- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 17, 2002

A leader of a popular outdoorsmen's group supported Gov. Parris N. Glendening yesterday in his ban on muzzleload deer-hunting in four Maryland counties until police catch the serial sniper who has killed nine persons.
"We have to realize these are extreme circumstances," said Steve Huettner of the Maryland Sportsmen's Association. "It's unfortunate. We don't like to see any opportunities taken away, but the overwhelming majority have been very supportive"
Still, Mr. Huettner said about 75 of association's 15,000 members have called him since Mr. Glendening announced the ban in Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
Five of nine victims were slain in Montgomery County and one of two survivors was shot in Prince George's County, which prompted the executive order to eliminate the sound of gunshots, according to the declaration Mr. Glendening signed yesterday.
The original request came from the four counties' executives who asked Mr. Glendening for help, said a state Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman.
Mr. Huettner, 33, said during muzzleloader season hunters track prey with musket-style weapons capable of firing just one round before being reloading. The season ends Saturday.
The weapons, which have been used since the 17th century, have a shorter range than conventional rifles, which increases the challenge for hunters.
Hunters can instead use bow and arrows or go into counties not listed in the proclamation.
Violators can be fined a maximum $1,000 and spend six months in jail. Maryland State Police, Natural Resources police, county and local police will enforce the decree.
The second three-day muzzleloader season is Oct. 24-26.
Mr. Huettner said the decree comes during the busiest time of the hunting season, which will continue through December. The primary targets are deer, geese, ducks, squirrels and rabbits.
The four counties named accounted for 10 percent of the 84,000 deer harvested during last year's hunting season, Mr. Huettner, 33, said.
He also said association members understand that efforts to catch the sniper come before recreation.
"We want him caught as much as everybody else does," Mr. Huettner said.


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