Spring wild turkey season take breaks state record by 48 birds

ON THE OUTDOORS

October 01, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Maryland hunters set a state record during the spring wild turkey season this year, bagging 2,589 bearded birds to exceed the 1996 mark of 2,541.

This year's take was 5 percent more than taken in 1997, when hunters killed 2,454 birds.

"Wild turkey populations have been expanding across Maryland in recent years," said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. "Although yearly production has varied across the state, spring hunters have enjoyed continuous success in pursuit of this wily game bird."

While the spring harvest set a record, DNR officials said rainy weather during the spring season might have resulted in less than optimal harvests. Still, 10 counties reported takes of more than 100 birds, with Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties reporting more than 300 birds each.

Ideal weather statewide during the four-week spring season could produce a take approaching 3,000 birds, according to DNR.

Game managers said adequate reproduction this year will result in continued expansion of wild turkey populations.

Grouse opener

The hunting season for ruffed grouse opens Monday in Maryland with a two-bird limit. The season ends Jan. 31. Ruffed ** grouse are mainly found in Garrett, Allegany, Washington and western Frederick counties and prefer wooded areas with thick understory.

According to DNR, studies of radio-collared grouse show that the lifelong range of a ruffed grouse is mainly confined to areas no larger than 100 acres.

Best potential habitats are forested areas that have been cut over in the last 10 to 15 years.

Squirrel opener

When the squirrel season opens Monday, hunters will find good conditions in Western Maryland, where the mast crop is good this year. Squirrels can be expected to be concentrated in feeding areas where the mast -- acorns, hickory and beech nuts, for example -- is good. The season ends Jan. 31.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake: Bay water temperatures did not drop for long last week, before the record heat over the weekend, but the extended forecast calls for seasonable temperatures. Water temperatures should begin to drop through the 70s, and the fishing should turn on. Chummers at the mud flats at Love Point and the triple buoys area are picking up rockfish from 17 to 23 inches. Trollers have done reasonably well along channel edges in the Patapsco River and the bay proper. Bluefish are still numerous and scattered south of North Point and Swan Point. White perch action over the lumps between the Patapsco and Magothy rivers, at Snake Reff and in the lower Chester River.

Middle Chesapeake: Rockfish bite has been spotty, with chummers at the Hill, Summer Gooses and Diamonds doing reasonably well on stripers to 30 inches and western shore trollers catching some to 34 inches between Flag Pond and Clay Banks. Bluefish, some to 6 pounds, have been hitting for chummers and trollers, mostly along the eastern edges. White perch from Thomas Point Light to Tolley Point. Eastern Bay has blues and stripers breaking on top and sea trout underneath -- and flounder action along the edges off Clairborne.

Lower Chesapeake: Chumming, trolling, casting all are working for numerous bluefish from 1 to 3 pounds and sometimes larger. Best rockfish action seems to be for chummers working Point No Point Light and the eastern edge from HS Buoy to Buoy 72.

Susquehanna River: Rockfish off Lapidum and at Idiot Alley and the I-95 bridge on trolled hoses or drifted eels. Smallmouth bass and catfish action reported slow.

Deep Creek Lake: Smallmouth bass on drifted minnows, pickerel in the weed beds and walleye starting to turn on.

Inshore Ocean City: Red drum to 46 inches still being taken from the Assateague surf on finger mullet. Also sand tigers, bluefish and small sea trout. Flounder action improving in the back bays, and small sea bass moving in through the inlet. Sea trout and occasional keeper rockfish at the Route 50 bridge.

Offshore Ocean City: Numbers of yellowfin tuna increasing along the 30 fathom line from Spencer to Washington canyons. Wahoo hitting lures of tuna trollers.

Pub Date: 10/01/98

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