- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What in the world is happening in the Maryland legislature, where some of the people’s representatives apparently have nothing better to do than try to pass laws that would keep a parent or other responsible adult from having children accompany them on a hunt?

Luckily, good sense prevailed yesterday.

HB655, the “Hunting License Minimum Age” bill that was introduced by Del. Barbara Frush, Beltsville Democrat, and Del. Virginia P. Clagett, Annapolis Democrat, and would have prohibited the Department of Natural Resources from issuing a license to children younger than 13, was withdrawn.

A great deal of credit must go to the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation. Without the groups’ vigorous protests and work with pro-hunting legislators, the bill would have caused immeasurable damage. It was widely believed that by the time a child reaches 13, he or she would have moved on to other interests, decreasing the ranks of sport hunters ever more.

That is precisely what the anti-hunting, animal rights crowd hopes for, and the two legislators who introduced the bill no doubt wanted to head up an effort to curb a time-honored American tradition.

Believe me, it’s not the children they are worried about. They know that compared with other recreational activities, hunting actually has a remarkable safety record, naysayers notwithstanding. The animal worshippers want all hunting to come to a halt eventually. Period.

Unlike Maryland, other states, including Virginia, actually have passed special “Families Afield” programs aimed at improving youth participation and hunter recruitment. Under proper adult supervision, 10-year-olds can hunt in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee, to name a few.

Smallmouth Club meets — John Odenkirk, a top biologist from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will be the guest speaker tonight at a meeting of the Potomac River Smallmouth Club at the Vienna Fire Station at 7:30 p.m.

Odenkirk is the most knowledgeable fisheries biologist for all Northern Virginia waters, including the upper tidal Potomac River’s Virginia tributaries and its snakehead population. The public is invited. Call Ernie Rojas at 703/729-0128 for additional information.

CCA Southern Maryland — The monthly meeting of the Coastal Conservation Association’s Southern Maryland chapter is Monday at the American Legion Hall in Hughesville at 7 p.m. The public is invited.

Special guest speaker Eric Radomski is a snakehead specialist who has fished for the toothsome critters in Asia. He predicts that within five years the Potomac’s snakeheads will be among the top game fish sought by local anglers. Information: [email protected]

Baltimore Antique Arms Show — The Maryland Arms Collectors Association is sponsoring the annual Baltimore Antique Arms Show on March 15-16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds’ Cow Palace in Timonium.

More than 1,000 display tables with antique arms will be there, many of them from Canada and Europe in addition to the United States. Admission is $8 on March 15, $5 on March 16.

For more information, go to www.baltimoreshow.com or call 301/865-6804.

Trout Unlimited fishing show — The National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited will have its 33rd Annual Angling Show on March 29 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda.

There will be fly-fishing guides, vendors, license sales, fly tying, casting demonstrations, clinics and special guest Ed Jaworowski, who will talk about the changing face of saltwater fly fishing.

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

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