Is wild turkey hunting coming to Carroll County?
Maybe sooner than you think, but first let's check on some county anglers who made the news in distant -- and different -- waters.
The only thing the Atlantic Ocean and Piney Run Reservoir have incommon is that they're wet.
Three Carroll countians were on a six-member team that barely missed a second-place finish in the prestigious 12th annual Mid-Atlantic Surf Fishing Tournament, sponsored by the Ocean City Surf Anglers and held on the beach from the boardwalk tothe Delaware line.
But, Barry Parker of Sykesville doesn't think third was anything to apologize for -- not when a team is in only itsfifth year of big league competition.
His Tangier Crab House placed with 24 points, two less than second-place The Scales, a crew fromBerlin in Worcester County.
They were far behind winning Pier DogHouse, however, an Ocean City team that ran away from the competition with 90 points, thanks to fishing a spot where flounder were abundant the first couple hours of the first day.
Points are figured on a basis of one or two per eligible fish, with a point an inch above the minimum.
Parker's team, like the 64 other clubs from New York to North Carolina, was plagued by bluefish of legal size, but not up to the tournament's minimum size of 12 inches.
The Maryland minimumis 8 inches.
Other members of the team were Parker's wife, Janice; Jim Chenoweth, also of Sykesville; Parker's father-in-law, Frank Fetter, and Beth Hannon, both of Ocean City; and Leo Fetter, who lives in Pikesville in Baltimore County.
All have fished on the team since its inception.
The team began under the name Fetter and later switched to National Marine Underwriters of Annapolis. It now has a new sponsor, Tangier Crab House, a restaurant in the 1900 block of Liberty Road, Eldersburg.
Parker occasionally dabbles in fishing at Piney Run, but said "I've never taken it seriously."
As a youngster,Parker fished the Chesapeake with his father, but now he is hooked on the surf.
Incidentally, anyone heading down Ocean City way can catch fish in the surf there and at nearby Assateague Island.
During spring and summer, surf fishing is tough, but this is the time whensmall blues work down the coast close to shore. In a few weeks, the biggies will follow.
There are also flounder, sea trout, spot and kingfish, and maybe even a black or red drum or two.
Another easy fishing opportunity also is available.
Dig sand crabs from the beach and fish them from the rocky North Jetty for tautog.
The best tog run in many years is now under way.
Also, the 90-foot headboat OC Princess runs daily from the Ocean City Fishing Center and is doing well on sea trout, sea bass, ling cod and other bottom dwellers of the ocean.
Call (301) 289-8121.
Now for the good news on the wild turkey front.
Could be that a season will be under way in the spring of 1994, says Josh Sandt, who heads forest game managementfor the Department of Natural Resources.
That's no commitment, mind you, just an off-hand prediction -- and it would mark the first time turkeys have been hunted in the county in modern times.
And, believe me, that's something to look forward to, even if it comes a year or two later than '94.
No species of game is more wary than a wild turkey, whose eyes and ears are exceptionally keen.
When those senses are combined with its natural caution, wild turkey is indeed atrophy.
Through the years, some turkeys have migrated on their own from Frederick County, also from Montgomery County via Howard; then, in 1989, about 15 birds trapped in turkey counties were released inthe Morgan Run sector.
All have done well, thanks in part to a closed season in Carroll.
Plans are for another stocking of 12 to 15wild birds next winter in the northeast sector of Carroll.
Normalprocedure is for hunting to start two years after the final stocking.
Carroll did not play a role in the hatchery-released turkey programs from the 1940s through much of the 1960s, and was not consideredin the early management plan of releasing truly wild birds to start local populations.
It was thought that extensive forests were needed for them to thrive.
"But turkeys have educated us to the fact they don't need all those woodlands," says Sandt.
In addition, parts of Carroll County are similar to Frederick, where native populations -- and hunters -- do very well.
Turkey management is proving so successful that DNR plans to stock only about 250 more wild turkeys in the state, then give up the practice and let the birds finish the job.
Every county except Prince Georges now have wild turkeys, and plans are under way to fill that void.
In 1994, preliminary thinking is that, along with Carroll, Wicomico, Caroline, Kent, more of Queen Anne's, and part of Cecil could be opened to spring hunting, the time of year when it's virtually impossible to bag a bird without calling it within range.
Don't be looking for a fall season at any time in the foreseeable future.
Information about Carroll Countyoutdoor sports appears
regularly in this column.
If you have story ideas that you would like to share, the Carroll County Sun wouldlike to know.
Please send your ideas to Carroll outdoors, CarrollCounty Sun, 15 East Main St., Westminster 21157-5052. You also may FAX your information to us at 876-0233. We would like to receive your ideas as far in advance as possible. We will try to print clear newsworthy black and white photographs as space permits.
If you are looking to have us cover an event, please notify us as far in advance aspossible, but at least one week before the event.
Information: 857-0550, 876-8771 or toll-free (800) 829-8000, Ext. 6595.