Weather was just right on opening day

December 04, 2005|By BILL ANDERSON

The weather on opening day is always a key factor to the success of a firearms deer season.

Last weekend, as I sat in a treestand waiting for daylight, I thought that this was about as good as it gets from a weather point of view.

Maryland hunters were treated to crisp, cool weather with little wind and clear skies - a nearly perfect day for the opening of the season.

The Maryland DNR has released the number from opening weekend and it was a very good, but not a record-setting opening weekend. It is "opening weekend" because a number of counties now allow Sunday hunting on the second day of the firearms deer season.


The DNR is reporting that hunters bagged 17,171 deer on opening weekend. Of that total, there were 9,195 antlerless deer and 7,956 antlered deer. This total is down 793 from last season's opening weekend. DNR officials speculate that this decline is the result of lower deer populations in some areas and some differences in reporting rates with the new telephone and Internet check-in process.

Washington County was the top county in the state with 2,183 deer bagged. Frederick County was second with 1,408. No other county reached 1,000.

DNR officials point out that this was the first real test of the new check-in process, and they thought it was a great success. It was convenient for hunters, the retrieval of harvest data was rapid and overall costs were reduced.

Hunter mauled by bear

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is reporting that Samuel H. Beauchamp, of Shippensburg, Pa., was bitten and clawed by a black bear he had shot four times.

Beauchamp shot the bear while hunting in Rothrock State Forest on the opening day of bear season. He shot the bear four times with a .444 Marlin and approached to within 15 feet of the bear before it charged, hooking and holding him with its claws and biting him in each thigh. Fortunately, the bear died within moments.

Beauchamp was treated and released from a local hospital the same day. It was reported that one bite went down to the bone in his thigh.

Pennsylvania officials say that this is the first known case of a bear attacking and injuring a hunter after being shot with the hunter attempting to recover the animal.

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

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