Survey says hunting means big bucks in Maryland

Hunting Notebook

November 22, 1992|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service surveys hunters and related businesses, and every five years publishes its findings. According to the last survey, in 1985, deer hunting is at least a $50 million resource in Maryland.

According to that survey, the average deer hunter spent more than $350 each year on his sport. Hunters who took part in other seasons as well spent a little less than $600.

"Actually, the most recent survey that has come out [but has yet to be distributed] has a 50 percent increase in that," said Josh Sandt, director of the Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Division. "The average hunter in Maryland now spends $880 year.

"So, instead of the deer seasons having a $50 million economic impact, it may be closer to $70 million or $75 million now."

Sandt said economists estimate that that $70 million to $75 million turns over two or three times before it leaves the state.

"So, we are looking at an economic impact of well over $100 million."

Venison for the hungry

Several hunters organizations in the state are soliciting donations of deer meat to help feed the hungry through the Salvation Army and the Maryland Food Bank.

For more information, contact:

Maryland Bowhunters Society, Sportsmen Against Hunger, Firman Kistler Jr., the Salvation Army (410) 366-4997 ext. 211, donations for Baltimore metro area.

Ted Nugent World Bowhunters, Maryland Chapter, Hunters for the Hungry, MD 92, Ben McLeod (410) 381-5577.

Maryland Deer Hunters Association, Hunters Harvestshare, Alan

Ellis (410) 922-5549, Maryland Food Bank.

Meade Natural Heritage Association, Deer for the Hungry, Salvation Army, northern Anne Arundel County.

Sika deer

DNR is formulating a management plan for sika deer, a miniature member of the elk family that is hunted in the marshes of Dorchester County.

"In 1985 we had a season to try to cut their numbers down," said Ed Golden, forest wildlife program manager. "Now there is more interest because of the decline in the goose population . . . and guides and hunters are more involved."

Golden said the population of sika is stable and the harvest has ranged from 800 to about 1,000 the past few years.

Golden said there is some concern that the number of female sika is declining and might have an impact on the future of the species.

Estimating ages

Tooth size and wear can help you determine the age of the deer you have taken.

For yearlings to those 2 1/2 years old, check the upper third molar. On the younger deer, this tooth will not have fully cleared the gum; on the 2 1/2 -year-old, it will be clear of the gum and show slight wear.

A 3 1/2 -year-old deer will show clear signs of wear on the first molar.

By age 5 1/2 , most of the teeth will appear worn down, and by 7 5/8 , all teeth will be clearly worn and some will be broken.

Short shots

Hunting license fees make up 90 percent of DNR's Wildlife Division budget. In 1991, those license fees totaled $4.2 million. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that $422 million in license fees are tagged for wildlife conservation nationwide. . . . In Maryland, hunting license fees support all of the wildlife conservation efforts, including protection of endangered species -- bald eagles, Delmarva fox squirrels and peregrine falcons among them. . . . Federal taxes paid by hunters and shooting enthusiasts contributed $1.3 million to Maryland's wildlife program in 1991.

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