- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Starting this autumn, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is changing how hunters check in their deer and turkey kills. Successful hunters no longer will be required to take their game to a traditional check station but can register it online at www. gamecheck.dnr.state.md.us or by calling 888/800-0121.

The changes in the check-in system should be more convenient for hunters; plus, it will improve DNR access to game data. The DNR will continue its long-standing relationship with the former check station operators by providing voluntary incentives for hunters to visit the retail stores associated with the traditional check stations.

Before moving a deer or turkey from where it was shot, the hunter will have to start the new check-in process by completing a revised field tag in ink and attaching it to the head of the deer or leg of the turkey. The DNR has designed and implemented a durable field tag for the new system, which will be provided to each hunter with their license purchase. The tags are inside the 2005-2006 Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland.

After completing the field tag, the hunter must record the species, date, county, sex and weapon type in one block on the revised Maryland big game record, which is included on the Maryland hunting license. Even hunters not required to possess a Maryland hunting license (e.g. landowner) must complete the field tagging procedure and big game record.

After online or phone registration, a series of questions will have to be answered. The hunter then will receive a confirmation number that must be recorded in the corresponding block on the big game record.

Incidentally, this year’s hunting license is now available at most sporting goods stores and other license agents.

Bass stocking in the “Chick” — About 114,000 bass raised on a fish farm in Arkansas will be placed in parts of the Chickahominy River near its confluence with the James River, says Bruce Lee of the Concerned Bass Anglers of Virginia.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the group, which was formed last year to address the declining bass populations in tidal rivers, is paying about $23,000 for the fish, Lee said. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is helping with the effort.

“We’re going to have a lot of bass anglers there with their boats to carry the fish to different creeks,” Lee told the Times-Dispatch. The bass fry are hybrids of domesticated northern bass (bred for aggressive feeding) and Florida bass (known for fast growth).

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Hooters Restaurants are sponsoring the effort. Groups or individuals who want to donate can get information at cbava.org or write Bruce Lee, 19507 Ware Creek Road, Rappahannock Academy, Va., 22538.

Big bucks for bass anglers — Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors and Ranger Boats have combined efforts to conduct the richest bass tournament in the history of the sport. A record $1 million in cash will be awarded to the first-place pro in a Ranger Owners Championship. There also will be a record $250,000 in cash paid to the first-place co-angler in the big-bucks event.

Irwin Jacobs, chairman of Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors, said, “When we started the Wal-Mart FLW Tour 10 years ago, I hoped and believed that there would come a day when professional anglers would have the opportunity to compete in one of our tournaments for a million dollar payday. That day has now arrived.”

Some details will be made available by December, but the exact dates and location for the event will not be announced until Aug. 2-5, 2006, when the Wal-Mart FLW Championship will be held in Birmingham, Ala.

Half a million isn’t bad — Arkansas native and former BASS Classic world champion George Cochran, 55, earned the top honor at the 10th anniversary Forrest L. Wood Championship on Saturday. With his victory on Lake Hamilton, near Hot Springs, Ark., Cochran took home $500,000.

During the tournament, Cochran persevered through three rounds of head-to-head competition to break into the final bracket of 12 anglers. Facing off against 48 of the biggest names in professional bass fishing, the16th-seeded Cochran advanced into the final day of competition and brought home the winner’s check by catching only a little more than 10 pounds of bass. His fishing was done within sight of his house. Could it be he really knows this lake? I think so.

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

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