Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

March 17, 2012

New regs getting closer in Maryland

The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service held two public meeting recently to discuss thoughts about hunting regulations for the next two seasons.

At the one in Annapolis on March 6, a little more than a dozen people attended.

But in Hagerstown on March 13, 160 hunters showed up to let their thoughts be known. Great turnout.

One of the people at the Hagerstown gathering was Jerry Zembower, president of the Allegany-Garrett Sportsmen’s Association. Zembower also attended an early-stage stakeholders’ meeting about the regulations in early March near Baltimore.

Those of you who are not a member of a local rod and gun club that is affiliated with AGSA should be thankful that Zembower and the other officers and members of that association are so active on behalf of hunters — and occasionally fishermen — in Almost Maryland.

I began working for the Times-News in January 1979 and AGSA was already in existence then. It continues to this day and two of the constants in one officer’s position or another have been Zembower, Mike Griffith and the late Harry Edwards.

Gary Strawn, a retired West Virginia wildlife biologist who worked out of Romney told me once that he wished the counties in his district had a group such as AGSA that would speak as a unified voice for hunters.

I encourage as many of you as possible to get involved with AGSA and make it even stronger. If you need help making contact, get ahold of me.

One of the things I like about AGSA is that the groups polls all member clubs before taking a stance on an issue.

In any event, WHS will now digest the comments from the public meetings and those made online and move forward this week with hard and fast regulation proposals by presenting them to the Wildlife Advisory Commission.

As of right now, the agency continues to anticipate a statewide buck limit of three per hunter, one with bow, one with muzzleloader and one with modern firearm.

When I first saw these potential regulations my reaction was that bowhunters from Region B — that’s everything east of Clear Spring — would do some major bladder evacuations and moanings when told they could take just one buck with an arrow. In the recent past, they had been allowed two.

Don’t know if it is going to happen this time around, but a lot of hunters are suggesting that if the state goes to the 1-1-1 buck limit that a bonus buck tag should be available to be used in any one of the seasons.

Of course, up here in Region A, that includes Almost Maryland and the western chunk of Washington County, we are used to the 1-1-1. Been doing that for a few years now.

If a bonus buck tag were to be approved, it would lower the Region B buck limit from six in the past to four. But in Region A it would boost the buck bag limit from three to four, that is if you are good enough hunter and don’t pass up too many small bucks.

Speaking of that, if anybody out there has some spikes or fork-horns they want shot, you know where to reach me.

Almost forgot: in favor here of Sept. 5 bow opener.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

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Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
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