Guide Harrison loses his way, needs to quit

outdoors

December 24, 2006

Here's hoping Capt. Buddy Harrison gets out of the "blast and cast" business for the sake of his family, his customers and his family business.

Just months after pleading guilty to taking 31 undersized striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay and paying a $310 fine, Harrison, a Tilghman Island charter boat captain and licensed waterfowl guide, was indicted on six counts of illegal goose hunting.

The U.S. Attorney's office charges that on Jan. 12, Harrison hunted Canada geese over an area covered in bait and took a dozen birds, 10 more than the law allows. The indictment names both Harrison and Harrison's Country Inn and Sportfishing Center, which has been in his family for 72 years.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine of $15,000.

Harrison, of course, is innocent until proven guilty.

But this is the culmination of a yearlong investigation by the feds, not some Natural Resources Police parking ticket. Politicians who might have given him cover in the past won't be so quick to jump in now.

And it's not like Harrison is as pure as the driven snow. The 50-year bay veteran had three convictions on fishing violations before this year.

But DNR's Paul Peditto says Harrison might be beyond the reach of his agency. State law requires conviction on two separate offenses before a waterfowl guide license can be revoked.

"We will review the case. If we have two incidents, we'll enforce the regulation and revoke his license," says Peditto, chief of the Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Last summer, Harrison, 72, attributed his woes to a bad reaction to medication. This time, it's other health problems.

A man who drives a 65-foot boat and handles firearms needs to be at the top of his game both for the safety of his clients and the public.

Harrison is scheduled for an initial appearance Jan. 5 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Before then, he ought to put his guide license and his charter boat license in an envelope and mail them to DNR.

A license and more

It's hard to say who had more fun last week, Eastern Shore hunter Shawna Whitby or taxidermist Anthony Truitt.

Whitby, 19, won a hunting license and a $500 gift certificate in the Wildlife and Heritage Service's contest for hunters.

The 36 outdoors shops that participated in the contest each gave away a hunting license. Those winners became eligible for the gift certificate.

"I was happy with the license," says Whitby, a Federalsburg resident and employee at the Tidewater Inn. "I didn't expect anything else."

But her name was drawn Tuesday by Maryland Sportsman's Association president Wendy Donahoo.

Whitby learned to hunt two years ago from her boyfriend. This year, she bagged an 8-point buck with her muzzleloader and a 9-point buck with her shotgun. The gift certificate will help cover the cost of deer processing.

Truitt, the owner of East Coast Taxidermy in Hurlock, was equally thrilled. Days before the drawing, Truitt and his wife, Jackie, were hoping Whitby, the mother of a 13-month-old son, might win.

"What a marvelous kid," he says. "We have guys pull up in their $50,000 [trucks] and $500 doesn't mean that much to them. For her to pull a rabbit out of her hat - being young and a new mom - is a sign things do go right now and again."

The Truitts have another reason to rejoice. Their son, Brandon, a member of the Army's 1st Armored Division stationed in Iraq, is home for a 30-day leave.

"We went duck hunting and got a couple," Anthony Truitt says. "But that's beside the point. There isn't a better thing I could think of than to be outside with my son right with me."

Savage update

On Nov. 21, a state official ordered Mike Dreisbach, the owner of the upscale Savage River Lodge, to remove "No Parking" signs from the access road that leads to his property and to remove a locked gate Dreisbach placed across the lower portion of the road.

Larry Maxim, the manager of Savage River State Forest, said the attorney general's office ruled that Dreisbach "had no legal right" to prevent people from parking outside the travel lane.

Maxim ordered the work to be done "immediately," warning that his staff would remove the signs and Natural Resources Police would take "appropriate action" if the gate problems weren't resolved.

As of last Monday, nothing had changed.

Radio-free Annapolis

The winter is a great time to catch up on repairs and maintenance on everything from fishing tackle to camping gear.

An Annapolis ham radio operator is offering to help boaters with a free check of their High Frequency (HF), Single Sideband (SSB) marine radios.

Brad Rohrer, a director of the Chesapeake Area Professional Captains Association, is known as K1CTK among his amateur radio friends and WHD867 on his marine coastal radio. He says for safety's sake, everyone should have their radios checked periodically, something he's willing to do, "no hooks attached."

For an appointment, contact him at: capt.brad@comcast.net.

Women's hunt

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