1993 deer season is expected to bring harvest of about 38,000

OUTDOORS

November 28, 1993|By LONNY WEAVER

This year's deer season began yesterday and continues through Dec. 11. No deer hunting is permitted on Sundays in Maryland.

Department of Natural Resources officials predict a total harvest in the vicinity of 38,000 whitetails. Last year's two-week firearms hunt resulted in 35,133 deer bagged in the state.

Anne Arundel hunters accounted for 556 whitetails during the 1992 shotgun-only hunt. Of that number, 249 were antlered bucks. Look for a similar total figure for this year's season.

Last year, local archers bagged 292 deer, of which 175 were antlered. In total, shotgun, bow and muzzleloader hunters harvested 928 whitetails here. Only 92 of those deer were taken by out-of-county residents.

DNR official figures show 49 antlerless deer were taken via crop damage permits last year, but no bucks. Anne Arundel drivers hit 50 antlered bucks and 38 antlerless does and fawns.

The use of rifles and handguns are prohibited in Anne Arundel County during this firearms hunt. Your shotgun must be at least 20 gauge, and it may wear a rifled barrel or choke tube for improved accuracy. Only Dorchester County allows the use of buckshot in Maryland.

You may use a bow or muzzleloading rifle during this hunt, but if you do, you must comply with all of the hunt's rules and regulations, including the wearing of hunter orange.

Hunters must wear at least a cap of solid daylight fluorescent orange color, a vest or jacket containing front and back panels of at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange color or "an outer garment of camouflage fluorescent orange worn above the waist, which contains at least 50 percent daylight fluorescent orange color." Only a fool would do less.

The wearing of hunter orange has no impact on your deer hunting success because deer are colorblind. It remains a great mystery to me why Maryland bowhunters remain exempt from this regulation during their season.

Any deer bagged in Anne Arundel County must be taken to one of the five local official deer checking stations before being carted off to the butcher shop.

Those checking stations are: Cobe Marine and Sports Center (formerly Stammer's), 8936 Fort Smallwood Road, Pasadena; D.J.'s Hunting & fishing Center, 1286 Route 3 South, Crofton; Marty's Sporting Goods, Mayo Road, Edgewater; On Target, 2618 Annapolis Road, Severn; and South County Marine (formerly Brown Boys Marine), 668 Deale Road, Deale.

If you need to check the sights on your slug gun or muzzleloading rifle, local shooting ranges include Anne Arundel Fish & Game Conservation Association, 1730 Saint Margarets Road, Arnold (410 757-1497); Stoney Creek Fishing & Hunting Club, 9090 Fort Smallwood Road, Pasadena (410 255-2119); and Three Rivers Sportsman Club, 215 Three Rivers Road, Harwood (410 867-1400).

The average county yearling buck accounts for 65 percent of the season bag. This deer averages 107 pounds and sports a six-point rack. That's a very respectable whitetail.

A lot of factors can affect the success of this year's hunt.

Generally it is the bowhunters who get the opportunity to take advantage of hunting during the rut, which normally occurs sometime between the last week of October and mid-November.

However, a number of folks contend that in this area, the rut has not peaked yet. If this is true, the kill could go up because bucks stay active during daylight hours for longer periods.

Whitetails like the same kinds of weather we do. If we get cold, stormy days or fog, look for numbers to drop. After a storm has passed, though, deer hunting is at its best -- especially if the ground is lightly covered by snow.

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