- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2009

President Obama’s choice to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs had Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, so upset that he blocked it - a move that puts only a temporary hold on the appointment. Now the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, a hunter advocacy group, says American sportsmen need to step in to make sure the block stays in place.

According to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Cass Sunstein supports animal rights. This is an important office that has the authority to block rules, including those that protect hunting and conservation. The pro-hunting organization says Sunstein has mentioned the possibility that hunting could be banned altogether if its sole purpose is human recreation.

There’s no way of knowing how Maryland’s senators, Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin, both Democrats and normally supportive of the president’s appointees, will react to Sunstein’s nomination. The same holds for Virginia’s two senators, Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner, also Democrats. But it probably wouldn’t hurt to let them and your house representatives know how you feel about having an animal rightist in a position to seriously affect hunting and massive conservation programs funded by recreational hunters.

Maryland optimistic on waterfowl - Breeding among the ducks in eastern Canada, the north-central United States and the prairie region of Canada was so good this year that the fall migration could be very busy. As a result, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is proposing a 60-day duck season with a six-bird bag limit for 2009-10. Because of tremendous increases in the canvasback and scaup population, hunters might include two scaup and one canvasback per day. The proposal has to be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Although the Atlantic population of migrant Canada geese totaled 176,600 pairs compared with 169,700 in 2008, the Atlantic population season proposal remains unchanged from last year at 45 days with a daily bag limit of two geese.

Greater and lesser snow geese and Ross’s geese nowadays are collectively referred to as “light geese,” and a Light Goose Conservation Order season will immediately follow the conclusion of the regular light-goose hunting season this year because more “light” geese than ever are expected. During the Conservation Order season, hunters may use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls and may and hunt from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset with no daily bag or possession limits.

“The Atlantic flyway greater snow goose population is more than twice the desired population size. A reduced population will help minimize the ecological and agricultural damage caused by the current overabundance of light geese,” said Maryland’s waterfowl manager, Larry Hindman.

The proposed late waterfowl hunting season dates and bag limits can be found on the Web at www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/lwfchart.asp.

Learn how to row or paddle - The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association will host its annual Youth River Sports Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, next to the Washington Navy Yard.

Youth River Sports Day is a free event especially suited for would-be boaters of all ages. You can learn to row or paddle a boat as well as participate in guided river tours led by the Anacostia Watershed Society.

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. Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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