Live decoys in use in state despite U.S. rules, DNR says

December 27, 1991

Large numbers of live decoys are being used on private and state lands in Maryland, in violation of federal regulations, the Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday.

Live decoys are free-flying, captive-reared waterfowl that are released to attract wild birds. "Some birds, because of their rearing conditions, are reluctant to leave an area once they settle. In doing so, they attract other live waterfowl, making them easy targets for hunters," said DNR secretary Torrey C. Brown.

Waterfowl need not be wing-clipped, pinioned, tethered or enclosed in a pen to be considered live decoys. According to state and federal regulations, the question of whether flying ducks are live decoys is determined case by case.

"Waterfowl hunters should be careful not to hunt in an area where captive-reared mallards are so tame that they are reluctant to flush and leave the area," Brown said. Released mallards are considered live decoys and may be shot only during the statewide duck season and in accordance with federal daily-bag and possession limits. For more information, contact the Maryland DNR Police (410) 974-2248 or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Law Enforcement (410) 962-7980.

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