Managed deer hunt's start reset for Nov. 6

Days lost to shooting ban might be rescheduled in Feb. to help trim herd

Howard County

October 28, 2002|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,SUN STAFF

Howard County's managed deer hunt, suspended when the governor banned shooting in four Maryland counties, will begin Nov. 6 and continue as scheduled through January, county officials said.

Other seasonal hunting activities resumed Friday in Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties when Gov. Parris N. Glendening lifted the ban on discharging firearms in those counties.

The governor issued the restrictions Oct. 15 to cut reports of gunfire that might distract police from investigating the series of sniper killings in the Washington area. The ban was lifted shortly after police charged two men in the case.

The deer management hunt, originally planned to start Oct. 15, will begin next week at Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, said Gary J. Arthur, director of the county Department of Recreation and Parks. Hunting days have been scheduled through Jan. 30 at Middle Patuxent and David Force Park.

"Hopefully we will be adding on the weeks that were lost at the end of the schedule," Arthur said. Weather permitting, he said, dates would be added in February.

Arthur said his agency will use this week to contact the 25 hunters registered for the program and to send letters to residents closest to the hunting grounds. The county will continue to offer updated details on its Deer Information Line at 410-313-4702.

The return of hunting will be welcome to many, who had mixed reactions when the shooting ban went into effect.

"If they have to send a SWAT team out every time someone shoots a squirrel, I can understand" the state's concern, said Stephen Swanhart of Poplar Springs. But he said he felt the decision was made with too little notice and planning.

"It left me with no place to hunt," he said.

"I would like to applaud the swiftness of the decision" to lift the ban, Swanhart said. He also said he hopes the state will add more days of muzzleloader hunting, the first shooting season, which was interrupted.

Mark Wilson of Clarksville said he was not overly affected by the restrictions because other shooting seasons are scheduled, and he enjoys bow hunting, which continued.

Still, he said he felt Howard County, which had no shooting victims, could have allowed hunting to continue.

"I totally understand why they did it," said Wilson, "but to me Howard County was far removed from [the sniper shootings]. ... I thought it was far enough that we could have hunted."

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