As strange as it sounds, I wasn’t invited to any Halloween parties. Not a single one. Shocking, I know, and I’d like to think more than likely an innocent oversight. Or perhaps it’s because of the costume I wore back in 2004. Some folks have no sense of humor. At any rate, with the second split of the duck season now less than a week away (Nov. 10) and the Canada goose season hot on its tail (Nov. 17), I spent the gloaming of All Saints Day scouting waterfowl along a creek I have permission to hunt.
I watched a big knot of woodies light into a farm pond, spied mallards pitching into the marsh and heard, but did not see, a gaggle of Canadas honk and moan somewhere off in the distance. My older Chesapeake was content to play a game of “Let’s knock the bumper into the water, bark, then run down the dock, along the bank and retrieve it.” Rinse, repeat, with the sole interruption being an acorn break. Who knew Chessies ate acorns? Apparently this one.
Last month, a few readers alerted me to a rumor making the rounds on social media stating the daily bag limit for this year’s Canada goose season would be cut back to one goose per day. Even Twain, if he actually even said this — “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on…” — could not have anticipated the light speed at which information, true, false or ridiculous, travels in the 21st century.
So I reached out to those at our DNR in charge of such things to get the lowdown and the other day they responded, condensed here for your convenience: There are no changes for the current (2018-19) goose season. Next year, however, expect the Chesapeake region (Md., Del., Va.) to cut back to a daily bag limit of one goose with a 30-day season that must be held between Nov. 15 and Feb. 5, most likely divided into two splits. Maryland’s DNR will get hunter input, as they always do, before setting final dates.
The reason for the shift — from a “moderate” two-bird bag to the “restrictive”one bird season — is based on the three-year plan formulated by the Atlantic flyway council that uses information collected by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists via aerial surveys of breeding grounds. Brood success estimates are down in recent years, and this spring it has been reported that an unusually late spring thaw in the eastern Arctic likely impacted breeding success among Atlantic Flyway goose populations.
I challenge anyone to say we haven’t enjoyed a good run of Canada goose hunting for the better part of past decade or longer, and for many of us in the Old Line State several winter shoots have been absolutely spectacular. Rapaciousness is rarely a good look on anyone, but it’s particularly ugly on those who profess to be sportsmen. If we now need to pump the brakes for a couple seasons to help the birds rebound, I’m good with that, so let’s all buck up, fellow gunners, no whinging.
STRIPER FORUM: Through much trial and error, I’ve found a surefire way to liven things up in the boat’s cockpit during a lull in the fishing action: Claim I know the one and only way to manage our recreational striper fishery. I change the specific details each time, mind you, but it never fails to loosen the tongues of my compadres. On Nov. 14, the Maryland Sportsman’s Foundation will posit that general theme, but undoubtedly in a more orderly manner when they host a forum on the topic.
Their goal is to foster dialogue between Maryland’s sport anglers and charter boat operators that ultimately helps improve rockfishing for everyone. This is both laudable and useful, in my opinion, since both groups are managed under the same umbrella by the Department of Natural Resources yet on occasion speak past each other. Again, just one man’s opinion. The commercial sector is managed separately.
You’re asked to register online (evite.me). Below are the topics scheduled to be discussed.
Agenda and speakers:
— Water quality impacts on striped bass, Bruce Michael, Director, Resource Assessment Service, DNR
— Science of striped bass hooking & release mortality, Rudy Lukacovic, Retired DNR Biologist
— Striped bass management overview, DNR Fisheries staff
— Conservation equivalency process
— Historical and current season
— Current stock status
—Circle hooks, gear choices and angler behavior
— Short and long-term goals of fishery/fishing experiences
— Changes for the 2019 season and beyond
Nov. 7: Free State Fly Fishers meeting. Guest speaker is DNR Biologist Ashlee Horne on “Patapsco River Shad and Herring Restoration.” 7 p.m. at Davidsonville Family Recreation Center (behind Ford Hall), 3789 Queen Anne Bridge Road, Davidsonville.
Nov. 10-23: Duck Season, second split. Check DNR website for complete regulations.
Nov. 12: Pasadena Sportfishing Group’s meeting. Guest speaker is Erik Zlokovitz, DNR’s Recreational Fisheries Outreach coordinator; he’ll discuss Maryland’s “Recreational Fishing Regulations.” Doors open at 6 p.m., meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. Free to the public. Earleigh Heights VFC, 161 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park.
Nov 14: MSSA Annapolis Chapter meeting. Capt. Charlie Sisson on “Trolling for Fall Stripers.” Kelly and Toby Sheehan from B.F.G. Tackle/Crippled Alewive Lure Co. will be on hand offering their lures. Doors open at 7 p.m., American Legion Post #7, 1905 Crownsville Road.
Nov. 17-23: AP Canada Goose season, first split. Check DNR website for regulations.
Dec. 11-Jan. 26: Duck Season, third split. Check DNR website for regulations.
Dec. 14-Feb. 2: AP Canada Goose season, third split. Check DNR website for regulations.
Dec. 18-Jan. 12, 2019: Dove Season, third split. Check DNR website for regulations.
Chris Dollar writes about the outdoors for The Capital. Contact him with items for his column or the outdoors calendar at firstname.lastname@example.org