- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2003

After frequently spirited discussions between wildlife managers and user groups, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it will allow the limited use of crossbows by the state’s deer hunters.

With an ever-burgeoning deer population, the state’s Wildlife and Heritage Service that is in charge of reducing the herds of deer that some believe are way out of control says it will allow crossbows across the state during all upcoming firearm and muzzleloader deer hunting seasons, and during the Oct.1-15, 2003, and Jan.15-31, 2004, segments of the bow season.

The DNR says long-term goals for deer management are to ensure the present and future well-being of deer and their habitat; maintain populations at levels necessary to ensure compatibility with human land uses and natural communities; encourage and promote the recreational use and enjoyment of the resource; and inform and educate Maryland citizens about biology, management options and the impacts that deer have on landscapes and people. Both native white-tailed deer and exotic sika deer populations are managed through legally established hunting seasons.

Here are the regulations on crossbow use that would apply when deer hunting begins later this year:

• Vertical bows of all types will remain legal during all deer hunting seasons.

• A bow stamp will be required to hunt deer with a crossbow during the regular bow season.

• A muzzleloader stamp will be required to hunt deer with a crossbow during the muzzleloader season.

• Hunters who possess a Resident Senior Lifetime Consolidated Hunting License are exempt from the stamp requirements.

• Deer taken with crossbows during the bow season count against the bow season deer bag limits.

• Deer taken with crossbows during the firearm season, when bow season is closed, count against the firearm season deer bag limits.

• Deer taken with crossbows during the muzzleloader season, whenever bow season is closed, count against the muzzleloader season deer bag limits.

• Crossbow hunters will be required to wear hunter orange when hunting during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons.

• Any hunter who is 65 years of age or older and qualifies to hunt without a license, or possesses a Resident Senior Hunting License, a Resident Senior Lifetime Consolidated Hunting License, or a Nonresident Hunting License, can hunt deer with a crossbow in all Maryland deer hunting seasons.

The new regulations will distinguish the rules for crossbows from vertical bows, and additional information about the safe and effective use of crossbows will be included in future publications to be distributed to the hunting public and hunting equipment retailers. The regulation proposal will be posted in the Maryland Register this summer. Adopted regulations will be in effect for the 2003-2004 deer seasons.

Reality fishing show on the way — ESPN says taping is under way for a new prime-time fishing show, “Totally Hooked.” The show will be part of a fall lineup that includes a second season of “The New American Sportsman.”

Coordinating Producer Dan Bowen describes the production as “a fishing show built within the framework of reality TV.” The program, scheduled for 13 episodes, will capture the daily lives of a cast of men and women living and fishing aboard a luxury yacht for nearly two months. “Our anglers are getting the chance of a lifetime: to go after big game fish in fantastic destinations, and to take a vacation from everyday life aboard the Totally Hooked yacht,” Bowen said. “The cameras are rolling non-stop, every day, as we capture sport fishing adventures. At the same time, we’ll delve into our passengers’ daily lives while they learn about each other and hopefully a bit more about the world they live in and have opportunities to try new things.”

The prime-time block will begin Sept.8 from 9p.m. to midnight. In addition to “Totally Hooked” and “The New American Sportsman,” it will include an adventure race currently in development and “Offshore Adventures,” a show that now is seen on weekend mornings on ESPN.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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