Good weather gets deer hunt off to successful start Officials expect record harvest

OUTDOORS

November 29, 1992|By Lonny Weaver | Lonny Weaver,Contributing Writer

Credit a perfect, crisp November morning and a bulging deer population with what may be one of the state's most successful deer season openers in memory yesterday.

At 9 a.m., Chuck Rothlingshofer, owner of C&C Taxidermy, an official Maryland deer checking station outside Manchester, in northern Carroll County, said he had checked only 20 deer. Thirty minutes later, he had checked another 20 and more than a dozen other successful hunters were waiting their turn at the scales.

Manchester's Dennis Green arrived moments later with a 108-pound, seven-point buck that he had taken with his 7mm Remington Magnum rifle from a Union Mills-area tree stand a little after 7:30 a.m. Next on the station's official scales was an 87-pound doe harvested by Gary Livesay of Hanover, Pa.

Livesay said: "Now that I got my baloney meat, I can take my time and go after a bragging buck," referring to this year's bonus-deer option that allows a hunter to take two deer during the firearms season. In the western counties (Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington), that second deer must be an antlered buck and you cannot harvest it the same day as you take a doe. Throughout the rest of the state, hunters may take both in the same day. The bonus deer stamp costs $5.00.

Bob Powell, owner of Knightsbridge Enterprise, Inc., an official deer checking station in Reisterstown finished his season early when he harvested both a buck and doe first thing yesterday morning. The buck was a four-pointer, weighing 120 pounds, and the doe was 125 pounds.

Ed Golden, who manages Maryland's deer herd with the Department of Natural Resources, said whitetail numbers fall between 160,000 and 200,000 and if the weather holds for the two-week hunt, he predicts a total harvest that could reach 50,000. The highest previous harvest occurred during the 1989 traditional weeklong firearms hunt when Maryland hunters bagged 34,518 deer. That hunt was marked by ideal weather conditions on the first day, featuring brisk temperatures and a light coating of snow on the ground from one end of the state to the other. According to the National Weather Service, the Maryland area is in for temperatures in the 30s to 50s and partly cloudy conditions through mid-week, which is good news to deer fans.

One of the youngest hunters to have success yesterday was 12-year-old Jason Murphy, a graduate of one of last year's hunter safety courses.

Jason bagged his 63-pound button buck "while hunting with my Dad and brother at the Dug Hill Rod and Gun Club. I was sitting on the ground with my back against a tree, when along it came. When it got close, I aimed and fired and it fell on the spot." The Hereford Middle School seventh-grader fell the deer with a perfect neck shot using a 12-gauge slug.

Elmer Rote, of Sparks, was another happy hunter. This was Rote's "37th year of deer hunting and this baby right here [a 158-pound, 10-point buck] is the first one I ever got. Ain't it a beauty?"

Landowner Clarence Trout helped successful hunter Denny Wagner of Westminster carry a nice 119-pound, six-point buck to the official scales.

Trout, who owns a small farm, said "That's the one that's been eating my alfalfa all summer. My neighbor, who owns a good-sized place, won't let anybody hunt his farm. He says all the deer on his place belong to him. Well, most of those deer come over to my place and eat like cows. I let a couple of fellows hunt and am happy to see them get a few."

Like most hunters, Parkville's Tom Swanhart hunted on private land. He bagged a 119-pound buck that sported a nice seven-point rack. Swanhart said he would "probably go after a second deer next Saturday, or if I don't have luck, the last day."

A common complaint heard from hunters concerned the new "flimsy" deer tags the DNR is using this year. The tags are nothing more than paper and rip, tear or blow away before the hunter can get the deer to the required checking station. These tags must be filled out and attached to the harvested deer immediately after it's downing. The general feeling is that if this .. requirement is to stay in place, so too should the tag that is required to be used.

Sandra Saville, an officer with the DNR Police, said there were no reports of any injuries by mid-day yesterday.

"It's been fairly quiet for openning day. We've had some trespassing complaints, a couple of safety zone violations and occasional reports of dead deer being found on a non-hunted property or along a roadside. Thankfully, nothing serious has been reported and, hopefully, it'll stay that way."

Since certified hunter safety courses have been made mandatory for new licensed hunters in Maryland, accidental shooting or related mishaps have become quite rare. By far, the most common violation involves trespassing.

"I get a lot of complaints from non-hunting landowners that somebody's gutting a deer on their property. What the story really is involves a deer shot on one property, running onto an adjoining property that is posted every two feet. The hunter crosses the property line to get his deer and the owner wants him arrested. Sometimes I can get the two to work it out and sometimes I can't and have to give the hunter a citation", said one DNR officer who did not want to be named.

The current firearms season continues through Dec. 12 and will be followed by the continuation of the bow season Dec. 14-18 and Jan. 4-30, 1993. The increasingly popular Muzzleloader hunt is set for Dec. 19 through Jan. 2, 1993.

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