No plans to extend deer season

OUTDOORS

December 09, 1993|By PETER BAKER | PETER BAKER,Department of Natural Resources

Maryland hunters go into the last day of the modern firearms season for deer on Saturday facing a chance of poor weather for the third successive weekend.

The kill statewide on opening day of the two-week firearms season was 12,085, a drop of 3,476 from opening day in 1992. However, according to a state Department of Natural Resources official, there are no plans to extend the firearms season.

"Normally what happens is that when the [modern] firearms season is off, then the muzzleloader season picks up," said Joshua Sandt, director of DNR's Wildlife Division, and heavy hunting pressure carries later into the year.

"About 80 percent of the hunters out there kill one deer per year," said Sandt, "and the majority of those are three-weapon hunters, starting out with bow, going into firearms and then into muzzleloader season."

A couple of years ago, a modern firearms season was held in Worcester County during January, but Sandt said there never has been a statewide extension of the firearms season.

"If we see at the end of muzzleloader season that we are not around 50,000, then we will think about an extended season," Sandt said. "At this point we are not considering one."

The wet weather of the first two Saturdays has not been all bad for the hunters or the deer, Sandt said.

In Western Maryland, for example, hunters have been concerned for several years that the deer population has been hunted too heavily. The low kill rate so far this season will help that part of bTC the deer population expand.

However, in areas of the state where deer are more abundant, consideration might be given to an extension if the kill numbers don't increase on Saturday and through the muzzleloader season, which runs Dec. 18-Jan. 1.

Hunting activity has been high this week, Sandt said, with many hunters going out before or after work, and on Saturday the hunting pressure should be very high.

"The last Saturday [of the season] is sort of a panic day," Sandt said. "It is the last chance for many to take a deer, and they will be out there regardless of the weather."

OPENING-DAY COUNTS

Following are the deer kills by county for opening days of firearms season the past four years. On opening day this year, Nov. 27, it rained heaviest in the western counties and the precipitation diminished proportionately toward the eastern end of the state.

County ............ 1993 .. 1992 .. 1991 .. 1990

Allegany ........... 523 .. 1565 .. 1404 .. 2442

Anne Arundel ....... 256 ... 221 ... 120 ... 181

Baltimore .......... 448 ... 529 ... 408 ... 421

Calvert ............ 192 ... 224 ... 163 ... 240

Caroline ........... 301 ... 229 ... 200 ... 205

Carroll ............ 866 .. 1047 ... 768 ... 862

Cecil .............. 631 ... 644 ... 493 ... 453

Charles ............ 583 ... 673 ... 461 ... 672

Dorchester ......... 934 ... 900 ... 772 .. 1057

Frederick .......... 797 .. 1462 .. 1110 .. 1245

Garrett ............ 731 .. 1193 .. 1453 .. 1729

Harford ............ 316 ... 320 ... 283 ... 288

(Aberdeen PG) ...... 428 ... 391 ... --- ... ---

Howard ............. 168 ... 222 ... 176 ... 199

Kent ...... ........ 962 .. 1103 ... 814 ... 816

Montgomery ......... 244 ... 462 ... 369 ... 361

Prince George's .... 160 ... 186 ... 162 ... 197

Queen Anne's ....... 703 ... 583 ... 540 ... 548

St. Mary's ......... 393 ... 440 ... 309 ... 425

Somerset ........... 316 ... 339 ... 267 ... 376

Talbot ............. 402 ... 433 ... 332 ... 351

Washington ......... 740 .. 1486 .. 1139 .. 1327

Wicomico ........... 400 ... 338 ... 273 ... 325

Worcester .......... 575 ... 468 ... 566 ... 765

(sika) .............. 16 .... 33 ... --- ... ---

Statewide ....... 12,085..15,561..12,582..15,485

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