I don't mean to be rude, 2016, but to be perfectly frank, I'm personally glad to see you go. It's not that everyone thought you were a crummy year, but, well, it kinda was, except for the crabbing and fishing. And while I'm happy to shoulder my share of the blame for some of the noise you brought, it's best you hit the bricks. Seriously, don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. Below is very brief remembrance of the year that was in the outdoors, some tongue-in-cheek observations, while others, well, not so much. Here's wishing you all a healthy and prosperous New Year.
Right On! U.S. Coast Guard & Natural Resources Police for helping to keep us safe on the water and afield.
Boo! DNR for putting the Tred Avon oyster restoration project on ice.
Right On! DNR for reversing their decision and moving ahead with the Tred Avon oyster restoration project, albeit with $1M less in funding.
Right On! For the incredible rockfish season we've been so fortunate to enjoy. Cobia, red drum and bluefish, too!
Boo! To the Atlantic State's Marine Fisheries Commission for voting to "up" by 6.5% the commercial menhaden take.
Right On! To everyone who told the Atlantic State's Marine Fisheries Commission to (at long last) manage menhaden via ecosystem approach instead of an outdated single species concept. And a special shout out to recently retired CBF fishery director Bill Goldsborough for his nearly forty years of effort to conserve and improve Chesapeake fisheries.
Boo! To the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council for its failure to OK a plan that may have helped river herring and shad populations rebuild.
Right On! To the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council for taking an important step toward protecting from over fishing unmanaged forage fish including chub mackerel, anchovies and sardines.
Boo! Virginia state lawmakers for trying to siphon sport anglers' funds to balance its budget.
Right On! For Virginia sport anglers who've publicly called out their legislators trying to pull a fast one over on them. Pay attention, Marylanders.
Right On! Regional and local rockfish tournament organizers, volunteers and anglers who raised huge sums of money for charities. Good on ya, folks!
Boo! To all of you chumps busted for poaching the public's fish and game; and a double hiss!! to those who thought you got away with it. Don't forget, karma's a mother…
Right On! NOAA investigators and the Justice Department's environmental crime fighters for busting and prosecuting James Kaminsky, a Long Island, NY fisherman who pleaded guilty to stealing approximately 50,000 pounds of scup, 12,000 pounds of black sea bass, and 6,900 pounds of summer flounder.
Boo! Buck Showalter's decision for keeping Zach Britton on the pines during the O's playoff loss to the Blue Jays. Oh, and a random Boo! to the NFL for fining Giants' receiver Odell Beckham for wearing colorful shoes honoring the late Craig Sager. Get a life, Roger.
Right On! Maryland anglers, hunters and boaters who continue to support our state's great recreational opportunities by purchasing permits, stamps and licenses each year.
DEER HUNTERS ENJOY A GOOD FIREARMS SEASON: During the state's most popular deer hunting season, the two-week firearms affair that ran last month, Maryland hunters reported taking 12 percent more deer than in 2016, according to the state's Wildlife and Heritage Service. This year's total was 35,078 deer, compared to last year's harvest of 31,304. State wildlife biologists say fair weather and slower harvests in September and October drove the increase.
"Deer hunters got off to a slower start than normal earlier this fall. However they came out in force during the annual firearm season and the harvest rebounded accordingly," said W&H Service Director Paul Peditto. "Sunday hunting also played a valuable role in the strong harvest totals." To that point, more than 4,300 deer were taken on the two Sundays during the season.
According to DNR reports, deer hunters bagged 22,407 antlerless white-tailed deer this season, nearly double the total of antlered white-tailed deer (12,671). One of W&H Service's main methods to control the number of deer continues to be having hunters take antlerless deer.
Sika deer hunters report killing 1,060 deer — 487 antlered and 573 antlerless — compared to 975 — 392 antlered and 583 antlerless — in 2015.
