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Public Input Sought on Maryland’s Proposed Hunting and Trapping Regulations

Father and son show off a huge trukey they harvested. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites citizens to comment on the proposed changes to the 2014-15 and 2015-16 hunting and trapping seasons now through 4 p.m. on March 17, 2014. DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service reevaluates the regulations for select resident game species every two years to ensure best management.

Participants can view the proposed regulations and comment online at DNR is also accepting feedback by telephone to 410-260-8540 (toll free 877-620-8DNR ext. 8540); fax to 410-260-8596; and written mail to Karina Stonesifer, Acting Director, DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service, Tawes State Office Building E-1, Annapolis, MD, 21401.

The proposals will be presented and open for comment at the following public meetings:

Tuesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills: Chesapeake College is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore off of Route 50 at 1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, 21679. The meeting will be held in the Cadby Theatre (Room H-103) located in the Kent Humanities Building (building No 3 on the Campus Map).

Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg: Mountain Ridge High School is located at 100 Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick Lane in Frostburg. From I-68, take exit 34. Head North on Rt. 36 for 1.4 miles.  At the second traffic light, turn left onto Main Street, Route 40, and then left onto Rt. 36 South. Travel approximately 150 feet, and turn right into the school parking lot. The meeting will be held in the cafeteria.

Citizens with any questions may contact the Wildlife & Heritage Service at 410-260-8540.

Keep up to date with DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service on Facebook and Twitter @MDDNRWildlife.

  • Mike Hull

    Just curious as to why no meeting in Hagerstown this year. According to DNR, it was the most atteneded site for the 2012 meetings.

    • kking

      Greetings, Mike.

      Thanks for contacting the Department of Natural Resources.

      We typically hold one meeting somewhere in western Maryland and one meeting somewhere in the eastern portion of the state. As you note, two years ago it was in Hagerstown and Annapolis. This year we will hold one in Frostburg and one in Wye Mills. As you can see, we purposely move them around a bit in an attempt to be fair to everyone.

      I hope you can attend the meeting in Frostburg. If not, you can see the proposals and comment on them via the internet. This forum is very popular, while we got just under 200 people at our two meetings the last time, we received over 1000 comments via the online forum.

      See to view and participate in the forum.

      Peter S. Jayne
      Wildlife and Heritage Service

      • Mike Hull

        Thanks for the clarification. I guess what threw me off is that I started attending the meetings in 2010 and that one and the one in 2012 were both in Hagerstown so I figured that was how it was each time.


  • rich skeweris

    hello my name is rich and am owner of backbone mt. sport shop in Oakland,maryland.just want to comment on a couple of subjects.first the new reg. concerning deer.cant see where that is going to help but maybe its something.obvisually I am in favor of either antler restrictions or a one buck limit and I would have to say probably 90 percent of the people we talk to are also.all the real serious deer hunters are going out west or ohio,or penn.well enough said on that.the next thing I would like to comment on is the proposed January turkey hunt.everybody you talk to would like to know where that idea come from.ask any turkey hunter what is favorite time of the year is to hunt and I will bet they say spring.i can see maybe adding some days to the fall season but not in January.we usually have a couple foot of snow on the ground by then and I don’t think you want to bust a flock of turkeys up then adding to the stress and making it easier for the predators to find.have not heard of anyone up this way that is in favor.our turkey population is in fair shape here in the mountains but not great,due to the wet springs and predators.all for sunday hunting most people has to work 6 or seven days gives them another day.only other thing I have to complain about and wrote several letters is the early muzzloader season.not against the season at all but would like to see it moved up to the week prior to firearms season.all the bucks that we shoot in this season has not had a chance to breed yet.maybe have a doe season then and thin some does in certain areas.we don’t need to kill more bucks we just need more mature bucks ,all deer hunters whether they admit or not dream is getting a big buck.oh and your so called muzzloader season is just another firearm season nothing primitive about it.well glad to speak my mind and I am not sure if everybody will agree with me but I will bet the majority will. thanks,rich

  • David Mills

    I got an email asking for volunteers for bay cleen up I only have one thing to say what about us hunters I believe maryland needs to do more for us and not just taking our money I have talked to alot of hunters and the majority of them are saying that maryland hunting stinks and i couldnt agree more if I am going to shell out money each year for liscense then i dont see why Maryland shouldnt put out an effort to help us hunters out.

