- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In a manner of speaking, Virginia and Maryland hunters set the woods afire during the recently concluded white-tailed deer season.

In Virginia alone, preliminary figures provided by the state’s wildlife biologists show a record kill of 253,678 deer, a 4 percent increase over the 242,792 reported last year. The 2008-09 total included 111,863 antlered bucks, 22,291 button (small, immature) bucks and 119,524 does. Archers shot 17,881 deer, and muzzleloader hunters converted 57,038 deer into fine venison.

In Maryland, a state dwarfed in size by Virginia, hunters set an all-time record with 100,437 whitetails taken during the 2008-09 season. It eclipsed the previous high mark of 94,114 in 2002-03. Compare the amazing 100,437 total with success rates of the late 1950s and 1960s, when hunters considered themselves fortunate to bag no more than 10,000 of the split-hoofed wizards.

Another record was set by Virginia’s bear hunters, who got 2,204 bruins. The number represents the combined kill with archery equipment, muzzleloaders and modern firearms. Virginia’s statewide bear harvest has been growing at an average annual rate of 9.5 percent, which is consistent with the growing bear population.

The single low note came from turkey hunters. The 2008 fall season in the Old Dominion resulted in 3,505 bagged birds, 26 percent below last year’s kill of 4,759 wild turkeys.

CCA banquet and fundraiser - The Northern Virginia Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will have its annual banquet and fundraiser Saturday at 6 p.m. at Shriners Kena Temple in Fairfax. The cost is $50. There will be a wide array of auction items, including more than $20,000 in merchandise. The fundraiser will help the chapter’s activities, such as the “Save a Kid - Catch a Fish” trip that is hosted every summer. For Information: Carl Onesty, 703/407-8921; Ernie Rojas, 203/912-2173; or Rob Allen, 703/626-2668.

Trout Unlimited angling show - The annual National Capital Angling Show, featuring Idaho’s Spring Creek man Mike Lawson and renowned artist/writer James Prosek, will be held March 14 at Georgetown Prep’s field house in Bethesda. Indoor casting, more than 50 vendors and exhibitors, an expanded speaker program and special activities and exhibits for the entire family are being offered. For directions and more go to www.NCC-TU.org.

Striper fishing seminar - Join professional charter fishing captain Richie Gaines for a one-day seminar on how to find and catch striped bass (aka rockfish) on March 28 at Chesapeake College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Gaines, who used to be a popular Potomac River bass guide before switching to light tackle saltwater fishing, will cover trolling, chumming, live lining, using light tackle, rigging, tying knots and choosing the proper equipment. He also will point out productive fishing locations across the Chesapeake. For information contact Marci Leach at [email protected] or at 410/827-5833.

Here’s how to win $500,000 - After Skeet Reese, of Auburn, Calif., won $500,000 for capturing the 2009 Bassmaster Classic on Louisiana’s Red River a little more than a week ago by weighing in 54 pounds, 13 ounces of bass, he told onlookers what he used to catch his fish. As the water temperatures dropped in the Shreveport area, Reese used a 3/8-ounce white Redemption spinnerbait with a nickel blade, or he flipped a black-and-blue Berkley Crazy Leg Chigger Craw.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. Visit Mueller’s Inside Outside blog at washingtontimes.com/sports.


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