Deer hunt changes criticized DNR blamed for smaller animals

December 14, 1992|By Amy L. Miller and Mary Gail Hare | Amy L. Miller and Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writers

After about five years as a deer checking point during hunting season in Carroll County, Robert Boyer is packing it in.

The Department of Natural Resources "is mismanaging it [the hunt] as far as I'm concerned," said the owner of Harvey's General Store north of Taneytown. "There's not as many deer out there as DNR said there were."

The last day of the season was Saturday. In an effort to control the deer population, the DNR expanded the firearms hunting season from one week to two and allowed open-season hunting this year.

That's a decision Mr. Boyer considers a mistake. Although the season was twice as long as last year's, the number of deer killed did not increase proportionately and many of the animals weighed only 40 to 45 pounds, he said.

"I had 630 last year with bad weather all season and doe hunting by permit only," Mr. Boyer said. "This year I had 705 with totally open season and great weather."

The count breaks down to 332 bucks, 82 button bucks -- males with antlers less than 3 inches -- and 291 does.

Countywide, about 2,200 deer had been checked in at the five locations in Carroll County (three of the stations' reports were through midday Saturday, shortly before the end of the season), about 500 more than last year's Carroll firearms count of 1,729. It's also more than 300 ahead of the record 1,886 taken in 1989.

"In my opinion, what DNR is doing is instituting bad hunting practices, especially for young hunters," Mr. Boyer said. "If a young hunter knows he has to kill a buck, he'll stop and look to see if it is a buck, if it is a good deer. [Under this system], if it's brown, shoot it.

His sister, Beth, agreed.

"It's been rather disgusting," she said of this year's hunt. "There are a lot of small deer coming in."

DNR spokesman Mike O'Brien declined to comment yesterday, saying he would wait until the department received a full count of deer killed throughout the state.

Elsewhere in the county, Jeff Fisher of Fish Maryland Bait and Tackle in Eldersburg reported 460 deer killed for the season.

Other Carroll County checking stations did not have totals yesterday. The numbers through midday Saturday were:

* C & C Taxidermy in Melrose reported 554 deer killed.

* Steve Brown of The Gun Shack in Mount Airy reported about 200 deer killed.

* Dexter Parham of Parham Taxidermy in Reese reported more than 300 killed.

The black powder or muzzle-loaded rifle hunting deer season begins Saturday and runs for two weeks, said Mr. Fisher. Bow hunting will run through the end of January.

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