Early muzzleloader season draws fire

March 13, 1994|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Tomorrow night, the Department of Natural Resources begins a series of public information meetings on proposed hunting seasons, bag limits and changes in regulations for 1994-95, the most notable of which might be an early muzzleloader season for deer.

The proposed muzzleloader season would run Oct. 20, 21, 22, the dates a survey funded by DNR found to be preferable among those licensed state hunters surveyed.

Was the survey as objective as it should or could have been? Did the survey results accurately represent the views of Maryland hunters?

DNR and the company that conducted the survey, with continual input from a panel of gun, muzzleloader and bow hunters, say that it did.

Since the results of the survey and the proposed season were released earlier this year, there has been enough response against the early muzzleloader season to suggest that the survey of 633 hunters did not represent the views of most of the state's 120,000 licensed deer hunters.

Among the concerns expressed:

* There should not be any kind of firearms season before the rut.

* An early muzzleloader season, even one a month before the start of the two-week modern-firearms season, will detract from the quality of hunting available to those who use shotguns or rifles.

* The 4 1/2 month bow season also will suffer from the effects of a three-day muzzleloader season in October.

* Black powder weapons have evolved to the point where some are more effective than shotguns, and therefore for some individuals the three-day season will be, in effect, an early modern-firearms season.

Hunters who share these concerns or others -- and those who support the early season -- are encouraged to attend the series of five regional meetings.

Tomorrow night's meeting will begin at 7 at the Holly Center on Route 12 in Salisbury.

Cup team has familiar faces

Last week, Bill Koch, who successfully defended the last America's Cup with America3, announced his backing for an all-women's team in next year's America's Cup elimination.

Among the core team signed by Koch were Betsy Alison of Newport, R.I., J. J. Isler of San Diego and Dawn Riley of Detroit -- all of whom have competed as skippers in the Santa Maria Cup Women's Match Racing Championships, held the past few springs on the Inner Harbor.

This year's Santa Maria Cup will be sailed early in June, and Koch's selections seem to bear out what the regatta's organizers have been saying -- that Baltimore has the best women's match-racing competition around.

Pike season on hold

Starting Tuesday, the season for chain pickerel or pike on tidal waters of the state will be closed to protect the spawn. The season, which has a 14-inch minimum size limit, reopens May 1.

MSSA begins scholarship fund

The Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association has established the MSSA Scholarship Foundation to provide financial assistance to undergraduate students pursuing degrees consistent with the organization's goals of protecting the environment, preserving habitat and perpetuating Chesapeake Bay species.

The MSSA is soliciting contributions to the fund. Donations are tax deductible. For more information on the fund, call (410) 768-8666.

New mast tips for Hobie Cats

The Hobie Cat Corp. and the DNR Boating Administration have launched a campaign to retrofit Hobie Cat masts with a tip made of composite materials to reduce the possibility of electrocution if the mast comes in contact with overhead high power lines.

The Comp-tip conversions are free to any Hobie Cat owners whose boat was manufactured prior to 1986. For more information, call the Boating Administration at (410) 974-2916.

PUBLIC MEETINGS

The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a series of public information meetings on proposed hunting seasons and bag limits for 1994-95. All meetings will begin at 7 p.m.:

* Tomorrow: Holly Center, Route 12, Salisbury.

* Tuesday: Loch Raven High School, Towson.

* Thursday: West Lake High School, Waldorf.

* March 22: Frederick High School, Frederick.

;/ * March 23: Northern High School, Accident.

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