Here is something you will never hear me say.
“I have enough light to shoot that 10-point buck, but there isn’t enough light to get it on camera, so I won’t pull the trigger.”
And, here is another thing you will never hear me say.
“That 8-point buck with a 16-inch antler spread is nice, but I’ll pass because he will really be a hog in two more years.”
If you want to hear that kind of stuff, watch the hunting shows on television. There’s a lot of that going around.
Speaking of big bucks, 2014 will be a year that the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service sets hunting regulations for the next two seasons: 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.
The one I want to watch closely will deal with antler restrictions in Garrett County. Let’s see if we can recap and project.
The Quality Deer Management Association’s chapter in Garrett County is going about restricting the kill of small bucks in the right way.
Those folks are asking landowners to voluntarily hold the buck kill to animals with at least three points on one side of the antlers. And, landowners controlling thousands of acres have gotten on board, according to QDMA spokesman A.J. Fleming.
However, when the 2013 General Assembly session opened in Annapolis back in January, Delegate Wendell Beitzel introduced a bill that would take that rule and apply it to all of Garrett County.
Beitzel later withdrew the bill after the wildlife agency revealed that the number of surviving fawns had dwindled in Garrett. Biologists said, too, that when hunters are restricted to killing smaller bucks, the doe harvest usually increases.
I know Beitzel is staying in touch with WHS, asking them to consider Garrett County antler restrictions during the upcoming regulation process.
That, of course, puts some pressure on the agency, because Beitzel can always reintroduce his bill.
And, because legislators who live some distance from Almost Maryland could not care less about an antler restriction bill in the Mississippi River drainage, it would very likely pass.
Once codified, another legislative act would be required to remove it.
That would prohibit a landowner who doesn’t give a hoot about antlers from shooting a 4-point on his own land.
That’s political wildlife management, not biological wildlife management.
The same people who believe I am opposed to fly fishing for trout, believe I am opposed to antler restrictions.
Wrong. I simply think both activities should be hunter/fisher/landowner decisions, not state laws.
Elsewhere on this page, you will see that the buck harvest numbers in Garrett County for bowhunting in September and October have decreased from a year ago. So has the buck kill for the three-day early muzzleloader hunt.
When you limit the buck kill via voluntary antler restrictions, you’ll have that.
We’ll have to wait until Brian Eyler and the other WHS deer biologists crunch the numbers to see if the majority of the bucks killed in Garrett so far this year have three or more antler points on one side.
But the doe kill so far is down in Garrett as well.
All of this points out what we already knew. Wildlife management is not an exact science.
Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is something you will never hear me say.
It’s a secret
Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.
What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?
Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.
The first step
If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.
Translations differ, but the message is eternal
This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).
Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters
After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.
Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing
The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.
Where to look
Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.
Midterm elections give chance to return to American values
A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the outcome of the November election if they all respond.
We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.
Group wants status quo on Sunday hunting
Many Maryland residents have grown very concerned about two legislative bills that are arriving on the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley after being approved by both the Senate and House chambers this session. With the governor’s possible signature of these bills into law, hunting would be allowed on certain state lands on Sundays — a day in the past reserved for rest and non-hunters to enjoy public lands.
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