Bowhunting season set to open with optimism

Strong deer harvest seen as liberal limits continue

Notebook

September 12, 1999|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Maryland's bow season for white-tailed and Sika deer opens Wednesday, with good prospects of a second successive record harvest and continued liberal bag limits in most areas of the state.

The season will run through Jan. 31.

Bowhunters killed a record 16,300 deer last year, 22 percent more than in the 1997-1998 season, according to statistics compiled by the Department of Natural Resources.

Although liberalized bag limits initiated last year have helped to slow the growth of the deer population in rural areas, game managers still are concerned that numbers of deer continue to increase in outer suburban areas.

In game management, the most effective control on population growth is through hunting, and the most effective method is killing antlerless deer.

According to DNR statistics, 46 percent of the harvest last season was antlerless deer, or does and button bucks.

Bowhunting is the most effective control tool in areas on the edge of suburbia, where firearms pose a much greater danger to people nearby.

A recent DNR survey found that about 43,200 people hunt with bow and arrow. Maryland bowhunters have doubled their effectiveness over the past 10 years, and last season 40 percent of them killed at least one deer.

Hunting regulations in Maryland again will separate bag limits in four management regions across the state, with the hunt directed toward antlerless deer except in the western counties.

The season for Sika will be open only in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties, with a basic bag limit of one antlered or antlerless deer. A second deer may be taken after purchasing a bonus deer stamp, but must be antlerless if the first deer taken was antlered.

Menhaden hearing

The Atlantic menhaden is a key part of the Chesapeake Bay food web, and in recent years commercial and recreational fishermen and fisheries biologists have been taking a closer look at this important non-game fish.

Tomorrow the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will hold a public meeting concerning modifications to the menhaden fisheries management plan.

Among the proposed changes to be discussed are an investigation into the role menhaden play in the ecosystem, incorporation of an overfishing definition and whether the species needs to be restored to greater numbers.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis.

Star championships

The Annapolis Yacht Club will host the Star Class world sailing championships May 10-21 next year, with races scheduled May 14-19.

"This is the last world championship regatta before the Sydney Olympics, and four national Olympic spots will be determined at the 2000 worlds," said Jim Capron, co-chairman of the AYC's organizing committee.

(MAP INFORMATION)

Region A - One antlered or antlerless white-tailed deer, with a second deer allowed by using a bonus deer stamp or a bonus antlerless deer stamp after Dec. 13. Total bag limit is 2.

Region B- One antlered or antlerless deer, with a second deer available with a bonus deer stamp. Total bag limit is 2, only one of which can be antlered.

Region C - One antlered or antlerless deer, with three more allowed with purchase of bonus deer stamps. If the first deer is antlered, then two antlerless deer must be taken before another antlered deer. Total bag limit is 4, only two of which may be antlered.

Region D - One antlered or antlerless deer, with three more allowed with purchase of bonus deer stamps. If the first deer is antlered, then two antlerless deer must be taken before another antlered deer. Total bag limit is 4, only two of which may be antlered.

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