This weekend ...* To the beloved Canada goose, it matters...

Outdoor Journal

December 12, 1991|By Bill Burton

This weekend ...

* To the beloved Canada goose, it matters not whether the bag limit is one or two birds a day. They will do their thing, and there's little we can do about it.

The second half of the split season opened Monday, with th daily bag increased from one to two a day, and now waterfowlers can appreciate what modern firearms deer hunters endured -- just about the worst possible weather for their sport. Moderate temperatures, light (if any) winds, and bright skies have made life for honkers easy.

In weather like this they don't have to fly much; they can feed i fields or drift about on waters at their pleasure. We need brisk winds, chilling cold, even a bit of snow and ice. Where is winter?

When the weather is cold, birds have to feed more t compensate for loss of energy in keeping warm and sheltered. Blustery winds make waters rough for riding about, ice means less open waters, and snow on the ground lessens feeding opportunities -- all of which would add up to more flying time.

And geese have to fly if shooters are to get an opportunity. The don't come walking to a pit or blind -- and if they did it would be illegal to shoot them. Legally, one cannot shoot other than a cripple on land or water. That's considered disturbing waterfowl at rest.

So now we have the two-bird limit, but few shooters are gettin two. Many are lucky to get one. The birds are in good numbers, but flying little, and many hunters who passed up shooting in the first half because of the one-a-day limit aren't doing as well as planned.

Suggestions: Wait until the weather sours and birds fly better, o stay afield longer. Even in good weather, geese have to fly, so wait them out -- stay afield longer, all day if necessary, though some won't fly until after the sundown shooting hour expires.

Combine a goose hunt with a duck hunt; some outfitters will d this. Or mix it with a snow goose shoot, or even a try for sea ducks, which incidentally aren't as abundant as they should be because there hasn't been enough chilling weather north of us to send the big flights here yet.

If you can afford it, try for geese early and late in the day; i between hunt released pheasants, quail, chukars and mallards on regulated shooting areas, or try a round or two of sporting clays at ranges found in much of the Eastern Shore.

When booking a shoot, check with your guide or outfitter fo options. If he can't offer any, shop around. It's a buyers market out there.

Calendar ...

* Saturday: Re-opening of the Canada goose season in Delaware, where colder weather also is needed.

* Saturday: Pennsylvania buck season closes.

* Saturday: Mountain Club of Maryland moderate hike at Littl Bennett Regional Park, Montgomery County. Call 944-1494.

* Saturday/Sunday: Camrod Hunting Club Gun & Knife Sho opens 9 a.m. both days with more than 250 tables at Tall Cedars-Forest No. 45 facilities, 2501 Putty Hill Ave., Parkville. Admission, $4; children under 12 admitted free. Call 391-8883.

* Sunday: Muskrat and mink trapping seasons open in Baltimore Cecil, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset and Worcester counties, but pelt prices are at near record lows because of protests among humane extremists.

* Sunday: Six-mile circuit hike, 1 p.m., along the Patapsco River Patapsco State Park. Call Mountain Club of Maryland, 740-0728.

Names and places ...

* Baltimorean James Peleska won first place in the Black Drum Division of the 34th annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament thanks to an 89-pounder taken at Virginia Beach. Hank Savage of Bethesda won wahoo honors for an 87 1/4 -pounder. Only 1,959 citation fish were entered this year, down more than 300 from 1990, but things were good for H. Wayne Perry of Chesapeake, Va., who checked in citations in 14 divisions making him Angler of the Year for two consecutive seasons.

* The Western Shore's Canada goose population continues t climb. Analysis of the recent DNR aerial survey indicates 10,826 honkers were counted on this side of the bay, with the upper Patuxent area hosting 4,401 -- and another 3,637 were in Baltimore, Carroll and northern Harford counties. Also, this year, more resident (non-migratory) Canadas appear to be headquartered on the Western Shore, which will never match the Eastern Shore, but could open much more hunting opportunity.

Question box ...

* Baltimorean Charlie Barber is just one of many deer hunters who ask whether DNR will reopen the modern firearms deer season because the kill fell far short of what forest game managers had hoped for.

Our answer: Rumors abound about a reopener, but sorry, it's no even being considered. So says the man who should know -- Josh Sandt, chief of wildlife management. First, when adjusted, the deer kill is not the 3,800 short reported earlier this week.

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