- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2002

The little state of Maryland, already believed to be the most expensive for licenses for its resident hunters, has upped the ante even more. If you live in Maryland and hunt every legally available game species in the state, for the various 2002-03 hunting seasons, you'll have to fork over $48.50 an outrageous sum of money that rivals some states' nonresident hunting fees.
The breakdown includes a resident consolidated hunting license at $24.50 and a new Maryland Migratory Bird Stamp that costs $9 (the old $6 state waterfowl stamp is gone). And, of course, you will need a $15 federal migratory bird hunting stamp. Total cost: $48.50.
Compare that to one of the better hunting states along the East Coast, Virginia, where hunters are charged $24 to hunt all the state's game, plus $15 for the federal migratory bird stamp. Total cost: $39.
The $9 Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp will be needed by every hunter who shoots not only waterfowl (including coots) but also doves, woodcock, rails and snipe. The requirement includes senior hunters and landowners hunting on their own land, and the Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit is now issued along with the new stamp.
If you wonder why hunters (as well as anglers and boaters) are part of such an expensive licensing structure, go to Annapolis and take a look at the opulent Department of Natural Resources' headquarters building on Taylor Street and the many employees it houses. Yes, I know the licenses alone don't pay for all that, but we're definitely a part of a huge bureaucratic power structure that feeds on the sporting taxpayers like a hungry calf on the never-empty udder of a cash cow.
That out of the way, don't forget the dove and resident Canada goose hunting seasons that signal the beginnings of sitting in camouflaged blinds and in hedgerows waiting for the game to arrive.
In Maryland and Virginia, Monday is the day when you can pursue both birds. The Maryland dove hunt continues through Oct.19, with the second and third of the split seasons running Nov.11 through Nov.16, and Dec.21 through Jan.4. In Virginia, Monday's start of dove hunting runs through Sept.28, then is followed with an Oct.9 through Nov.9 hunt and a Jan.1 through Jan.11 shoot.
Maryland's resident Canada goose hunt is scheduled through Sept.25 in the western zone and only until Sept.14 in the eastern counties. In Virginia, the resident wild geese can be hunted statewide through Sept.25. Both states have a five-geese-a-day limit.
Virginia teal hunters can get out for the early season, which runs Sept.14 through Sept.24, but only in areas that lie east of Interstate 95. In Maryland, there'll be a Junior Waterfowl Day on Sept.28. Junior license holders 15 and under will have this special day, but they must be accompanied by an adult who has a valid Maryland hunting license. The adult can assist the junior hunter in calling and identifying the ducks but may not have a firearm or other hunting device. The junior hunters also can take one Canada goose in addition to the five-duck daily bag limit.
Sports Junkies say we're rednecks
Imagine WJFK-FM's Sports Junkies recently talking about a Cabela's sporting goods outlet that one of the Junkies visited and promptly inferring that such stores exist to cater to redneck tastes because they sell fishing gear and guns, not to mention that all Cabela's outlets heaven forbid might have a few taxidermy-mounted deer heads adorning their walls. Oh, the horror of it all.
"You might even see [rock singer] Ted Nugent in one of the aisles," one high-brow Junkie said. I suppose having famous archer/hunter Nugent in the store seals it. Cabela's customers are hayseeds and rednecks.
Would you refer to former presidents Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush as rednecks? All of them fished or hunted or did both.
And what about famed authors like Ernest Hemingway, Robert Ruark or H.D. Thoreau, plus countless corporation heads, entertainers, lawyers and politicians who find relaxation and joy in a hunt or a fishing trip. The list of athletes who love to hunt and fish is too long to print here, and those are the same people the radio talk show hosts depend on for their living.
Shame on you, Sports Junkies.
Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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