Most satisfied with September hunt

December 05, 1993|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

In September, Maryland held its first hunting season for resident Canada geese in the counties west of the Chesapeake Bay, and over the next two years the experimental season will continue.

Judging from a report prepared by Bill Harvey, Waterfowl Project Leader for the state Department of Natural Resources, this year's early goose hunt had good and bad points.

From the standpoint of some hunters, the season was held during weather considered too warm for goose hunting, hunt areas were hard to find and little public land that held geese was available.

According to the report, most hunters who participated in the season were satisfied and no conflicts between hunters and fishermen or boaters were reported.

One of the concerns entering the season was whether the non-migratory birds would be easy prey after a tranquil yet wild existence on golf courses, farmlands or parks where they had not been hunted.

"Wholesale killing of naive birds was not evident," Harvey wrote in his report. "Geese quickly adjusted to the hunting pressure."

Hunters who took part in the early season were issued report cards to record where they hunted and what they killed, and asked to return the cards to the DNR by Sept. 25.

The DNR issued 2,176 cards. An estimated 1,072 people hunted and 462 hunters killed one or more geese, with an average of 3.2 geese per season for successful hunters.

Opening day, Sept. 7, and Sept. 11, the only Saturday during the season, accounted for 44 percent of the reported kill.

Frederick, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties accounted for the highest kill totals.

The season was set up under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines and intended to slow the growth of a resident goose population that was estimated at 18,000 during a survey in April. The season also would reduce potential nuisance and damage problems associated with resident geese and offer hunting opportunities to waterfowlers faced with shorter seasons and strict bag limits on migratory geese.

Deer opener kill down

The DNR estimated last week that the kill on the opening day of firearms season for deer was 12,000, more than 3,000 fewer than opening day last year. While rainy weather and high winds were said to be largely responsible for the opening day figures, DNR believes that the season kill will be close to last year's 35,133 if the weather holds to normal patterns.

Economic impact

What's in a hunt? The National Shooting Sports Foundation says that hunters' contributions to the national economy are $1.6 million an hour, almost $40 million a day and some $14 billion a year.

The group lists sales of guns, gun-related equipment, food, lodging, leasing or purchasing of hunting lands, permits, licenses, stamps and other fees among hunters' outlays.

GOOSE SCOREBOARD

Here is a preliminary distribution of the kill during the eight-day resident goose hunting season in September. The hunt, which was held on an experimental basis this year, was restricted to counties west of the Chesapeake Bay.

County ... ... ... ... ... ... Kills

Allegany ... ... ... ... .. .. 0

Anne Arundel ... ... ... .. .. 161

Baltimore ... ... ... .. .. .. 95

Calvert ... ... ... ... ... .. 6

Carroll ... ... ... ... ... .. 87

Charles ... ... ... ... ... .. 26

Frederick ... ... ... .. .. .. 394

Garrett ... ... ... ... ... .. 20

Harford ... ... ... ... ... .. 122

Howard ... ... ... ... ... ... 55

Montgomery ... ... ... ... ... 210

Prince George's .. ... ... ... 36

St. Mary's ... ... ... ... ... 0

Washington ... ... ... ... ... 64

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