tion that in­hibits melanin and other pig­ments from be­ing de­posited in feath­ers, hair, or skin.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss / email me at

ck­[email protected]­dem.com

PHO­TOS BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Kent Is­land’s Ha­dyn Blan­chard, left, bids to im­prove on a fourth-place fin­ish at states.

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