- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2001

If Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening is successful in his quest to diminish the role played by the state's hunters, the heroic 18th-century Maryland mountain man and supplier of venison to some of General Washington's troops, Meshach Browning, will be spinning in his Garrett County grave.

The governor has drawn the ire of the Wildlife Legislative Fund of America, a hunter advocacy group, as well as Western Maryland sportsman's clubs because Glendening appointed a "Non-Lethal Task Force on Wildlife," whose mission will be to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife management practices throughout the United States. When done, the task force will make recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources that will stress the implementation of non-lethal wildlife management techniques.

Read that to mean, "We don't want any recreational hunting." Hunters are out; tree huggers are in. It's as simple as that.

The task force's recommendation will be submitted to the governor and the state legislature Dec. 1.

The task force carries no legally enforceable clout, but it will set the wildlife management tone for Glendening's remaining time in Annapolis. The state's hunters, meanwhile, hope that he quickly will be succeeded by somebody of less liberal leanings.

In reference to the non-lethal management task force, WLFA president Rick Story says, "This is virtually an act of war against Maryland's sportsmen. The intent of the task force is eminently clear to phase out consumptive wildlife use in favor of some vague voodoo conservation principle."

Although Glendening shrewdly appointed one hunter to the task force, imagine how outnumbered the hunter will be when he goes up against the governor's other representatives, including members of virulent anti-hunting organizations like the Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals.

What has become of us? Are we so timid that we are afraid to face facts, including one that has shown well-regulated hunting to be an indisputable wildlife management tool? In addition, how many people know about the huge sums spent by hunters on licenses and fees that benefit non-hunted wildlife amounts that would dry up the moment hunters disappeared?

Must America become so politically correct that we will soon become part of a world where the killing of a roach or a wharf rat is viewed with sorrow? Already there are animal rightists the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, to name some who believe the life of a filthy rat to be no less important than that of a human child. Imagine that.

Meanwhile, if you believe Gov. Glendening's task force is nothing but a scam to do away with recreational hunting, write to: Chairman, Maryland Non-Lethal Task Force on Wildlife, c/o Wildlife & Heritage Division, DNR, 580 Taylor Ave., E-1, Annapolis, Md. 21401.

E-mail comments can be sent to: [email protected]; the toll-free line to the DNR is 877/620-8367, ext. 8546; the fax is 410/260-8595.

Virginia's early bird seasons Dove hunters in Virginia can plan on being afield during a 3-way split season, Sept. 1-Sept. 29 (shooting hours are 12 noon until sunset), followed by Oct. 13-Nov. 10 (30 minutes before sunrise to sunset), and December 29-January 9 (30 minutes before sunrise to sunset). The bag limit is 12 doves a day, 24 in possession.

For rails (king, clapper, sora and Virginia species), the hunt runs Sept. 11-Nov. 19. Bag Limit for clapper or king rails is 15 a day, counted together, 30 in possession; Sora/Virginia species, 25 counted together daily, 25 in possession. Shooting is legal 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

Woodcock season is open Nov. 3-Nov. 17 and Dec. 22 through Jan. 5. Bag limit is three a day, six in possession. Shooting is legal 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

The snipe hunt runs Oct. 10-Oct. 13 and Oct. 22-Jan. 31. Bag Limit is eight a day, 16 in possession. Shooting times are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

Resident Canada geese can be hunted statewide Sept. 1-Sept, 25. Bag Limit is five a day, 10 in possession. Shooting is legal 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.

Early teal season runs Sept. 15-Sept. 25. Bag Limit is four teal of any combination of blue-winged and green-winged species a day, eight in possession. Shooting is legal 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

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