Firearms season features regionalized bag limits Stabilizing deer numbers is goal of new regulations

November 22, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

The firearms hunting season for deer opens Saturday with new, regionalized bag limits expected to help stabilize deer numbers in areas where growth of whitetail populations has been rapid in recent years.

The two-week season runs through Dec. 12, excluding Sundays.

Since the start of bow season in September, hunters have been able to hunt four regions of the state under separate bag limits. In past years, hunters had statewide bag limits for bow, muzzleloader and firearms seasons.

"The new deer management regions with their independent bag limits give wildlife managers the flexibility to address deer population hot spots," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin.

According to DNR, deer populations are manipulated primarily by adjusting bag limits to take higher percentages of female deer. The regulations for the central, southern and eastern areas reflect the need to reduce the number of females using bag limits that emphasize antlerless deer.

In the western part of the state, deer populations are stable and regulations there are similar to previous years.

Regardless of total combined bag limits, hunters can take only one deer per day in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties. There are no restrictions on when a legal limit may be taken in all other counties.

A look at the firearms bag limits by regions:

Region A (Allegany and Garrett counties and Zone 2 of Washington County) -- Total bag limit is two. One antlered deer, plus a second on a bonus deer stamp or a bonus antlerless deer stamp. The second deer must be antlered unless the hunter was selected by lottery to receive a bonus antlerless deer stamp. The antlerless deer can be taken only on Dec. 11 or 12.

Region B (Carroll County and Zone 1 of Washington and Frederick counties) -- Total bag limit is two, and only one may be antlered. The first deer may be antlered or antlerless from Saturday to Dec. 5; only antlered deer may be taken from Dec. 7-12. After buying a bonus deer stamp, hunters may take a second deer between Saturday and Dec. 5. The second deer may be antlered or antlerless if the first deer was antlerless. The second deer must be antlerless if the first was antlered. Hunters whose first deer was antlered cannot take a second deer from Dec. 7-12.

Region C (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick (Zone 2), Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties) -- Total bag limit is four. Hunters may take one antlered or antlerless whitetail and, after buying bonus deer stamps, three more deer may be taken. No more than two antlered deer may be taken, and two antlerless deer must be taken before taking a second antlered deer.

Region D (Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, St. Mary's, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties) -- Total bag limit is four. Hunters may take one antlered or antlerless whitetail and, after buying bonus deer stamps, three more deer may be taken. No more than two antlered deer may be taken, and two antlerless deer must be taken before taking a second antlered deer.

The firearms season for sika deer coincides with the whitetail season and is open in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

The bag limit in these areas is one antlered or antlerless sika.

A second sika may be taken after buying a bonus deer stamp. The second sika must be antlerless if the first was antlered and may be either sex if the first was antlerless.

Pub Date: 11/22/98

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