Unable to reach an agreement, the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission yesterday sent back to the Department of Natural Resources two modified proposals for the upcoming Canada goose season, and also a suggested minor change in the snow goose shoot.
It will be up to DNR Secretary Torrey C. Brown to decide the honker issue. One proposal would have the season open a day earlier than originally proposed -- Monday Nov. 11 and close Nov. with one bird a day, then reopen for a two-bird-a-day shoot Dec. 9 and close out Jan. 18.
The other calls for the same opening day, beginning with the same one-bird bag limit, but from Nov. 27 through 29, the bag would be two -- and the two-bird bag would also be implemented during the Dec. 9-Jan. 18 finale. Curiously, this more liberal proposal comes as Delaware imposes its most restrictive season ever, a 46-day split season, with only a one-bird bag during the entire shoot.
Whatever happened to the joint bite-the-bullet management plan for the big goose shooting jurisdictions of Delmarva? DNR held the line fairly close, but its own advisory group come up with a plan to wrangle three extra days of shooting with an additional bird in the bag.
Maybe we ought to bag (as in sack) a few members of the commission.
The major objective of restoration of flights is to attain a three-year midwinter average population of 400,000 geese by 1995, and maintain a harvest rate of 20 percent of the fall flight. DNR had it figured pretty close with a split season of 51 calendar days; one bird for 16 days, two for the remainder. Now the commission slips by an alternative proposal that reduces the one-bird bag to 13 days. Who's in charge? Hopefully, Dr. Brown is, and will stick by his guns and decide sacrifices should be short, if not sweet, as Delaware has done. In other words, make them now, and not drag them out.
The meddling commission's proposal would open the first phase of the snow goose season a week later, and pick up the lost days in the second phase of the split. Now proposed is the same 107 days of hunting, but opening Oct. 25-29; closing with a Dec. 12-Feb. 10 finale, with a bag limit of four a day for both segments.
SG Free advice we get -- and it's worth just about what we pay for it.
Something free, but worth an awful lot is the BASS Masters/BP Casting Kids program that originated during the recent classic. BASS and BP Oil combined to set up a program to get youngsters involved in fishing, and the Maryland BASS Federation lent a big helping hand.
More than 1,000 contestants and other youngsters, and 5,000 adults looked on as Christian Crew, 12, of Betterton won in the age 11-14 class, and Baltimorean Jim Cassell Jr., 10, took top spot in the 7-10 division. Second in the latter group was Jason King, 8, of Glen Burnie; fourth, Brad Seider, 10, of Columbia; fifth, Matt Aulbach, 10, of Arnold.
Martin Petza, 13, of Jarrettsville was fourth in the older group, and Wes Linda, 14, of Finksburg was sixth. Christian said he likes fishing because one never knows what will happen next.
Let's hope this competition returns to Maryland next year even if the classic doesn't. It would tie in perfectly with BASS Expo at Timonium Jan. 10-12.
What's the most exciting fish of the Chesapeake and nearby ocean waters this summer? Spanish mackerel. They're everywhere, including a dandy run as far up the bay as the Bay Bridge, with some north of the span at Love Point where they're mixed in with bluefish of 1 to 4 pounds.
And they're getting more plentiful every day -- and some places they're getting bigger. Several weeks ago there was a Virginia record 7 1/2 -pounder checked in, but it was a short-lived mark. Greg Cooner of Virginia Beach has topped it with an 8-pounder taken while slow trolling live bait off Sandbridge.