As waterfowl season draws near, it's good to hit the skeet fields

Carroll Outdoors

October 26, 1997|By Lonny Weaver | Lonny Weaver,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"So much to do ... so little time," certainly describes this time of the year for hunters and anglers. That's the phrase that kept running through my head while unsuccessfully trying to put a few pounds of venison into the freezer during last week's early muzzleloader deer hunt.

Last night I cemented the arrangements for my annual sea duck hunt with St. Michaels guide Norm Haddaway. Joining me will be local waterfowling fans Dick Broden, Kermit Henning and Gerry Putt. Norm suggested shooting from an off-shore blind this year and that suits me just fine. Also, our hunt will take place a couple of weeks later than usual so we will find ourselves adding mallards, ruddy ducks and blue bills to the usual fare of scoters and old squaws.

Just about all duck numbers are up this year, including canvasbacks. The bay country is still tops for ducks, but above-average shooting can be found closer to home. Any number of farm ponds sport surprisingly good duck shooting.

The Potomac and Monocacy rivers are also excellent locations, especially for jump shooting. By the way, I'm blowing the waterfowling budget this year by ridding my self of steel shot and shooting Bismuth exclusively. Based on far too many field disappointments, I have hated the use of steel shot since the day its use became mandatory. That ruling was, in my opinion, the dirtiest trick ever played on this nation's waterfowl.

The coming duck season, except for black ducks and canvasbacks, is Nov. 4-28 and Dec. 12 to Jan. 20. The sea duck hunt got under way Oct. 6 and continues to Jan. 20.

A few weeks back Hampstead's Rich Gonsman and I began preparing for this year's waterfowl and upland game seasons by investing in a hundred skeet targets each weekend thrown across one of the Loch Raven Skeet & Trap Club's skeet fields.

I am a longtime fan of the game for preseason tuneups and have used the Loch Raven facility for more than two decades. A skeet field setup costs considerably more than a trap layout, thus you have to look around to find a skeet facility.

Loch Raven charges $4.50 for a round of skeet, which consists of 25 targets. Shooters are challenged with doubles at four of the nine shooting positions, or stations. The entrance to the facility is located off Dulaney Valley Road in Baltimore County.

No county turkey hunt

Though huntable numbers of wild turkeys exist in Carroll, and in all Maryland counties, the Nov. 3-8 fall turkey hunting season is limited to Allegany, Garrett and the western portion of Washington counties.

"We considered extending the length of the fall hunting season in 1997, but reproductive success was lower than necessary to support an extended fall season," DNR secretary John Griffin said at a news conference. "Although field staff recorded a similar number of turkey broods in 1997 as they did in 1996, the total number of turkeys observed indicates that the population in Western Maryland is down slightly from last year."

Local fishing is great

Last Sunday afternoon I put in a couple of hours of Liberty

Reservoir shoreline striped bass fishing north of the Nicodemus Road Bridge. Stripers to 12 pounds have been showing up in good numbers in the upper reaches of the dam. Now that cooler temperatures have arrived, look for some real monster-sized striped bass to turn up in time for Halloween.

Freshwater striper fishing is not much different from Chesapeake Bay rockfishing methods. I wouldn't want to go trolling rubber hoses or parachute rigs, but dragging bucktails and deep diving lures behind your boat works just fine. Also, I doubt you will find gulls diving to Liberty's surface, but if you spot common species birds skimming the surface, you can bet you will find breaking stripers.

Shoreline anglers, (who stand a superb chance of hooking a freshwater rockfish), casting 1-ounce bucktails with a twistertail, big crankbaits or 1 1/4 -ounce Rattletraps are well equipped to hook a trophy striper.

Elsewhere in the county, crappie, bluegill and yellow perch fishing is good to excellent at Piney Run Reservoir. At Morgan Run, the trout have been hitting beetles, ants, hoppers and crickets. Also, the DNR has stocked the following local waters: Farm Museum Pond, Westminster Pond, Taneytown Pond, Bennet Cerf Pond, upper Patapsco River, Piney Run Reservoir and Morgan Run with approximately 7,250 trout.

Pub Date: 10/26/97

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