Muzzleloader season opens Thursday


On Thursday, Maryland's experimental early muzzleloader hunting season for deer opens in all connties, with a bag limit of one for all hunters.

The season closes Saturday.

In Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties, hunters may take only antlered deer. In all other counties, hunters may choose between antlered or antlerless deer.

In Dorchester County, the three day season also is open to sika deer, antlered or antlerless.

The experimental season, which was the subject of much debate at public meetings earlier this year, was put in to give a growing number of muzzleloader hunters an opportunity to hunt when conditions might be more favorable for them than the traditional black powder season in December.

The late muzzleloader season this year will be from Dec. 17 to Dec. 31.

The Department of Natural Resources' decision to implement the experimental season was based in part on a survey of Maryland hunters made by Responsive Management of Virginia, a company that has contracted with many states to help determine public likes or dislikes in terms of fish and game, seasons and bag limits.

Calling championships

The first split of duck season ended yesterday, and undoubtedly there were those who had difficulty calling birds in toward their blinds and decoy spreads.

On Saturday at the foot of High Street in Chestertown, the mallard and Canada goose-calling championships that are part of the Chestertown Wildlife Exhibition and Sale offer an opportunity to hear and see how masters work their calls.

Contestants in the Maryland State and Chesapeake Bay region duck- and goose-calling competitions will be judged on their performances during 90-second simulations of turning a distant flight of birds and bringing them within range of the hunter.

The competition is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

After the sanctioned competitions, which will qualify winners for the world championships, less formal team championships will be held.

In the team competition, which is open to any group of up to three paying the $20 entry fee, contestants compete for cash prizes.

For more information, call (410) 348-5943.

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