Waterfowl dates might include longer Oct. split

August 23, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

The Department of Natural Resources last week presented its proposed waterfowl seasons and bag limits for 1998-1999, including an extended season for resident Canada geese in certain parts of the state and the possibility of a longer October split for duck season.

Maryland seasons are set within a framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which sets the maximum season length, largest bag limits and earliest and latest season openings and closings.

While the federal framework allows a six-duck daily bag limit, DNR again is proposing a basic bag of four and two bonus teal per day in any of the three season splits.

Maryland has had a four-duck limit since 1995, based on input from hunters.

The October split for ducks could run Oct. 10-17 or Oct. 10-14.

According to DNR, the longer October split, which would not include black ducks or canvasbacks, is being offered because hunters have expressed interest in it.

Black ducks may be taken only on Youth Waterfowl Day (Oct. 3), Nov. 23-27 and Dec. 14-Jan. 20. The limited days for black ducks are part of the Atlantic Flyway management strategy to maintain populations at current levels.

"States are required to maintain a reduced black duck harvest despite the longer duck season," said Michael Slattery, director of DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Division. "Restrictions on black ducks early in the season help to conserve local breeding populations."

The late season for resident Canada geese, which continue to increase in Maryland and throughout the Atlantic Flyway, is proposed Nov. 16-Feb. 15 in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties and parts of Montgomery County.

According to banding data from DNR studies, only small numbers of migratory Canada geese winter in the western parts of the state that will be open for the late season, and damage to the migratory population will be negligible.

The proposed bag limit for snow geese has been increased to 15 per day, part of an intensified effort to reduce a rapidly increasing population. The 1998 fall flight of snow geese is expected to number more than 1 million birds.

According to DNR, snow geese numbers are so large that they overgraze feeding areas and damage coastal habitats.

Proposed waterfowl seasons

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has proposed the following waterfowl seasons and bag limits for 1998-1999:

Migratory Canada geese: Closed season.

Resident Canada geese, late season: Nov. 16-27, Dec. 14-Jan. 14, Jan. 15-Feb. 15, 2 per day. The late season is open in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties and in Montgomery County west of I-270 and west of I-495 from the Virginia line to the intersection of I-270 and I-495.

Snow geese: Oct. 31-Nov. 27 and Dec. 1-March 6, 15 per day.

Brant: Nov. 7-27 and Dec. 15-Jan. 20, 2 per day.

Ducks (except black and canvasback), Alternative A: Oct. 10-17, Nov. 5-27, Dec. 14-Jan. 20.

Ducks (except black and canvasback), Alternative B: Oct. 10-14, Nov. 2-27, Dec. 14-Jan. 20.

Black duck: Oct. 3, Nov. 23-27 and Dec. 21-Jan. 20.

Canvasback: Dec. 21-Jan. 20.

Daily duck limits: 4 per day, which may include no more than 2 hen mallards, 1 pintail, 2 wood ducks, 1 redhead, 1 fulvous tree duck, 1 mottled duck and 1 canvasback when in season. Two teal may be taken in addition to the 4-duck daily bag during any season split.

Sea ducks: Oct. 5-Jan. 20, 5 per day, except limit on scoters is 4.

Pub Date: 8/23/98

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