- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hunters who go after Maryland’s migratory waterfowl this year will have a limit of two geese a day during a two-part season, Nov. 17 through Nov. 25 and Dec. 17 through Jan. 28. That is great news for Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland goose hunters who have worried about a limit of one a day.

Incidentally, the migratory goose hunting is not to be confused with the resident Canada goose season that begins tomorrow in Maryland and Virginia. These early September hunting seasons are intended to get rid of ever-increasing numbers of local geese that stay year-round instead of returning to their Canadian tundra breeding grounds.

Maryland also selected a 60-day duck season that will be held from Oct. 8 to Oct. 15, Nov. 12 to Nov. 25 and Dec. 13 to Jan. 28. The daily bag limit will be five ducks. In addition to the basic five-duck daily bag limit, hunters may take one additional teal (blue-winged or green-winged) during any of the three split seasons. The Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission recommended against an original six-duck bag limit proposal, and the DNR accepted the commission’s recommendation.

The scaup (bluebills) daily bag limit was reduced from three to two because the continental population, now at 3.3 million, is 27 percent below the long-term average. Also new this year, mergansers will be included as part of the regular five-duck daily bag limit, a step taken to simplify duck hunting regulations for hunters and law enforcement officers. Mergansers no longer may be shot in addition to the regular daily duck bag limit.

This year’s duck hunting season also will include an opportunity for waterfowl hunters to shoot canvasbacks. A 30-day canvasback season will open Dec. 26 and run through Jan. 28. Hunters may take one canvasback as part of their five-duck regular daily bag limit. Interestingly, Maryland hunters shoot about 5 percent of all the canvasbacks bagged nationwide.

The 2005-2006 late waterfowl season dates and bag limits will be distributed to DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service offices and sport license agents in mid-September. The information is also available by accessing the Maryland DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.md.us.

By the way, migratory bird hunters are no longer required to sign and attach the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp to their hunting licenses. However, hunters now must possess the printed receipt showing proof of purchase of the state stamp while hunting migratory birds. The federal “duck” stamp, as it is known, must still be affixed to the license and signed. It is available at most post offices and some sporting goods stores.

Waterfowl calling contests — A Ducks Unlimited “Waterfowl Weekend” begins on National Hunting & Fishing Day, Sept. 24, at the Hanover, Md., Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World with various duck and goose calling competitions.

Winning one or more of the three duck contests could pave the way for the winner to go to the World Championship of Duck Calling in Stuttgart, Ark., on Nov. 26. So get ready to participate (or watch) the Maryland State Goose Calling Championship, the Maryland State Duck Calling Championship, the Chesapeake Bay Open Goose Calling Championship, the Susquehanna Flats Open Duck Calling Championship and the Chesapeake Bay Open Duck Calling Championship.

Contests that carry the name state championship are open only to Maryland residents, but the others can be entered by anyone who’s at least 17 years old.

The Sept. 24 registration starts at 9 a.m. There is a $25 entry fee for each contest, and all the entry fee money goes to the winners. Plaques and gift certificates will be given to all finalists.

For more information and an entry form, send an e-mail with your snail mail address to Allan Ellis, at [email protected]

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday. E-mail: [email protected]

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