Duck hunters camp out for shot at prized licenses Choice blind sites claimed quickly

October 22, 1992|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Staff Writer

On a chilly fall evening outside the new courthouse in Towson, a half-dozen duck hunters lounged comfortably in their metal folding chairs, preparing to exercise their squatters' rights.

They were prepared to wait all night for the Baltimore County Department of Permits and Licenses to open this morning.

At stake were duck hunting sites belonging to someone else. "This is the only way to get the best sites," said Robert Eck, an Essex construction worker who has been hunting ducks for 15 of his 28 years.

Mr. Eck arrived early yesterday afternoon and was No. 1 in line. He predicted that by midnight, 40 to 50 fellow duck hunters would join the queue for the prized licenses.

He had his favorite spots marked on a map, his forms filled out and his money ready. Rights to the sites go for $5.50 apiece, and Mr. Eck planned to claim four.

Two days of the open duck season have already flown by. The next two are Nov. 26-27, while the last weeks of the season are Dec. 15 through Jan. 9.

Landowners along the waterways get first crack at the duck blind sites. Any sites unclaimed by the close of business yesterday were open to squatters under a closely supervised program by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, according to Joan Cox, supervisor of the license department.

"There will be plenty of spots open," Ms. Cox said yesterday. "The reason they wait in line overnight is to get the choice ones."

Craig Kormanik, 24, a broker from Towson, said it was "no problem" camping out on the courthouse veranda overnight.

"We're lucky it's not so cold," he said. "We'll just talk, play cards and send out for pizza."

Send out for pizza? "Well, we're in the heart of civilization here," he said. "There are food places all around us."

"I'll probably watch TV," said Mr. Eck, pulling a 1 1/2 -inch Sony portable from a duffel bag.

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