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Hunters' calendars begin to fill up in October

October 03, 2004|by BILL ANDERSON

October is here, and it is one of busiest months of the year - particularly for hunters.

A number of hunting seasons occur this month. The headline event will be the highly controversial bear hunt which will be held Oct. 25-30 and Dec. 6-11 in Garrett County and those areas west of Evitts Creek in Allegany County.

The Maryland DNR reports they received a total of 2,372 applications for the bear permits. The applications were made by phone and online via the internet. A total of 200 permits have been drawn, and the winning control numbers are now available online at

Successful applicants will also be notified by mail.

The DNR is planning on a harvest of 30 bears out of the overall population in the area open to hunting this fall. If the DNR's population estimates are even remotely close to actual, 30 bears taken will not make any real impact of the bear population.


The anti-hunting forces are making it sound like this hunt will drive black bears back to the edge of extinction. I still think it is even money that the anti-hunting folks will find an activist judge who will stop the season.

Another interesting possibility is that a high percentage of the people selected to receive the permits have no intention of hunting and simply applied to keep a hunter from getting the permit.

Yet another possibility is that those opposed to the bear season will try to disrupt hunters and hunting. Kind of a "save the bears by acting stupid" approach.

In past situations in Maryland, we have seen the anti-hunting crowd try to save deer by walking through the woods banging on pans and singing protest songs. Maryland has a law against such behavior, but it may not matter.

Crossbow season opens

For reasons that are probably clear to someone, Maryland now supplements its bow season with a limited crossbow season. Last year, Maryland hunters reported 314 whitetail deer and 17 sitka deer while hunting with a crossbow. In Washington County, the reported crossbow bag was 23 deer in 2003.

This fall, hunting with a crossbow is legal during two periods: Oct. 1-15 and Jan. 15-31. All regular bow regulations apply to crossbow hunting, and all deer bagged apply to the regular regional bow season limit.

Hunting with actual archery tackle will be allowed concurrently with this crossbow season. When you check your deer in, you will be required to indicate if your deer was taken with a vertical bow (compound, longbow, recurve, etc.) or with a crossbow.

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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