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Maryland bag limit for white-tailed bucks considered

February 05, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

Maryland wildlife officials are considering creating a statewide bag limit for white-tailed bucks and reducing the overall limit from nine bucks to three, a Maryland Department of Natural Resources official said Tuesday.

Many hunters have asked state officials to restrict the harvest of bucks so more bucks survive longer and grow larger antlers, said Peter Jayne, game program manager for the state agency’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

State officials have been trying to reduce the white-tailed deer population in most of the state, but a more effective way of doing that is to reduce the doe population, Jayne said. Hunters have been doing a great job taking more does, he said.

If the state further restricts the buck harvest, hunters will continue to take adequate numbers of does, Jayne said. It also will create a more normal breeding season, as there would be a better buck-to-doe ratio, he said.

“We’re doing this only because the hunters have asked us to restrict the harvest of bucks. We don’t have a management concern,” Jayne said.

Jayne said state officials get feedback from hunters via phone calls, emails and online hunting forums in which the state participates.

Public meetings about the concept will be held in March, though dates and locations have not been finalized, Jayne said. State officials also will create an online forum where people can comment on the concept.

Currently, the state is split into two regions, with the dividing line going through Clear Spring. Hunters in the western region, Region A, are limited to three bucks a year, one per weapon season, Jayne said. Hunters in the eastern region, Region B, are limited to six bucks, two per weapon season.

State officials are considering doing away with the separate regions and reducing the statewide buck limit from nine to three.

If the change goes through, it would become effective in September, for the 2012-14 hunting seasons, he said.

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