Final revisions to regulations for the 1996-1997 waterfowl hunting seasons are complete, and Maryland has chosen a conservative four-duck daily limit and lengthened the season for canvasbacks.
DNR also has elected to experiment with a winter season for resident Canada geese and hold a youth waterfowl hunt on Nov. 2.
DNR secretary John R. Griffin said the season dates and limits were finalized after evaluating public testimony at a series of four waterfowl meetings held around the state.
A record fall flight of ducks could have allowed five ducks per day over a 50-day season under guidelines formed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"A majority of hunters commenting on the suggested seasons, however, preferred a more conservative bag limit of four ducks a day," said Joshua Sandt, director of DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Division.
According to DNR, hunters also requested more days to hunt canvasbacks, especially around Christmas, when young hunters could participate. As a result, the canvasback season will run from Dec. 23 through Jan. 18.
The North American population of canvasbacks is the highest since surveys of their nesting region were started in 1955.
The season for migratory Canada geese will remain closed because the number of breeding pairs in northern Quebec is below acceptable levels. Breeding pairs increased from 29,000 in 1995 to 46,000 this year, but gosling production was low because of a late spring thaw.
A special late season for resident Canada geese will be held in the western part of the state from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15, where the goose population is increasing and there are few migratory birds.
The Nov. 2 youth hunt, open to those 15 and younger and accompanied by a licensed hunter 21 or older, does not count against the USFWS seasons. Adults cannot hunt or possess a firearm while in the field with youth hunters.
Pub Date: 9/29/96