- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Never mind that the cottontail rabbit hunting season remains open through Feb. 28 in Maryland and Virginia or that the gray squirrel hunt can continue until the end of the month in Maryland.

Now there are so many “light geese” in Maryland that the state Department of Natural Resources says it’s OK to go after greater and lesser snow geese, as well as Ross’s geese, from March 11 to April 18.

Who ever would have thought you could be goose hunting when apple trees blossomed?

You will need a special $5 permit to get in on the state’s plan to reduce nearly unmanageable populations of snow geese. The whole deal is known as the Light Goose Conservation Order, which is a special management tool authorized by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is used to assist traditional management programs in controlling wildlife.

The Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season permit can be obtained from any DNR license agent, online at dnr.maryland.gov or by calling 800/918-2870. Participants also must have a valid Maryland hunting license (resident Delaware licenses are also acceptable) and a 2008-2009 Maryland Migratory Game Bird Hunting Stamp. For this special hunt, the federal duck stamp is not required, but most waterfowlers already have it.

The special light goose season will be in effect in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Harford, Howard, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties; the portion of Carroll County east of Route 31 to the intersection of Route 97 and east of Route 97 to the Pennsylvania line; the portion of Prince George’s County east of Routes 3 and 301; and the portion of Charles County east of Route 301 to the Virginia line.

Legal shooting hours have been extended from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, and there are no daily bag and possession limits. Hunters can use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls but only during this time.

New Horizon bass club meets - The regular monthly meeting of New Horizon Bass Anglers will take place at the Fairfax County Government Center at 7 p.m. Thursday. The featured speaker will be Ed Keller of Potomac Guide Service. He will be talking about spring largemouth bass fishing on the tidal Potomac River and the upper Chesapeake Bay and smallmouth bass fishing on the upper Potomac River and the Susquehanna River. Everyone is welcome. For additional info, e-mail [email protected] or call 703-887-8399.

Saltwater Fishing Expo - The Annapolis chapter of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association and the Fisherman magazine present the annual Saltwater Fishing Expo from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Annapolis Elks Lodge in Edgewater. There will be hourly seminars with expert anglers who share their knowledge on catching fish in the Chesapeake, the coastal and offshore waters. The event also will feature the latest gear at great prices from local dealers, discounted tackle, a flea market, charter fishing captains booking trips, door prizes and free parking. Admission is $5. For information, visit saltwaterfishingexpo.com.

Bass Classic next week - The 2009 Bassmaster Classic fishing championship will be held Feb. 20-22 on the Red River in Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

St. Mary’s County boat show - The 21st annual Bay Country Boat Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 4-5 on the grounds of the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department. Admission is $3 with plenty of free parking, and if you’re hungry you can purchase fried oysters or southern Maryland stuffed ham, a local favorite. There will be more than 110 boat and marine-related exhibits, including specialty fishing boats. To reserve an exhibition space, call Debi Johnstone, 301/373-3449; for general information, contact Russ Millar, Hollywood Optimist Club, at [email protected] or 301/373-5468.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected] Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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