If you have been waiting to receive your antlerless deer permit from the Department of Natural Resources and wondering whether it may have been lost in the mail, you are not alone.
At least several hundred applications for antlerless-deer permits mailed to the Department of Natural Resources have not been received at DNR headquarters in Annapolis, officials said yesterday.
Most of the missing applications appear to be from the Baltimore and Annapolis areas, as well as Western Maryland, said Gary Taylor, Forest, Park and Wildlife Service director.
"We do not know where the problem is yet," Taylor said. "But we have been getting calls from hunters since Tuesday. We have substantiated that the applications we have received were processed, entered into the computer. We have turned this place upside down looking for the others."
Hunters apply by mail for antlerless permits and specify in which areas they prefer to hunt. Applications then are entered in a lottery, with a predetermined number of permits allowed for each hunting zone.
Taylor said the DNR has asked the U.S. Postal Service to join the investigation, but his gut feeling, based on the phone calls received, is that few, if any, missing applications are from the Washington metropolitan area or Southern Maryland.
Dennis Bradshaw of Carney is among those hunters who did not receive a response from the DNR.
"They already have admitted the error," Bradshaw said. "If it is simply incompetence, we can all handle that. But we want to know what can be done in the future to ensure that problem doesn't happen again."
Taylor said that "until we ascertain where the problem is, I wouldn't want to speculate on a solution."
Hunters who have mailed an application to the DNR and have not
received a response, should call the Forest, Park and Wildlife Service at (301) 974-3195. They will be asked to provide their names and addresses and to identify the post office from which their application was mailed. That information will assist postal authorities in determining what happened to the applications.
Opening of regular firearms season for white-tailed and sika deer statewide is Nov. 24. The season will begin 30 minutes before sunrise.