ANNAPOLIS (August 4, 2010) The proposed 2010-2011 late waterfowl hunting seasons and bag limits are now available from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife & Heritage Service. DNR will accept public comment on the proposed regulations through August 17 and will announce the finalized seasons and bag limits in early September.
We are pleased to offer a variety of opportunities for hunters to continue the great tradition of waterfowl hunting in Maryland, said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul A. Peditto. As always, we are looking forward to an active public participation process as we move forward toward finalizing these proposals.
Good breeding habitat conditions in eastern Canada and the north-central U.S. and prairie region of Canada should result in a large fall flight of ducks this year. This years eastern mallard population (763,000) is sufficiently large enough to prescribe a liberal duck hunting package for Atlantic flyway states. Thus, similar to recent years, DNR is proposing a 60-day duck season with a six-bird bag limit for 2010-11.
There is particularly good news for duck hunters this year said DNRs Waterfowl Project Leader Larry Hindman. The pintail breeding population increased to 3.5 million this year. This improvement in pintail numbers means an increase in the daily bag limit from 1 to 2 per day. Diving duck hunters will also be pleased to hear that the bag limits for scaup and canvasback remain unchanged from last year and will be 2 scaup and 1 canvasback per day during the full 60-day regular duck season.
The 2010 spring breeding pair survey of Atlantic Population (AP) or migrant Canada geese totaled 154,000 pairs compared to 176,600 in 2009. Although the number of breeding pairs remained similar to last year, spring snowmelt was normal over most of the major AP breeding range in northern Quebec. The weather conditions resulted in moderate to good gosling production for AP geese. As a result, the 2010 Canada goose AP season proposal remains unchanged from last year at 45 days with a daily bag limit of 2 geese.
This spring, the greater snow goose breeding population continued to exceed the desired population goal of 500-750,000 birds with 814,000 birds recorded on the St. Lawrence River where they stage before moving to arctic breeding areas. Nesting conditions for greater snow geese were favorable. High numbers of lemmings reduced goose nest predation by arctic foxes and resulted in high nest success by greater snow geese.
We expect good gosling production and a large fall flight of greater snow geese here on the Delmarva Peninsula, said Hindman. Coupled with that news, we propose to increase the daily bag limit of snow geese from 15 to 25 per day during the regular season.
Greater and lesser snow geese and Ross's geese are collectively referred to as light geese. A Light Goose Conservation Order season will immediately follow the conclusion of the regular light goose hunting season this year. During the Conservation Order season, hunters may use unplugged shotguns, electronic calls and hunt from one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset with no daily bag or possession limits.
The intent of the Conservation Order season and liberalized hunting methods is to significantly reduce the light goose population, said Hindman. The greater snow goose population is well above the desired population objective of 500-750 thousand birds. A smaller population will help minimize the ecological and agricultural damage caused by the current over-abundance of light geese.
The proposed Maryland 2010-2011 late waterfowl hunting season dates and bag limits may be viewed on the DNR website at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/lwfchart.asp
DNR will hold a public meeting to collect comments on the proposed regulations at 7 p.m. on Monday, August 16 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills. Public comments may also be submitted online at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Hunt_Trap/waterfowl/lwfforum.asp, via fax (410-260-8596), by phone (410-260-8540) or by writing to: Director, Wildlife and Heritage Service, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland 21401. The comment period ends at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August 17.
Directions to Chesapeake College:
Directions from Annapolis and points west Cross the bay bridge and continue on Route 50 East to the traffic light at the intersection of Routes 50 and 213, and turn right on Route 213. The Chesapeake College entrance is on the right. Park in Lot D. The meeting is in the Higher Education Center (Room 110).
Directions from Salisbury and points east - Take Route 50 West to the traffic light at the intersection of Routes 50 and 213, and turn left on Route 213. The Chesapeake College entrance is on the right. Park in Lot D. The meeting is in the Higher Education Center (Room 110).
Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources