- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Those of you who go after deer with bows and arrows should know that the Maryland archery season is now open. It will run through Jan.31, and changes should be noted.

Legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly allows archery deer hunters to hunt whitetailed and sika deer on the first Sunday in November. On Nov.2, archers can hunt only on private property in Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot and Washington counties.

Deer hunting opportunities for users of crossbows also have been expanded. Crossbows are legal to hunt deer during the archery season from Oct.1 to 15, and Jan.15 to 31.

Crossbows are now legal for all hunters during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons. However, all bow hunters, including crossbow hunters, must purchase a Muzzleloader Stamp in order to hunt with a crossbow during muzzleloader seasons. Disabled hunters who want to use a crossbow during any other time still must have a special crossbow permit. Any hunter who is 65 or older or has a Resident Senior hunting license may use a crossbow to hunt deer during all Maryland hunting seasons.

Crossbow hunters and vertical bow (straight limb, recurve, compound) hunters must possess a Bow Stamp with a valid hunting license to hunt deer during Maryland’s bow season. Any deer taken with a crossbow will count toward the hunter’s appropriate Regional Bow Bag Limit. The state’s bow hunters took 19,088 deer in 2002.

Maryland deer hunters contribute millions to the state economy. Retail purchases exceed $82million annually, representing half of all hunting retail sales ($161million) in the state, with non-resident hunters spending $25.7million.

Big bass haul — Native Virginian David Dudley’s knowledge of the tidal James River near Richmond earned him a $500,000 check in last weekend’s $1.5million Wal-Mart FLW Tour World Championship of Bass Fishing.

Dudley, 28, entered the tournament as the leading money-winner in FLW events after earning $700,000 for winning the Mobile-Tensaw Delta at the Ranger M1 tournament in March 2002, so it’s a cinch that this bass pro isn’t a flash in the pan.

Dudley narrowly defeated Harmon Davis of Marlow, Okla., in a kind of elimination fish-off on the final day. Davis came back from the sometimes stingy river with four bass that weighed a total of 9 pounds, 4 ounces. Dudley caught a legal limit of five bass that weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces — a mere 3 ounces more than the Oklahoman’s total. Davis made $75,000 for his second-place finish.

Dudley began his FLW Tour career in 1996, the circuit’s inaugural year. He enjoyed his best year on the tour in 2003, coming in second in the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year race and now winning a half million dollars in the FLW’s version of a competing tour’s championship event, the Bass Masters Classic, conducted by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society.

Dudley caught all of his bass during the semifinal and final rounds along a shallow flat at the mouth of the Appomattox River. He used a 1/2-ounce Rabbit Dog spinnerbait in chartreuse and white.

Duck and goose callers wanted — Allan Ellis, PR man for the Bass Pro Shops outlet in Hanover, Md., is inviting area duck and goose callers to compete in a number of calling contests Sept.27 at 10 a.m. “When hunters, using only a tube of wood or plastic to simulate the calls of a flock of greenheads, get together for a major competition, all hail breaks loose,” he says.

Interested in competing? There’ll be a Maryland State Goose Calling Championship, a Maryland State Duck Calling Championship, a Chesapeake Bay Open Goose Calling Championship, Susquehanna Flats Open Duck Calling Championship, and Chesapeake Bay Open Duck Calling Championship. Each entry costs $25, with the take going to the winners. Send an e-mail to Ellis at [email protected] and include your home mailing address. Mention the contests when you do. He’ll send an entry form.

Fishing challenge for shore anglers — Pier and beach fishermen are brushing up on their casting skills for the Capital Longcasters Shore Fishing Challenge at Point Lookout State Park on Saturday. The 2003 Shore Fishing Challenge is an amateur event with money prizes for anglers who catch the 10 longest fish. Check out www.longcasters.org or call 301/333-2136.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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