Date: 11/8/17 8:11 am
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Mottled Duck bag limit.

[I know hunting is something of a taboo subject (therefore do not respond to this on MDBIRDING) in this forum but thought people might be interested in some of this.]

The Maryland guide to hunting & trapping, 2017-2018 (Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources, 65 pages). In some respects this is the sort of thing Rick Blom used to refer to as “party material”. Pass it around for laughs. Surely the regulations could be simplified, rather than 65 pages of what is often fine print. I used to hunt (ducks, geese, deer) but would get bored after a few hours and end up birding. One of the reasons I was turned off was the complicated regulations.

Page 40 describes the “regular duck season”, where it says the “daily bag limit” should include no more than one each of Fulvous Tree Duck and Mottled Duck. I don’t think there are any records of Mottled Duck in MD, and few for what is properly called Fulvous Whistling-Duck. Not mentioned, and more likely than the fulvous these days, is Black-bellied Whistling-Duck.

Other rarities mentioned are “eiders” (no more than 4 a day). “black ducks” and “pintails” are of course American Black Ducks and Northern Pintails. All told 10 species (sometimes as groupings: scoters, Long-tailed Ducks & eiders comprise one grouping of “sea ducks”) are listed with their respective bag limits. There is an additional limit of 15 “coots” (American Coots). Glad to see it’s prohibited to shoot Harlequin Ducks.

There are so many Snow Geese now that there is no bag or possession limit (Ross’s Goose is grouped in with them in the “light goose conservation order season”, that runs, in 3 segments, from Nov. 27 until April 14) for the Light Goose Conservation Order Season. In addition to the “light goose conservation order season” there is the regular, old “light goose season”, also in 3 segments, but from Oct. 2 - Feb. 10, with a daily big limit of 25 but with no possession limit.

Another “howler” is the “rail season” with (combined) bag limits of 10 Clapper and King rails and bag limits of 25 Virginia Rails and Soras. Possession limit for the latter 2 species is 75. That’s a lot of marsh guineas and mudhens. In your life how many Virginia Rails have you actually seen?

An example of how complicated it can get is on page 36 concerning deer huntings in “Sections of Frederick and Worcester counties, continued from page 11. Breech-loading rifles may not be used to hunt deer in … " then goes on in excruciating detail for exactly 628 words. Why I bothered to count those words is perhaps as puzzling as some of the regulations, another issue entirely.

Then there’s the “antlered white-tailed deer archery season” (p. 13) that is permitted in 5 segments from Sept. 8 until Jan. 31. The sika (deer) archery season is also in 5 segments. Fortunately these 2 seasons have the same dates within each segment.

There are spring, fall and winter turkey seasons.

The big limit listed (p. 38) for “Migratory (AP) Canada Goose zone bag limits and rules” may include 2 of CGs, Cackling Geese, or white-fronted geese (i.e., Greater White-fronted Geese). There’s an “early resident Canada Goose season” (both eastern and western zones) plus a “late resident Canada Goose season”. It’d seem there would be plenty of non-resident CGs present during the latter (late) resident season. How to tell the difference? It seems to me the “real” Canada Geese usually fly higher, are more vocal, and more wary, but this isn’t always evident.

“Extended falconry seasons” (p. 41) lists 6 different seasons for doves, brant, woodcock, et al.

Then there’s the “Furbearer hunting and trapping” (p. 48-52) with a bag limit of 2 Fishers a day, Nov. 1-Feb. 1, “all counties”. How many of us have ever even seen a Fisher in Maryland? Do they even occur outside of Garrett County?

There’s a list of 17 terms and conditions (p. 63) for archery hunting at Liberty, Loch Raven & Prettyboy reservoirs. On page 8 there are 27 “general deer hunting rules”. A sidebar on p. 43 tells how to report bird bands (<> etc.). In spite of any playful sarcasm in my posting here, there IS much of interest in this publication.

I’m all for legal and ethical hunting, but much of this is so complicated that I’d think it would take a lot of the fun out of it.

The advertisements are of interest, too. One can have venison made up as slim jim jerky, deer bacon, fresh sage sausage, Polish smoked tubes, bologna with pepper jack cheese, and in many other ways at Frase’s Meat Shop, Inc. Mark’s Butcher Shop’s motto: “you gut ‘em, we cut ‘em”. Clint’s Cuts Butcher Shop chimes in with: “You pop ‘em, we chop ‘em”. Happiness is a warm gut pile. In most years the Olszewski family, who hunt Rigby’s Folly, give us venison that is a staple of our gatherings with one or two other families for Christmas dinner.

Heaven only knows there are plenty of deer. On the Easton bypass (Route 322) I once counted 114 deer in sight simultaneously in one field, within the corporate limits of Easton. All the foraging they do is bound to impact ground-nesting birds such as Ovenbirds and Worm-eating Warblers.

Best to all. - Harry Armistead.

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