A few weeks ago, Joshua Sandt, director of the Wildlife Division of the Department of Natural Resources, detailed the options for managing the state's deer herd.
This week, at four public meetings across the state, Marylanders will have the opportunity to express their views on proposed bag limits, seasons and regulations for hunting or trapping upland game, forest game and fur-bearers.
Many of the proposed changes deal with ways to control the expanding deer population, with an increased emphasis on the harvest of antlerless deer.
DNR has proposed the following options for 1992-93:
* A two-day season for antlerless deer in selected counties, Jan. 22-23, 1993. Counties that have not met a loose quota through bow, firearms and muzzleloader seasons could be eligible for the January hunt. The target quota would be roughly 40 percent of the antlerless population per county.
* A two-week firearms season from Nov. 28 to Dec. 12, 1992. The aim of this proposal is to offer more opportunity to many hunters, who, under the current one-week firearms season, are limited to two Saturdays in the field. Even so, firearms season produces far and away the largest percentage of the deer kill in Maryland.
A two-week season also would allow hunters to adjust for periods of unseasonably warm weather.
* An early muzzleloader season on antlerless deer on private lands, perhaps during the last week of October. This season would come before the peak of the rut and give black-powder hunters, who traditionally have shot during late December, more clement conditions in the field.
In each case there are pros and cons.
Would an early muzzleloader season interfere with the bow season or lead to an disproportionate increase of muzzleloader hunters -- in effect turning the last week of October into an early firearms season?
Would a two-week firearms season interfere with waterfowl or small-game hunting on the same lands?
Would a two-day January season in selected counties result in a higher kill of bucks that have shed their antlers?
The public meetings tomorrow, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are the times to speak out.
Other changes proposed for deer seasons are the limitation of antlerless kills on public lands, a return to two-deer per day except in the Western counties, and the elimination of antlerless permits in Carroll County and the farmland zones of Washington and Frederick counties.
The DNR Wildlife Division's public meetings will be held at 7 p.m. on the following days, at the following locations:
* Tomorrow -- Mount Savage Fire Hall, Foundry Row, Mount Savage.
* Tuesday -- Loch Raven High School, 1212 Copwens Ave., Towson.
* Thursday -- District Court Multi-Purpose Center, first floor conference room, 201 Baptist St., Salisbury.
* Friday -- Department of Natural Resources, C-1 Conference Room, Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis.