Maryland hunters reported taking 35,078 deer during the state's most popular hunt, the two-week firearm season. The total was 12 percent greater than last year's harvest of 31,304.
Fair weather and a reduced harvest in September and October contributed to the increase. Over 4,300 deer were taken on the two Sundays during the season.
"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 Wildlife and Heritage Service director Paul Peditto. "Sunday hunting also played a valuable role in the strong harvest totals."
Hunters reported taking 22,407 antlerless white-tailed deer the season, nearly double the total of antlered white-tailed deer (12,671). Focusing the harvest on antlerless deer remains a fundamental component of the department's effort to manage the state's deer population.
In western Maryland (Region A) hunters reported taking 4,018 white-tailed deer, a slight increase from last year's harvest of 3,965. The region's harvest was comprised of 2,462 antlered and 1,556 antlerless deer. In the remainder of the state (Region B), the white-tailed deer harvest increased 14 percent from last year's harvest of 26,364 to 30,000 deer this year. That region's total included 9,722 antlered and 20,278 antlerless deer.
The harvest of sika deer also increased this year with hunters reporting 1,060 deer (487 antlered and 573 antlerless) compared to 975 (392 antlered and 583 antlerless) in 2015.
"Hunters have responded favorably to the recent liberalization of bag limits for sika deer," Peditto said. "We modified those limits to help reduce and stabilize the deer population, especially where it has caused significant agricultural damage."
Young hunters reported taking 2,443 deer in November during the Junior Deer Hunt Days, slightly below last year's harvest of 2,534. They registered 1,557 antlered and 886 antlerless deer.
Homebred Generous Jack wins debut at Laurel Park
Gunpowder Farms homebred Generous Jack swept to the lead on the outside around the far turn and powered down the stretch for a 2-length debut victory Friday at Laurel Park. With fall meet-leading rider Jevian Toledo aboard for trainer Kelly Rubley, Generous Jack ($7.40) finished in 1 minute, 14.21 seconds for 6 furlongs over a fast main track.
Generous Jack had been breezing steadily at the Fair Hill Training Center for his unveiling, recording the fastest work eight times since Oct. 5 over the track's dirt and all-weather surfaces. "Those bullets have been easy for him, so we've really been looking forward to his first start," Rubley said. "This horse has been one of my favorites in training all summer long. He showed up like we thought he would." Dharmaster closed late to be second, with Thats My Fella third.
Censure, a $335,000 yearling purchase by Hillwood Stables that went off as the 2-1 favorite, wound up last of eight. K One King, whose multiple stakes wins included the 2000 Oaklawn Handicap (Grade 1), ran eighth in the 1999 Kentucky Derby (G1).
Generous Jack is out of the Mizzen Mast mare Mizzen Donald, a five-time winner of nearly $160,000. Mizzen Mast was a multiple graded stakes winner on dirt. "He's gorgeous," Rubley said. "We definitely think he'll go longer down the road but for now, this is all right."
In Friday's other $40,000 maiden special weight for 2-year-olds, Momentum Stud's Maryland-bred Blackjack Buster, making his fourth career start, took the lead with a half-mile to run and was never challenged in the stretch to win in 1:12.68.
Trained by Scott Lake, Blackjack Buster ($11) was coming off a runner-up finish in an Oct. 15 maiden race at Laurel to El Areeb, who went on to capture the James F. Lewis III Stakes in his subsequent start. Alive edged Crafty Sam late for second.
"There were some decent horses in the race, but he dug in hard. When he felt the other horses coming, he kept on running," winning jockey Julian Pimentel said. "I got an easy lead and I was really comfortable the whole way around there. I had plenty of horse left."
More: In addition to Generous Jack, Toledo visited the winner's circle on Classic Wildcat ($9.80) in the first race and Bourbon and Beer ($10.80) in the seventh to extend his lead to 61. … Feargal Lynch was first with Run for Zach ($15.80) in the first and Street Bullet ($8.40) in the sixth, while Victor Carrasco won aboard Read All About It ($4.80) in the third and Monkey's Medal ($8.20) in the eighth. … Read All About It is trained by Mary Eppler, her meet-high 20th victory.
Harness racing: Rosecroft Raceway's fall meet, highlighted by the inaugural Potomac Pace, ended Thursday night with Russell Foster and Roger Plante Jr. sharing in the driving title and Maryland native Brian Burton taking the training crown.
NHL: T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored in the shootout and the visiting Washington Capitals earned their sixth straight win by beating the Hurricanes, 4-3.
Oshie also scored the tying goal on a deflection with 6:04 left, Alex Ovechkin scored his team-leading 14th goal and Justin Williams also scored for Washington. Matt Niskanen had two assists.
Oshie beat Cam Ward high on Washington's first attempt in the shootout, and after Jaccob Slavin hit the post with a backhand to start the second round, Kuznetsov put a backhand high past Ward to end it.
Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 shots for the Capitals.
NBA: John Wall had 29 points and 11 assists, leading a Washington Wizards offense that committed a season-low five turnovers in a 122-108 victory over the visiting Detroit Pistons.
Bradley Beal added 25 points and Marcin Gortat had 12 to go with 14 rebounds for Washington, which set a season high for points in its fourth win in five games. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 24 points to lead the Pistons.
The Wizards broke the game open by scoring 38 points in the second quarter, tying a season high for a period.
Varsity boys soccer: Mount Saint Joseph junior central defender Tyler Collins, an All-Metro first-team selection this fall, committed orally to Navy. A three-year starter and captain, Collins led the No. 3 Gaels to a 14-3-2 mark that included 10 shutouts. Collins earned All-Metro second-team honors as a sophomore.
— Glenn Graham
Men's college basketball: Jimmy "Jumpshot" Smith (Northern), a 1976 Loyola College graduate, will sign copies of his book, "Running With The Greyhounds," on Friday at Reitz Arena when now-Loyola Maryland hosts UMass-Lowell in its final nonconference game of the regular season. Smith's book chronicles the program from its infancy through the early 1980s, when the Greyhounds moved to Division I. Smith is No. 5 on Loyola's all-time rebounding list with 749 and holds the single-game record for blocked shots with 11.
Women's college basketball: Keyera Eaton scored 15 points and Shauntesha Bryant had 14 points to lead UMES (4-3) to a 90-82 victory over Saint Francis (Pa.) in the Florida Atlantic Holiday tournament. The Red Flash fell to 3-5, and the Hawks face the host Owls in tonight's championship at 7:30. ... Harford Community College (13-0) moved from No. 17 to No. 16 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I rankings.
College field hockey: Maryland graduate forward Welma Luus is one of four nominees for the Honda Sport Award for Field Hockey. ... Luus was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association's All-America first team. Maryland graduate defender Grace Balsdon and junior midfielder Lein Holsboer made the third team. ... Salisbury senior Hannah Miller (Severna Park) was named to the NFHCA Division III All-America second team. Salisbury senior Becca Rinaca (North Harford) made the third team. Salisbury's Dawn Chamberlin was named South Coach of the Year.
Men's college soccer: Messiah senior midfielder Jacob Bender (Calvert Hall) was named Division III Scholar Player of the Year by National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Bender was joined on the Scholar All-America first team by Johns Hopkins senior forward Sammy Ramadane. The third team included Eastern junior defender Jadon Ramsing (Wilde Lake) and Hood senior forward Drew Demich.
Women's college volleyball: Salisbury senior outside hitter Katie Stouffer was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America's All-America Division III second team.