  • Clayton Miller

    As a board member of Beech wood

    Rod and Gun Club, which consists of 322 members who all hold the same value and idea of promoting better hunting in Md. We lease 3300 acres and are for the point restriction. We have been doing this for several years .

  • I support all of the proposed changes with the exception of the Whitetail APR Proposal.
    I do not feel that the entire State should be plunged into ARP when the issue with over harvest of yearling bucks at 80% is a problem in REGION A only.
    Why not just apply this to REGION A to monitor results, then apply it Statewide if warranted ?
    I am vehemently opposed to a Statewide ARP Requirement !!!!
    Thank you

  • Doug Kraft

    The DNR has not provided a reasonable or rational explanation for what the state hopes to achieve through the imposition of an Antler Point Restriction (APR). The DNR should not impose an APR.

    The DNR’s statement that the majority of bucks harvested in Region A are yearlings does not overcome the fact that even Region A continues to have an abundance of white-tailed deer. In fact, the DNR’s harvesting limits for Region A suggest that there is, in fact, a reasonable balance between male and female whitetail deer in Region A. Imposing an APR for Region A will, in all likelihood, upset the whitetail population balance that currently exists. The DNR should not impose an APR for Region A.

    Turning to Region B, the DNR admits freely that “Current yearling buck harvest rates are not a significant management concern for the Department, particularly in Region B.” Despite DNR’s lack of concern with yearling buck harvests in Region B, DNR still seeks to impose an APR for Region B. For lack of a better explanation, the DNR appears to be seeking to mitigate a problem that does not exist through unsound population management. Such an imposition, which is based neither on science nor sound wildlife management, makes absolutely no sense, particularly inasmuch as Region B suffers from a significant and growing whitetail deer population. Leaving additional bucks to breed within an already massive population of does would only lead to even greater population growth in Region B. The bottom line is that it makes no sense whatsoever to impose an APR for Region B. The DNR should not impose an APR for Region B.

    At a scientific level, the suggested APR is irrational. There are many yearling bucks that have 3 points or more per antler. Moreover, spikes are not limited to yearlings. There are mature bucks in the population that will never be anything more than spikes. In both cases, it is a matter of genetics. Eliminating only bucks with 3 points or more per antler would do nothing to mitigate this fact. The reality is that the proposed APR is not based on sound scientific evidence. Rather the proposed APR appears to be based on the desires of trophy hunters to skew what would otherwise be sound wildlife management principles.

    If trophy hunters wish to find “quality deer” with more antler points and bigger antler spreads, then there are many to be found in the state of Maryland. However, to find those deer will require more effort than walking a few hundred yards into the woods. The DNR should not base regulation changes on pressure from trophy hunters, particularly in a state that in one region has successfully managed the gender balance of the deer population, while in the other region it struggles to re-establish that balance. Just say “NO” to Antler Point Restrictions!

  • M Moore

    Point restriction is a TERRIBLE idea!!! Anyone been hunting in PA? I don’t understand why hunters love this…it doesn’t yield bigger better bucks…what you get is a bunch of dead deer with bullet and arrow holes in them that are left to waste because they weren’t big enough. If you are a hunter ask yourself…can you really tell how many points a buck has in thick cover or if he is running at 200 yds. Most of MD hunting is thick cover if it “looks big” would you wait to be sure it has three points or just assume it must be big enough and hope for the best? I can tell you who looses with regulations like this…honest hunters like me…we never get to take a shot! BOOO point restrictions!!!

