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.
Gobbler stuff can get crazy
Tough, old bird
The third gobbler I killed was in 1990 while hunting on Pond Hill near McCoole. Relatively early in the morning I sent out a couple yelp calls. Immediately, 75-100 yards away, what sounded like three gobblers got into a fight.
- Let’s talk about it
AGSA creates website
The Allegany-Garrett Sportsmen’s Association, in existence since 1972, now has a website (www.agsaclub.org).
City-limits deer kill rises
The number of deer killed during Parkersburg’s 2013 urban archery hunt jumped 100 percent from 2012’s total.
Almost Maryland welcomes you back
If you are a hunter in Almost Maryland, circle Thursday on your calendar so you don’t forget to attend the 7 p.m. hearing at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg that deals with proposed hunting regulations for the next two years.
Bear Watch - 03/02/2014
An 85-pound female bear with severe mange was shot and killed by a landowner along Everly Road near Accident on Feb. 25 after he received permission from the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service to put the animal down.
Md. bear hunt may take on new form
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it may change the way black bear hunts are managed to make planning easier for hunters.
W.Va. schedules hunting, fishing regulation meetings
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will conduct 12 public meetings across the state in March to provide hunters, trappers, anglers, landowners and other interested parties an opportunity to review and comment on proposed 2014 hunting regulations, proposed 2015 fishing regulations and amphibian and reptile regulations.
- Matched set
Virginia confirms two more CWD deer
Two new cases of chronic wasting disease were detected in Frederick County during the 2013 hunting season, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
- More Outdoors Headlines
- Gobbler stuff can get crazy