Dove season looks promising

CARROLL OUTDOORS

September 08, 1996|By Lonny Weaver | Lonny Weaver,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Carroll County shot-gunners can look forward to a good early dove season. Wayne Albaugh and I kicked off the season opener last Monday afternoon by sitting over a Union Bridge area flight path paralleling a ridge top power line. Despite sparse shooting opportunities at birds that flew into the range of our 12-gauge shotguns, we noted lots of dove activity in all directions. Our lack of shooting action was simply due to a widespread lack of corn-chopping operations throughout the area.

The abundance or lack of blazing hot dove shooting throughout the Carroll County area depends on corn-cutting schedules. Last year, because of the severe drought conditions, it seemed as though every local farmer was wrapping up the work by the first week of September. This served to keep dove flocks scattered )) and shooting activities down.

This fall corn-chopping (for use as silage) should be spread out because of the summer's continuing wet weather and excellent corn crop. The result will be that dove flocks will be concentrating in limited numbers of harvested cornfields at any one time.

Wayne and I have permission to hunt a number of farms in the areas of Union Bridge, Uniontown, Taneytown and New Windsor. With a little luck, we expect to be rewarded with superb dove hunting conditions well into October as we move around freshly chopped fields in each area. Also, by being able to rotate between farms, we avoid running resident birds out of a particular area because of excessive gunning pressure.

Until the first cold front pushes into the area -- moving large numbers of migrant doves ahead of it -- the majority of our shooting will be at resident birds. These local doves tend to be a little larger than the migrants. Both migrants and resident birds are more than a handful of challenge.

A dove will typically cruise at 40 mph and in the blink of an eye jump to light speed in any direction or come to a dead stop in mid-air before darting off untouched. I believe the most difficult target is a mourning dove riding a tail wind into a grain field. You just cannot get a big enough lead on such a bird and may as well fire the gun into the ground as slap off a Hail Mary charge into the September sky.

The early season continues through Oct. 22 and hunters are reminded that a free U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit must be possessed by all dove hunters. HIP permits are available wherever hunting licenses are sold.

Shooting hours for this hunt are noon to sunset and the daily limit is 12. During the Nov. 18-23 and Dec. 26-Jan. 7 dove hunts shooting hours are expanded to a half-hour before sunrise to sunset.

Lots of geese locally

Carroll County is an increasingly reluctant host to huge numbers of resident Canada geese. In an attempt to get the population down to a reasonable levels, area hunters may take up to five daily through Sept. 25. Permission to hunt shouldn't be too difficult to obtain, but areas to hunt could be a problem. Many local ponds are home to huge numbers of geese, but many of these ponds are close to homes, barns, livestock, even community parks, golf courses and shopping centers. Extreme caution must be exercised at all times.

Lead shot may be used during the resident goose hunt. However, non-toxic shot, such as Bismuth or marginally efficient steel shot, is mandatory during the regular duck and waterfowl ++ seasons later in the year.

Local CCA meeting set

The Baltimore Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will meet at 6: 30 Wednesday night at Michael's Cafe, 219 York Road, opposite the Fairgrounds in Timonium. The meeting is open to the public.

The featured speaker will be Chesapeake angler and author Keith Walters. His subject will be "The Lighter Side of Light Tackle Rockfishing."

Pub Date: 9/08/96

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