Peditto said, "Hunters have responded favorably to the recent liberalization of bag limits for sika deer. We modified those limits to help reduce and stabilize the deer population, especially where it has caused significant agricultural damage."
PSG HOSTS "OYSTER TALK" JAN. 9: If you'd like to learn more about ongoing Chesapeake oyster restoration efforts, then head out to the monthly meeting of the Pasadena Sportfishing Group where you'll hear Pat Hudson of the True Chesapeake Oyster Company speak on the topic. His talk is expected to last about 40 minutes, and includes a Q&A session. The PSG meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 9 and as always will be held at the Earleigh Heights VFC at 161 Ritchie Hwy. in Severna Park. Doors open at 6 p.m. and it's free for the public. Food and drinks are available, and fishing tackle raffle tickets and a 50/50 drawing will be held after the discussion. For more information, visit pasadenasportfishing.com or trueoyster.com.
Got Outdoors News, Photos and Calendar listings to share? Email them to Captain Chris Dollar at email@example.com.
Thru Jan. 28: Final Split of Duck Season.
Thru Feb. 4: Final Split of Canada Goose Season. Daily bag limit is two (2) geese and the possession limit six (6).
Jan. 14: MSSA Frederick Chapter's "Saltwater Fishing Expo," 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at Frederick County Fairgrounds, 797 E. Patrick St., Building #9, Frederick, MD. Regional experts as well as Ed "The Beard" from NatGeo's "Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks." Inshore/offshore tackle vendors, charter captains, custom rod builders, and crabbing supplies.
Jan. 16: MSSA Broadneck/Magothy #10 Chapter Meeting at 7:30p.m, American Legion Post #175, 832 Manhattan Beach Rd., Severna Park.
Jan. 21: Maryland Chapter of Heroes on the Water's "Tackle Show." 8 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Co., 4498 Mountain Rd., Pasadena.
Jan. 26-29: Progressive® Insurance "Baltimore Boat Show," Baltimore Convention Center. Details at BaltimoreBoatShow.com.
Jan. 28-29: MSSA's Kent Island Fishermen 7th Annual Fishing Flea Market, Kent Island American Legion Post # 278, 800 Romancoke Road, Stevensville. Show runs from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. Contact Dave Stith (410) 643-3970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan. 31: Angler's Night Out, hosted by Boatyard Bar & Grill, CCA MD & Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Feature film is "Running the Coast." Happy hour from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., film starts at 7 p.m. Boatyard Bar & Grill, 4th Street & Severn Ave., Eastport.
Feb. 1: Free State Fly Fishers' meeting. Capt. Chris Dollar talks fly fishing and light tackle from SUPS and kayaks. 7:30 p.m. at Davidsonville Family Recreation Center, 3789 Queen Anne Bridge Road, Davidsonville. Details at facebook.com/FSFFMD.
Feb. 4: Salt Water Sportsman's Seminar Series. Old Mill High School Auditorium, 600 Patriot Lane, Millersville. Regional and national fishing experts, including local captains Lonnie Johnson of G-EYE Jigs and Pete Dalhberg. Details and registration at nationalseminarseries.com.
Feb. 25: MSSA Annapolis Chapter "Saltwater Fishing Expo" 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Annapolis Elks Club, Solomons Island Road, Annapolis. Seminars from area experts as well as tackle vendors, charter captains, and crabbing supplies. Details at mssaannapolis.com.
Feb. 28: Angler's Night Out, hosted by Boatyard Bar & Grill, CCA MD & Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Feature film is "Best of the 2016 Drake Video Awards." Happy hour & appetizer specials from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., film starts at 7 p.m. Boatyard Bar & Grill, 4th Street & Severn Ave., Eastport.
March 28: Angler's Night Out, hosted by Boatyard Bar & Grill, in cooperation with CCA MD & Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Feature film is "Providence." Happy hour & appetizer specials from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., film starts at 7 p.m. Boatyard Bar & Grill, 4th Street & Severn Ave., Eastport.