Opening day of deer season had one common denominator yesterday -- the weather was unseasonably warm whether your were hunting the lower Eastern Shore or the Garrett County mountains.
Jim Mullen, a member of the Department of Natural Resources' monitoring program, said that hunter pressures in the western four counties of the state were "fairly consistent with the past two years, but the kill in our location might be a little slow."
Mullen estimated that the temperature in Allegany County reached as high as 65 degrees yesterday. Skies were overcast and there were occasional drizzles.
"When it gets that warm," Mullen said, "first of all the hunters don't tend to move around because it is not cold and nasty, and since they don't move, the deer don't move."
Tom Mathews, forest game manager for the Western Region, said from the check-in station at Mike's Amoco in Flintstone near headquarters of Green Ridge State Forest that activity had been steady all day and 100 or so deer had been checked in by 4 p.m.
Mathews said that 60 to 70 percent of the total deer harvest for firearms season occurs on opening day and the next two best days are Monday and Saturday, the last day of firearms season.
Mathews said that despite the unseasonable weather, a good harvest still is expected.
Calls to other check stations around the state turned up a mixed bag for opening day.
In Anne Arundel County, for example, where there is no public hunting land, 50 deer were checked in by 4 p.m. Marty Lieberman, owner of Marty's Sporting Goods in Edgewater, said the take was average.
"We checked in 85 on opening day last year," Lieberman said, "and 113 the year before, the snow year, but our average for opening day is between 45 and 50."
John O'Keefe of Vonnie's Market in Kennedyville in Kent County said that "just under 200" deer had been checked in by 5 p.m. O'Keefe called it "pretty slow."
On the lower shore in Caroline County, Bill Behlke, owner of Behlke's Service Center, said check-ins were slow due to unusually warm weather.
"We only have checked in 19," Behlke said at 4:30 p.m. "By this time of day we should be up around 70 on opening day."
At the Shore Sportsman near Easton in Talbot County, general manager Bill Windsor said he felt the pace was moving very well, with 65 deer checked in by 1 p.m.
Frank Slavin, owner of F.P. Slavin Market in Cecilton in Cecil County, said through 5 p.m. he had checked in 145 or 150 deer.
"But we are way down," Slavin said. "It was 70-some degrees here today and a beautiful day unless you
were a deer hunter. We would have to do another 100 or so [check-ins] to do what we did last year."
The International 50' Association is looking at ways to cut costs and maintain the keen level of competition on one of the top sailboat racing circuits in the world.
During the recent 50-foot World Cup in Miura City, Japan, class owners created measures to strengthen the fleet and endorsed the development of a one-design boat that would become the class' racing yacht of the future.
Among the cost containment measures approved were to limit the number of sails allowed per boat, reduce the crew weight by 375 pounds and limit the number of crew to 12 and create a new, standard mast that would be more affordable to produce.
Keith Walters, author of "Chesapeake Stripers," says that his popular volume that covers the ins and outs of fishing for rockfish may not be reprinted.
If you are looking for a copy, Walters will be at Angler's Sports Center on Route 50 in Annapolis on Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. to sign his book.
He also will be the guest speaker at the Freestate Flyfishers monthly meeting on Jan. 8 at Hillsmere Elementary School in Annapolis.
Personalized copies of the book also may be obtained by writing Aerie House, P.O. Box 279, Bozman, Md. 21612-0279. Include $22.50, which will also cover postage.