First 2-week deer season called typical, successful

December 17, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

A drive-by shooting resulted in the demise of one of Bambi's kin during the recent firearm hunting season.

Problem was, the deer was already stuffed.

In an effort to catch illegal hunters, Department of Natural Resources Police set up the decoy, a full-body mount, along a Carroll County road on Dec. 11. Twenty-one minutes later, barely enough time for officers to return to their observation posts, the animal was shot.

"Someone shot it from their vehicle," said Sgt. William Schuler of the DNR offices in Owings Mills, who declined to reveal where the trap was set. "The person did get away, and we don't want him to know he's been duped just yet."

Other DNR tools against illicit hunting included using a helicopter on Dec. 12 to catch spotlighters -- people who use bright lights at night to blind the deer, making them freeze and become easier targets.

The helicopter was also flown over Liberty Reservoir using a forward-looking infrared radar system to detect hunters in the state park. Firearm hunting is illegal within any state park, Sergeant Schuler said.

"We had hunters swarming all over," he said with a laugh. "I bet they'll be running any time they hear a helicopter coming over the reservoir."

Official data on hunting violations will not be available until the end of the month, DNR officials said.

Overall, state DNR officials are calling Maryland's first two-week firearm deer season a success, reporting 471 more animals killed in Carroll County this year than last.

Unofficial state figures released yesterday showed 2,200 deer were killed during this year's 13-day season, compared with 1,729 during last year's seven-day season.

"[The season] went real well," said Ed Golden, forest wildlife supervisor for DNR's Maryland Wildlife Division. "The first day of the season was great, which is usually an indicator of how successful a season this will be."

Mr. Golden said 1,047 deer were killed on opening day this year, compared with almost 290 animals last year. He also denied the rumor that two more hunting days will be added later in the winter.

"That's always the rumor," Mr. Golden said. "No, we're not having two more days. That's why we had a two-week season."

Maryland State Police officers in Carroll said the season was no different from any other.

"I don't think it was any worse or any better," said desk Sgt. Ron Mosco about trespassing and other hunting-related complaints. "Every time somebody hears gunfire, they call about trespassing or someone being too close to the house."

Sergeant Mosco said the police try to help DNR police with complaints, but there isn't too much they can do.

"We can't go running into the woods every time there's a call," he said. "Unfortunately, there's not enough of us. I don't like sending troopers into the woods with armed hunters. They get excited sometimes and shoot at anything that moves."

Sergeant Mosco suggested citizens be more tolerant of their hunting neighbors.

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