Young start learning the deer-hunting ropes


Five years ago, the Department of Natural Resources initiated a special, one-day hunt that allows young hunters to go afield with an experienced adult to learn first-hand about deer hunting.

In the years since Youth Deer Hunting Day began in 1995, the number of youth hunting licenses sold in the state has increased 20 percent, according to DNR figures.

"This unique deer-hunting day provides the opportunity for adults to pass on effective hunting skills, safe firearm-handling techniques and conservation ethics required by all deer hunters," said Michael Slattery, director of DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Division.

This year's youth hunt, which is open to exempt or licensed youth hunters younger than 16, will be Saturday.

Each youth must be accompanied by an exempt or licensed adult 21 or older while in the field. Adults may assist the youth hunters but cannot possess a firearm, bow or any hunting device while hunting.

Studies by state conservation agencies have found that hunters often begin their sport at an early age and are taught hunting techniques by a family member.

In Maryland, hunting is the primary tool used to control the state's large deer population, and the introduction of new hunters to the sport is important.

"Young hunters are the future for effective deer management in Maryland," Slattery said.

On the first youth hunt, 1,28 deer were taken statewide. Last year, youth hunters bagged 1,664.

The basic bag limit for the youth hunt is one deer, antlered or antlerless. Bonus stamps are not valid in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Carroll or Frederick counties.

In the rest of the state, a second deer can be taken on a bonus stamp. The second deer must be antlerless if the first taken was antlered. If the first deer taken was antlerless, the second may be of either sex.

Speaker on the fly

Ed Jaworowski, an acknowledged expert on fly fishing, will speak about and demonstrate proper fly-fishing techniques at the monthly meeting of Maryland Trout Unlimited, which invites its members and the public to attend.

Jaworowski has written an award-winning book, "The Cast," and is a contributing author and photographer for Fly Fisherman, American Angler and the Mid-Atlantic Fly-Fishing Guide.

The program will be held in the auditorium of Gilman School, Northern Parkway and Roland Avenue, at 7: 30 p.m. Nov. 16. For more information, call 410-539-5149.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake: Trollers for rockfish continue to do well along the edges of the shipping channel and in the tributaries, with the mouths of the Patapsco and Chester rivers producing good numbers of 22- to 24-inch stripers. At the head of the bay, trolled Rat-L-Traps are catching rockfish along the channel edges in the North East River and on the Susquehanna Flats, while surgical tubing tipped with bloodworms seems to be working best in the Susquehanna River. Largemouth bass action is very good around wood cover on the Flats and in the Elk, Sassafras and Gunpowder rivers. The Elk and North East also are producing good catfish catches, along with crappie at the town park in North East.

Middle Chesapeake: Chumming is still the ticket for rock at Stone Rock, the Diamonds and the Hill, while trolling has been producing stripers up to 32 inches on large bucktails with sassy shads. While most action has been on the Eastern Shore side of the bay, some of the largest rockfish caught this time of year are often taken off Parkers Creek below Chesapeake Beach on the Western Shore. Jigging deeper waters adjacent to sharp dropoffs should turn up sea trout.

Lower Chesapeake: While chumming is the better bet for rockfish along the eastern side of the shipping channel, charter captains are preparing for the switch to trolling in the next week or so. From Hoopers Island Light to Buoy 72A, rockfish anglers have been limiting out on fish averaging 22 inches, although many smaller fish are in the area, too. Punch Island has been producing good catches of sea trout. Deep trolling has been a good choice in Tangier Sound, where the average striper has been 22 inches with occasional 30 inchers. Bluefish are scattered, and sea trout action appears to be picking up.

Ocean City: Good rockfish action at the inlet, along with some bluefish, puppy drum and sea trout. The big blues that run down the coast every fall have yet to make an appearance. (Editor's note: This is the final fishing report of the season. The report will resume next April.)

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