'Sneakboating' bill may be watered down

March 12, 1997


Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS - Public outcry over a bill to allow "sneakboating" on the Antietam and Conococheague creeks has prompted the legislation's sponsor to weaken the bill.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said he will propose removing Antietam Creek from the hunting bill (H.B. 1333) at a hearing on the legislation today.

"I'm trying to be reasonable, and if the people in that area don't want it, I'll take it out," McKee said.


Sneakboating involves using an unpowered, and often camouflaged, boat for hunting waterfowl. The boat acts as a moving duck blind, allowing a hunter to sneak up on ducks and geese.

Sneakboating in Western Maryland is restricted to the Potomac and Monocacy rivers, and McKee's bill to widen the practice has been applauded by area sports enthusiasts.

But McKee has received numerous complaints from people who live near Antietam Creek.

Mike Kefauver, whose house sits near Antietam Creek near Keedsyville, has opposed the bill, saying it would be dangerous in many areas.

"People in the water wouldn't even be able to see what they are shooting at over the banks of the creek," Kefauver said.

But McKee said many of the fears are unfounded because existing restrictions forbid hunting near homes. Still, he said, there were enough complaints for him to promote a compromise.

"It's best to let the Antietam Creek (part of the bill) disappear," McKee said.

He said he received no complaints from people living near Conococheague Creek.

Kefauver said he is pleased to hear McKee has decided to amend the bill, but said he plans to attend the hearing, which will be held at 1 p.m. before the House Environmental Matters Committee.

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