Michael A. Sawyers
On Saturday, May 19, I said a prayer of thanks, thanks that it was the last day of spring gobbler season. Then I smashed my alarm clock.
It was the last day in West Virginia and the last day for me because I had enjoyed good success in Maryland, using both my tags.
While I was being soothed in the chartreuse spring womb of Mother Nature for three weeks, the world kept turning. How dare it?
Still in the mode of spring gobbler hunting, I will use the shotgun approach in an attempt to catch us up with what has transpired in the world of hunting and fishing in or near Almost Maryland.
Have you ever had one of those I-wish-I-would-have-thought-of-that moments? My friend and fellow outdoor columnist Dave Long came up with didysnot. That is a combination of the scientific name “didymo” and the street name “rock snot.” Both refer to the nasty algal mass that can carpet the bottom of trout streams. I wish I would have thought of that.
While I was yelping, purring and nodding off in the PHT (Pappy’s Hunting Tent) the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that didysnot is no longer confined to the Gunpowder and lower Savage Rivers, but has been discovered in Big Hunting Creek in Frederick County.
What? Wait a minute. That’s impossible. There must be some mistake.
There can’t be didysnot in Big Hunting Creek because more than a year ago the agency made it illegal for anglers to wear felt soles, the culprit believed to be the carrier of the yucky stuff from one stream to another.
Let’s see. What else can we ban? I know that anglers on fishing forums complain that the didysnot is difficult to remove from their flies. Hmmmm!
Elk for Maryland?
While I was nibbling on Quaker Banana Nut Bread Bars in the PHT (one can’t survive on PayDay and Zero bars alone) it was announced that 75 percent of the Marylanders contacted during a telephone survey want Rocky Mountain elk to be reintroduced into Garrett and Allegany counties.
That’s what the press release said. It was issued jointly by the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation, Maryland DNR and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, hereafter referred to as the partnership.
The survey was done by Responsive Management — a respected surveyor of natural resources issues — based in Harrisonburg, Va.
What’s next? The partnership says it will meet with “interested individuals, groups and organizations” to see what they think about the idea. Results of a habitat evaluation are also awaited. In addition, economic implications are being studied. When I find out how you can get involved, you will be the second to know. The partnership wants to wrap this thing up by Halloween. Maybe I’ll dress up like a hunter.
Battie Mixon time
On June 2, the 64th Annual Battie Mixon Fishing Rodeo will take place at Oldtown on the C&O Canal.
The popular event brings thousands of anglers and their adult supervisors to the otherwise sleepy hamlet in eastern Allegany County. Anglers as old as 15 are eligible to catch bluegills and catfish that have been stocked by the organizers. As always, there will be plenty of prizes and trophies.
If you have questions, consult with organizer Mike Cornachia at 240-727-0416. Angling takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A Casting for Kids event starts at 8 a.m.
There was a lot of bear activity in Almost Maryland during gobbler season, including two collisions that sent drivers of a pickup and a motorcycle to the hospital for treatment.
The Times-News unofficial count of bears killed on Maryland roads in 2012 rises to 10.
• May 8, a 125-pound female on Interstate 68 near Keysers Ridge.
• May 10, a 348-pound male on Friendsville-Addison Road. The pickup that struck the bear rolled and the driver was transported for treatment, according to Clarissa Harris of the wildlife agency.
• May 10, a 47-pound male on U.S. 40 near Gambrill State Park in Frederick County.
• May 10, a 197-pound male on I-68 one mile from the W.Va. line.
• May 19, a 50-pound bear on U.S. 219 at Rabbit Hollow Road south of Keysers Ridge. “The motorcycle cut the bear in half,” Harris said. “The cycle skidded 150 yards and the operator was transported for medical treatment.”
• May 21, a 200-pound male, apparently dead for a few days, was found alongside I-68 just east of Keysers Ridge.
The Wildlife & Heritage Service euthanized four bears.
On May 8, wildlife staffers responded to a call that a bear had killed six goats at an Amish Road farm near Grantsville.
“Our people shot it when it came back to the barn,” Harris said. It was a male of 167 pounds.
On May 10, it was learned that a bear had killed a calf along Laurel Run Road, Barton, and was returning to the carcass.
“It was a sow and we ran it with dogs and put it down,” Harris said. The sow was 126 pounds and was missing the right front leg. Two cubs with the sow were also euthanized because of being extremely small for this time of year, according to Harris. The male cub weighed 7 pounds and the female 4.5 pounds.
Also, numerous nuisance bears were trapped and aversively conditioned, a behavioral modification method that can include pepper spray, rubber projectiles and pyrotechnics.
• April 25, a 172-pound female on Painter School Road, Swanton.
• May 1, A 207-pound male that had been eating chicken feed, but not the chickens, in a coop at Big Pool in Washington County.
• May 4, Chestnut Grove Road off state Route 135, a 236-pound male that had gotten into a garage and was scratching on doors to the living quarters.
• May 7, a 326-pound male on Raven Drive near Valley Road in Cumberland that had been near a day-care facility.