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Duck season offers plenty of opportunities

October 17, 2004|by BILL ANDERSON

Last week's first segment of the Maryland duck season is in the books, and reports from around the state indicate good duck populations.

The second and third segments of the Maryland duck season will be Nov. 12-26 and Dec. 14-Jan. 29. The general bag limit is five ducks per day, which can include no more than: Four mallards (maximum of two hen mallards); two wood ducks; two redheads; three scaup; four scoters; one black duck (during black duck season, Nov. 13-26 and Dec. 14-Jan. 29 ); one pintail (during pintail season, Jan. 4-29); one canvasback (during canvasback season, Dec. 27-Jan. 29).

During all three segments of the duck season, hunters may take one additional teal (blue-winged or green-winged) duck.

This is a good duck season with generous limits. As you can see from the one-bird limits and special season dates, there are still concerns about the pintail population, the black duck population and the canvasback populations.

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Maryland Goose Season: As most hunters know, Maryland manages the goose hunting season by zones within the state - the eastern part of the state, or Atlantic Population Zone, and the Resident Population Zone in the western portion of the state.

The AP zone geese are the migratory birds which have been under tight regulations for a number of years. As a result of population declines, the hunting season was closed for several years, and in more recent seasons, the bag limit has been only one bird per day.

This year, things look better for the AP Zone geese, and the bag limit for the latest segment of the season has been raised to two birds per day. The season dates and bag limits of the AP geese are as follows: Nov. 18-26, one bird per day; Dec. 18-Jan. 6, one bird per day; Jan. 7-29, two birds per day.

By contrast, the resident Canada goose population - referred to as the RP in the Maryland regulations - is doing very well and there is a long season and liberal bag limit as follows: Nov. 15-26, five birds per day; Dec. 9-Feb 15, five birds per day.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day: Maryland will also have a youth waterfowl day on Nov. 6. This hunt is for hunters age 15 and younger who may hunt ducks, Canada geese, snow geese and brant.

To be legal, the junior hunter must have a valid Maryland resident junior hunting license (unless exempt from hunting license requirements) and a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Hunting Stamp.

The youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult who also possesses a valid Maryland hunting license (unless exempt from hunting license requirements). The adult may not possess a firearm, bow, or any other hunting device while accompanying a junior hunter on this day. The accompanying adult may call waterfowl, assist with waterfowl identification, assist with decoys and retrieve downed birds, but may not shoot or possess a hunting device.

The annual report of duck populations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates that most duck species are doing well, and a good season is predicted for this fall and winter.




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

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