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Modern firearms deer hunting season opens Saturday

November 26, 2008

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Maryland's most popular hunting season starts Saturday, and Sgt. Kenneth Turner of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police said officers are expecting a busy weekend.

The two-week period for deer hunting with modern firearms runs through Dec. 13.

During the 2007-08 deer hunting seasons -- which included bow, modern firearms and muzzleloader -- Washington County hunters bagged 7,205 deer, according to state data. Of those, 5,448 were killed using modern firearms and muzzleloaders, and 1,757 were killed during the bow season.

"First and foremost, we want to remind people to be safe," Turner said. "We want people to enjoy themselves and their hunting experience, but we want everyone to return home."

The most common cause of hunting injuries in Maryland and in the United States are those that result from tree-stand mishaps, he said. Turner also said that officers want hunters to be aware of proper firearms safety.

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"Treat every firearm as if it was loaded," he said. "Do not point a firearm at anything you don't intent to shoot or kill."

Turner also suggests not using the shotgun or rifle scope as binoculars, saying that is dangerous and means a weapon is being pointed at something the hunter does not necessarily intend to shoot.

A new regulation in place for this hunting season is that all hunters using a type of camouflage tent are required to place fluorescent orange caps and panels on the tents. In addition, like other seasons, hunters are required to wear a certain amount of fluorescent orange clothing.

Turner said that color is not found in nature, and it helps hunters see each other and avoid injuries.

One of the most common violations that Turner believes officers will be issuing citations for this weekend is trespassing. In order to hunt on private property, hunters need written permission, he said.

"We get a whole lot of trespassing calls," Turner said.

Hunters not wearing fluorescent orange or hunting within a certain distance of occupied structures or dwellings also are common violations.

Citations often come with a fine or the option of having the case heard in court, Turner said.




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For additional information about hunting regulations in Maryland and safety tips, go to www.dnr.state.md.us.

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