- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2003

A bill in the Maryland Legislature (HB 572) that would have legalized the use of crossbows by hunters has been withdrawn, but it's not dead. At the urging of hunters and the Department of Natural Resources, the sponsors of the bill agreed to withdraw it with an understanding that the DNR will bring together all interested parties and talk this thing over.
The use of crossbows by handicapped deer hunters is perfectly legal now in a number of states, but we do not believe that any of the states have allowed their use during regular deer seasons by hunters who do not have a disability.
However, using such medieval weapons that potentially are far more accurate and deadly than conventional bows, even the more mechanical compound bows that archers now seem to prefer, is something the state says it will look into.
Wildlife biologists already have met to evaluate the issue and have produced some ideas about the potential use of crossbows, which are sure to raise the hackles of the anti-hunting factions in Maryland. But if properly used, crossbows will do a great deal to alleviate the rather lackluster deer kill total now registered by regular archery equipment users.
With that in mind, the DNR will have a stakeholders meeting to discuss the issue on April1 from 10a.m. to 3p.m. at the Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, in Annapolis. The meeting will be held in the C-1 Lobby Conference Room. Lunch will be provided.
The DNR says no decisions have been made as concerns the use of crossbows. It wants your input and recommendations. If it decides to move forward on the issue, the regulation process requires approximately four months from proposal to adoption. In order to be included in the annual Guide to Hunting and Trapping and to afford the DNR a chance to properly notify all hunting license vendors, the final proposal must be completed by April29.
Washingtonian wins conservation award James D. Range, an influential conservation policy adviser who has played important roles in the enactment of some of the nation's most important conservation laws, was the recipient of Outdoor Life magazine's prestigious 2002 Conservation Award for his work to establish the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership at the 2003 Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade Show in Orlando, Fla. Range, who comes from Johnson City, Tenn., now lives in Washington.
Range, 56, the honorary president of the Izaak Walton League of America, recruited Trout Unlimited, the Wildlife Management Institute and his Izaak Walton Leaguers, along with a group of people experienced in policy and advocacy communications and with strong connections across the conservation community to establish this new partnership. Their collective aim is to restore conservation as a national priority and extend the legacy of America's first conservationist president, Theodore Roosevelt, deep into the 21st Century.
About their choice for the honor, the editors of Outdoor Life said, "Range is shifting the entire environmental debate to a more reasonable center. This is why we gave Jim Range the 2002 Outdoor Life Conservation Award."
Occoquan Reservoir's Fountainhead Park opens Park ranger Smokey Davis sends the following e-mail: "Fountainhead Park will open Saturday at 6a.m. The reservoir right now is full and the water is muddy but I anticipate a great year. We had a good spawn three years running and a good population of 13-inch bass last year. Those fish will be legal size this season. They are healthy and strong. Hard jerkbaits, Senkos, and jigs 'n' pigs should work early. By the way, our first bass clinic will be Saturday, April19, 3:30 to 5p.m. at the park pavilion."
Washington-area newcomers, particularly those in the Northern Virginia area, should make it a point to visit this splendid reservoir. The Fountainhead Park sector, off Route 123, offers boat rentals and sometimes exceptional catches of crappies, sunfish, bass, pike and catfish.

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