Changes in deer-hunting rules result in record state harvest

73,570 is 12 percent rise

antlerless totals seen key

April 25, 1999|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Maryland hunters, taking advantage of greatly liberalized bag limits, set records in all deer seasons in 1998-1999, according to figures from the Department of Natural Resources.

"Changes in deer-hunting regulations this year successfully increased deer harvests in areas with high or rapidly growing deer populations," said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin.

"In addition, we succeeded in increasing the antlerless-deer harvest in those areas, which is key to controlling population increases."

Bow, muzzleloader and firearms hunters killed a total of 73,570 deer, a 12 percent increase over the previous season. White-tailed deer accounted for 72,313 of that number.

Deer bag limits were zoned in four regions of the state, with hunters encouraged to take antlerless deer in central and southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore. The antlerless kill in those three areas increased by nearly 25 percent.

Bow hunters set a record with 16,300 deer, an increase of 26 percent. Antlerless numbers were up 37 percent.

Muzzleloaders surpassed the previous mark of 11,808 with 16,233 deer, an increase of 37 percent that included 34 percent more antlerless deer.

Firearms hunters killed 41,037 deer, 1 percent more than in 1997, when the previous record was set. The increase in the antlerless kill by firearms hunters was only 4 percent.

The top 10 counties overall were: Frederick (6,594), Washington (5,686), Garrett (5,568), Allegany (5,051), Dorchester (3,976), Baltimore (3,687), Kent (3,629), Charles (3,389), Montgomery (3,304) and Worcester (3,325).

Freshwater meetings

DNR's Freshwater Fisheries service will hold public meetings early next month on proposed changes in fishing regulations for 2000. Among the proposals:

For the Youghiogheny River, change the area from the I-68 bridge downstream to the reservoir from put-and-take to delayed-harvest trout area.

Increase striped bass limits in Liberty Reservoir from two to four fish and the size limit from 30 inches to 36 to increase harvest and maintain spawning stock.

Remove Loch Raven and Prettyboy reservoirs and Broadford and Wheatly lakes from the list of special striped bass areas because they no longer have striped bass.

At Lake Habeeb, add crappie (15) and sunfish (15) to reduced creel limit areas because the lake is predator heavy and forage weak. Also reduce channel catfish creel limit to five.

Reduce the sunfish creel limit on the mainstem of the Potomac River to 15 because of heavy fishing pressure.

Extend the spring walleye closure (3-1 to 4-15) on Deep Creek Lake to the Youghiogheny River downstream of the Route 42 bridge.

Establish a 9-inch minimum for yellow perch and a five-fish limit in all tidal waters except in or upstream of reservoirs, lakes, ponds and impoundments to protect Chesapeake Bay stocks.

The meetings are scheduled:

May 4: District 12 Ruritan Club, 18301 Manor Church Rd., Fairplay, Washington County, 7 p.m.

May 5: NRP Eastern Region Office, Area 2, Route 309 just north of Route 404, Hillsboro, Queen Anne's County, 7 p.m.

May 6: Cedarville NRA visitors center, Cedarville, Prince George's County, 7 p.m.

May 10: Patapsco Valley State Park, Hollofield headquarters, Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 7: 30 p.m.

May 12: Frostburg State University, Ort Library, Frostburg, Allegany County, 7 p.m.

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