Waterfowl seasons finalized Longer October duck hunt, canvasback extension set


September 06, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

After a pair of public meetings last month, DNR has finalized its waterfowl hunting seasons and bag limits for 1998-99 and submitted them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approval.

Among the significant changes submitted are a longer October split in the duck season and more days open for canvasbacks later in the season.

The October split for ducks will run Oct. 10-17, including two Saturdays.

Canvasbacks will be open to hunting during the third split of the season, Dec. 14-Jan. 20.

"Although federal duck hunting-season frameworks allow a 60-day duck season and six ducks per day, a majority of Maryland waterfowl hunters continue to prefer a conservative bag limit of four ducks per day," said Michael Slattery, director of DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Division.

However, DNR has added bonus green-winged or blue-winged teal during each of the season splits and hunters will be allowed to take two teal daily in addition to the normal bag limits.

While the season for migratory Canada geese will remain closed this year, the season for snow geese has been liberalized and moved forward in the calendar.

Snow geese, which are increasing rapidly, will be open for hunting Oct. 17-Nov. 27 and Dec. 8-Feb. 27, with a bag limit of 15 per day and an unlimited possession limit. As first proposed, the snow geese season would have run Oct. 31-Nov. 27 and Dec. 1-March 6.

Waterfowl managers from the USFWS, Atlantic Flyway states and Canada will meet next month to develop plans to resume the sport harvest of the Atlantic population of migratory Canada geese. Under the management action plan for migratory Canadas, the resumption of sport hunting can be considered when the number of breeding pairs in the Ungava region of Quebec reaches 60,000 and there is evidence of sustained population growth.

The number of breeding pairs this year was 42,000, down from 63,000 last year, but nesting activity was similar or higher than last year. Waterfowl biologists believe an early spring in northern Quebec created a bias in the pairs survey, resulting in a low estimate of breeding pairs.

"Gosling production was above average for the second consecutive year," Slattery said. "This is a positive sign that the season closure is working and the population is beginning to rebuild its numbers."

Smithsonian hunt

DNR and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Anne Arundel County will hold a managed deer hunt during firearms season this year as part of an effort to control a burgeoning population of whitetails.

The hunt is limited to shotguns with rifled slugs and hunters must use portable treestands that will position them at least 10 feet off the ground. Hunting hours will be limited to 30 minutes before sunrise to 2 p.m.

Hunters will be allowed two deer, the first of which must be antlerless, and all deer taken will be counted against the statewide firearms season limit.

Available dates are Nov. 28 and 30, Dec. 4, 5, 7, 11 and 12. Hunters will be selected by lottery.

Permit applications must be submitted on a 3-by-5 index cards to the Wildlife Division Office at 5625 Myrtle Grove Rd., LaPlata (20646), no later than noon, Oct. 2.

Applications must include full name and address, day and evening phone numbers, current hunting license number, hunter safety certificate number (required for all hunters in this hunt), and dates requested.

All selected hunters must have passed a firearms proficiency test and present a Maryland state shooter qualification card at Myrtle Grove by Nov. 4.

The permit drawing will be held at the Myrtle Grove office at 1 p.m. on Oct. 7.

For more information, call 301-743-5161 or 410-260-8538.

Bass updates

DNR's freshwater fisheries personnel have documented natural reproduction of smallmouth bass in the North Branch of the Potomac River downstream from the Westernport Wastewater Treatment Plant for the second straight year.

Since 1993, DNR has been trying to re-establish bass in this stretch of the Potomac, which for many years was heavily polluted by discharge from the Westvaco Paper Co. plant. The bass program has coincided with the company's efforts to improve its water treatment process. Approximately 10,000 largemouth bass fingerlings were stocked in the North Branch this summer.

DNR also is working to improve the largemouth population in the Patuxent River and has released about 9,000 tagged fingerlings above Jug Bay.

1998-1999 waterfowl seasons

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has forwarded the following dates and bag limits to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for final approval. All fall within USFWS guidelines and approval is expected:

Migratory Canada geese: Closed season

Resident Canada geese, late season: Nov. 16-27, Dec. 14-Jan. 14, two per day, and Jan. 15-Feb. 15, three 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. 17-Nov. 27 and Dec. 8-Feb. 27, 15 per day

Brant: Nov. 7-27 and Dec. 14-Jan. 20, two per day

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

Black duck: Nov. 23-27 and Dec. 14-Jan. 20

Canvasback: Dec. 14-Jan. 20

Daily duck limits: Four per day, which may include no more than two hen mallards, one pintail, two wood ducks, one redhead, one fulvous tree duck, one mottled duck and one canvasback when in season and 1 black duck when in season.

Bonus teal: Two blue-winged or green-winged teal, singly or in aggregate may be taken in addition to the four-duck daily bag limit during any of the three season splits.

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

Pub Date: 9/06/98

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