Cumberland Times-News

January 19, 2013

DNR letting the gophers alone

Cumberland Times-News

— This letter is directed to the folks in Annapolis who want to increase hunting license fees.

As I read your column every week I get input that has me shaking my head about the wonderful and innovative ways that the DNR will make things better for Almost Maryland.

Statistics from Allegany County’s deer kill are down 60 percent. The last five years have been about the same in the areas I hunt, which is public and private. I also hunt in Garrett County and have seen the same trend, low deer numbers. This raises a legitimate question: are the harvest numbers being adjusted?

What does this have to do with the proposed license increase, you ask. Why would Region A hunters, the majority of which focus on deer hunting, agree to pay more for a license when deer are getting scarce, especially when the funds collected from the fee increase is for (get this) bear research.

One of the causes of fawn mortality needs our money for research. Are you kidding me?

That’s like spending more money for extra vegetable plants for your garden, but letting the gophers alone. If the DNR wants to fund bear research, ask for the money from all those people who want these darn critters in our backyard and not the hunters who live in Almost Maryland.

However, a better idea is to allow every hunter to buy a bear stamp for the same $20. The DNR gets the money and we thin out the reason we aren’t seeing as many deer. We both win.

But the DNR did open up the season on coyotes, which is another huge factor in game mortalities, but they are slicker than snot on a waxed door knob to find and kill so maybe a bounty for them is in order.

These are my opinions of the situation and the fee increase. There are a lot of hunters who have had little success in recent years and are on the verge of not buying a license next year. Can the DNR afford to increase fees and possibly lose the standard hunting fee?

That doesn’t sound like good business to me.

M. Nicol