Even Before The Tally, Deer Season Looks Lackluster


Bowhunters Startup Again Tomorrow, Close To Setting County, State Records

December 08, 1991|By BILL BURTON

It's all over, including the shooting, which might not have been as good for deer as originally expected.

But 14-year-old Jason Browerof Sykesville certainly isn't complaining, and we'll get to that in a moment.

At sundown yesterday, the modern firearms season closed across Maryland, but we won't know the count until tomorrow, when more than a hundred checking stations statewide, including five locally, turn their reports over to the Department of Natural Resources.

The old practice of daily tallies throughout the season has been discontinued for penny-pinching reasons in these tight budget days, so now there are but two counts -- that of opening day, and the final rundown.

However, we do know that the first several days were off appreciably because of unseasonable warm weather and rain for the first three shooting days, followed by winds blustery enough to keep both game and hunters close to home on the fourth day, which included heavy snow in Garrett County.

So a statewide kill below the predicted 35,000 can'tbe interpreted as a warning that we have been taking too many whitetails in recent years.

In the statewide tally made of opening day hunter success, Carroll County ranked sixth -- and only four deer behind Dorchester County, which for many years was the top producer in Maryland, and where, in addition to a whitetail, a hunter can bag two diminutive sika deer.

Carroll County's opening day bag was 768, 94 below the 862 taken on last year's opener. Statewide, the opening daycount was 12,582, which was 2,903 below the 1990 mark. In addition to Dorchester, Washington, Kent, Frederick and Garrett -- which led the state with 1,404 -- beat Carroll for hunter success.

Carroll andBaltimore counties are often compared in deer numbers, hunter pressure and habitat, but Baltimore only took 408 on the opener.

Incidentally, in the bow season, which closed temporarily when the firearms season opened, Baltimore was ahead of Carroll, with 646, because its season opened in September. Carroll had 532 checked in.

The bow season gets into high gear again tomorrow, and statewide it appears theRobin Hoods cannot miss setting another record, eclipsing last year's record 8,605.

Carroll County hunters accounted for 594 of those,and need only 63 more this year to set a county bow record.

Statewide, another 102 will set a new mark -- and bowmen have until Jan. 31 to do it.

The statewide count before the first of the split season closed was 8,504, and again Carroll ranked sixth.

It looks likethe deer killed in the 1991 gun season were pretty much normal as deer seasons go in Carroll. Those checked so far have averaged about the same in antlers and weight.

Among the few unusuals was the piebald whitetail buck taken Brower. It wasn't big, carried only spikes, but it's a kill he will remember as long as he goes afield.

Though not rare, a piebald is seldom taken by hunters -- and usually those who do encounter them refer to them as spotted deer. They're somethinglike an albino, but have less white and don't have the pink eyes.

Though Jason has two deer stands practically in his backyard, opening day was the first time he had seen this deer.

"A bunch of does came through, then there he was," said Jason, who got him with one shot with a rifled slug through the upper back at about 15 yards.

It was the youth's second deer -- he killed one with a muzzleloader lastyear, and when the primitive weapons season opens Dec. 21 he will beback at the tree stand with his smoke pole, trying for another.

But not only will he remember that piebald, which had white on its face, neck, backside and lower legs, he will be able to see it.

Upon checking it in at Parham Taxidermy, he decided a mount was in order, so Dexter Parham is doing a full-body mount.

Don't ask me how piebalds got their name. It's something I have been trying to figure out for years.

Among other unusual deer was the hefty doe of 180 pounds checked in at Fish Maryland Bait and Tackle by Howard J. Rohrer of Elkridge. Bagged near Sykesville, it is among the largest antlerless deer taken in Maryland during the season.

A fine trophy belongs toKurt A. Cassell of Sykesville, who got a 140-pound buck with a perfect eight-point rack off Oakland Road. Its antler spread was 21 inches.

Another fine eight-pointer was one of 135 pounds taken by Christine R. Shields in Eldersburg.

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