The Washington Times - July 4, 2009, 10:00AM

Newcomers to the Washington area should know that hunting opportunities abound. It requires a minimal amount of foot- and homework, but can pay off handsomely in the form of delicious venison.

However, for a variety of managed deer hunts on various local, state, or federal properties you must show a proficiency in shooting a bow, black powder rifle or a shotgun. You pick the weapon you prefer for the various hunting seasons.

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This year, Maryland wildlife officials have scheduled more than 50 shooter qualification sessions at 17 locations across the state. The Department of Natural Resources’ Assistant Deer Project Leader, George Timko, said, “The system allows a hunter to satisfy the shooting proficiency requirements of [any agency] by qualifying one time at a single location each year.”

You may be charged a small fee to cover expenses of organizations that host these shooting proficiency events. As additional locations and tests are chosen, the DNR will update them on its online Maryland Shooter Qualification Sessions Calendar.

For additional information and scheduled sessions, visit www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/shoot_qual_cal.asp and pick a location that will suit you.

For waterfowl hunters who like to construct their own duck or goose hunting blinds, Maryland’s Wildlife and Heritage Service provides a schedule of dates and times to apply for blind site licenses in the state’s waters.

The initial phase of licensing will take place on Tuesday, August 4 and Wednesday, August 5, at locations in each county where blind site licensing is authorized. Thereafter, licensing will take place at DNR offices located throughout the state.

Applicants must arrive at the designated location between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Individuals arriving after 8 a.m. will not be eligible for the lottery drawing and will have to wait until all lottery applicants have completed their selection. Applicants will be limited to a maximum of 10 minutes to select their blind sites; no more than two sites per hunter may be selected per day. Licensing will end at 4:30 p.m. on August 4 and noon on August 5 at all locations. Licensing will resume on August 6 at the DNR offices.

You must apply for your blind site in person and show a 2008-2009 or 2009-2010 resident hunting license, along with a Maryland driver’s license or other photo identification proving you’re a Maryland resident. (2009-2010 hunting licenses are now available and can be purchased at any DNR sport license agent, online at www.wildlifelicense.com/md or by phone at 1-800-918-2870.)

Landowners, or anyone who has written permission from a landowner, who want to license private shoreline property, should bring a copy of the property account information — available through the Department of Assessments and Taxation website (www.dat.state.md.us) — and a tax map or legible map showing the exact location of the shoreline to be licensed.

Here is a selection of nearby counties and their locations for blind site licensing and map viewing:

In Anne Arundel County, the licensing location is the Broadneck High School Auditorium, 1265 Green Holly Dr., in Arnold. Preview maps are available at the Tawes State Office Building, E-1, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis.

In Prince George’s County, the County Administration Bldg. (Main Lobby, First Floor), 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Dr., Upper Marlboro, is the place to go. Preview maps available at County Administration Building, Room L-15. (On August 6, and thereafter, licenses for Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties will be issued at the Wildlife and Heritage Service office, Tawes State Office Bldg., E-1, Annapolis.

Calvert County waterfowlers should go to the DNR Regional Service Center, 6904 Hallowing Lane, Prince Frederick. Preview maps are  available at the same location.

Those who plan to hunt in Charles County, the licensing location is the Myrtle Grove WMA Office, 5625 Myrtle Grove Road, west of LaPlata. Maps are available at the same location, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. only.

St. Mary’s County licensees need to go to the Joseph D. Carter Bldg., Russell Conference Room, 2nd Floor, 23110 Leonard Hall Dr., Leonardtown. Preview maps are available at the St. Mary’s County Memorial Library, 23250 Hollywood Road, Leonardtown.

On August 6 and thereafter, licenses for Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties will be issued at the DNR Southern Regional Service Center, 6904 Hallowing Lane, Prince Frederick, MD 20678.