- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2005

With Virginians already busily hunting whitetailed deer, Maryland’s most popular deer hunting season — that in which modern firearms can be used — begins Saturday. Fifty-five percent of all deer taken by hunters occurs during the firearm deer season.

Check your regulations booklet that comes with the hunting license and you’ll notice that Allegany and Garrett counties in western Maryland have added restrictions to the total deer bag limits. Be sure to check them out. Meanwhile, your best bet for more than one deer will be found in Deer Management Region B, which includes Washington County and all counties east of there.

In Region B, the whitetailed deer bag limit is two antlered deer and 10 antlerless deer during the season that runs through Dec. 10. However, two antlerless deer must be taken before a second antlered deer is pursued.

This weekend’s first Sunday of firearm season is open for deer hunting on private lands only in Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot, and Washington counties. Last year 1,996 deer were shot on that first Sunday. It accounted for 9 percent of the total take.

The top 10 counties last season were Washington (6,375), Frederick (4,426), Carroll (2,953), Worcester (2,852), Allegany (2,728), Montgomery (2,485), Garrett (2,462), Dorchester (2,445), Baltimore (2,385) and Kent (2,122).

Don’t forget that this year successful hunters can register their deer by calling 888/800-0121 or by using the Internet at www.gamecheck.dnr.state.md.us. Before moving the deer from the place of kill, hunters must immediately attach a field tag to the head and record the kill on the Big Game Harvest Record portion of the hunting license. Both forms must be completed in ink. Upon registering the deer, hunters will be given a confirmation number that is recorded on the Big Game Harvest Record. Detailed instructions for this registration process are found on pages 28-29 of the current Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland.

Hunters shot 23,114 deer during this year’s early bow, crossbow and muzzleloader seasons in September and October. A total of 3,138 antlered deer (97 sika) and 5,987 antlerless deer (89 sika) were reported during the bow season through Oct. 29. Crossbow users shot an additional 206 antlered deer (four sika) and 476 antlerless deer (six sika) during the Oct. 1-15 season. Muzzleloaders so far have shot 4,401 antlered deer (183 of them sikas) and 8,906 antlerless deer (126 sika) during the October blackpowder season. However, a muzzleloader can also be used during the upcoming firearms season.

Better late than never — Maryland finally got around to joining neighbors Virginia and West Virginia in asking its deer hunters to give a hand in tracking down potential cases of Chronic Wasting Disease.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources requests that deer hunters voluntarily abide by certain guidelines when bringing deer parts into Maryland from West Virginia or other CWD-positive states or Canadian provinces. CWD, a fatal disease of deer and elk, recently was discovered in several whitetailed deer in Hampshire County, W.Va.

Hunters can bring into Maryland deer meat that is detached from the bones, cleaned hide and cape, antlers, antlers attached to a clean skull cap, clean upper canine elk teeth, a tanned hide or finished taxidermy mount. All other parts should be disposed of in the state or province where the deer was killed.

Further information on CWD can be found on the DNR Web site (www.dnr.maryland.gov) and the CWD Alliance Web site (www.cwd-info.org).

Rockfish thieves nabbed — The Maryland Natural Resources Police and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Law Enforcement seized 2,702 pounds of striped bass from the commercial fishing vessel Rita Diane in West Ocean City on Nov. 4. The vessel purportedly was fishing for striped bass within the Exclusive Economic Zone, an area exceeding three miles offshore, of the Atlantic Ocean.

Additional investigations related to the vessel’s fishing activity led to charges for similar violations and seizure of proceeds from the catch caught on the preceding day. The total amount seized over the two-day period was 7,990 pounds of rockfish, valued at approximately $15,800, according to Sgt. Ken Turner of the NRP.

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

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