  • Dave Moe

    I am strongly in favor of a 3 point antler restriction regulation for ALL deer hunting seasons in Maryland.

    The slogan KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid comes to mind and I would request MD DNR adopt that philosophy in its buck deer harvest regulations.

    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

  • Michael C White

    I am AGAINST the proposed APR on deer. I see no reason with current deer populations to additional restrictions. This is “TROPHY MANAGEMENT” NOT “DEER MANAGEMENT”.

  • J. Barone, Chrm. Applachian Conservation League

    The Frederick News Post has come out against any change in the existing regulation banning breech loading rifles in the southern portion of Frederick County. The editorial was published in December and states among many other pertinent comments, the following:
    “The county’s growth has been tremendous in the intervening 17 years. The 1990 Census showed more than 150,000 living here. Today, according to the 2010 Census, it’s 233,385 people living in roughly 90,000 homes. By 2030, the projection is 332,000 residents. The areas of the county in which there isn’t a home or other sign of human population somewhere in the vicinity have become and will continue to be more and more rare. Removing this ban without investigating the details of developmental impact on areas of Southern Frederick County would be a step back.”

    Further, the affiliate member clubs (numbering several thousand members) of the Frederick County Sportsman’s Council.voted unanimously AGAINST any change in the existing regulation.

  • J. Barone, Chrm. Appalachian Conservation League

    Announcement of the proposed regulation change to the existing breech loading rifle ban in the southern Frederick County and the subsequent request for public comment was just made today, Sunday, March 9, 2014 in the Frederick News Post. It appeared in the outdoor column located on Page F2 and that, of course, has limited readership. Comment from the public at large will therefore be limited since your deadline is on the 17th!

    Please do not regard this as a lack of interest in the regulation change. Numerous letters to the editor and emails to the Frederick County Sportsman’s Council have been sent over the past several months all voicing opposition to this plan.

    Further, some are saying this and the distant location of your public hearings on this matter of great importance to the people of Frederick is highly questionable, that is, given the tactics of the one individual pushing this agenda and his enlistment of three Democrat legislators to lay this at DNR’s doorstep.

  • I have practiced ARP for probably the last 15 years on my own. I am all for letting buck get more mature.
    Doe outnumber buck 20 to 1, so if I want meat I shoot a doe.

  • Ray Harner

    Way to go on the point restriction! It’s about time! The only thing I have to add; is no restriction for youth only on youth days! May help with little bucks shot by adults and claimed by a youth. Just because another state started a winter turkey season. It is not a good reason for this state to have one. Leave them alone at that time of year because of hard winters, predators, and possible lack of food, like this past winter. Breaking up a flock during this time of the year could kill a lot of young birds! You guys have stated the turkey flocks through out the state are in good shape, so leave them alone! Enough turkeys get killed by bored deer hunters through out the fall and winter, and never checked in. We will never know how many that is! LEAVE THE TURKEYS ALONE!

  • Zach Virts

    First, APR in the state is long overdue. I would like to see even further regulations to produce a more mature deer herd. Second a turkey season in January for region A is ridiculous. Turkeys have a hard enough time in the harsh Garrett County winters, why put more stress then is necessary? Third why move the fall turkey season to early November, the season now doesn’t interfere with any other major hunting season and moving it to November will only interfere with bow hunters that are trying to hunt the rut. In regard to turkey hunting, why ruin a good thing?

  • Rob Sands

    I’m against a winter turkey season because it can lead to serious consequences for our turkey population which we have spent years trying to carefully manage and rebuild across most of the state. A large harvest of turkeys in the winter and poor spring conditions could have devastating effects on a turkey population, especially if birds of either sex are hunted. Killing hens or breaking up family units in winter could remove birds that could be breeding in the spring, ensuring turkey hunting for future generations. Also I believe that a gobbler’s reduced interest in responding to calls will lead to increase of unsportsmanlike behavior such as birds shot over bait or shot in the roost. I believe we should follow Georgia’s example of turkey management and promote a strong spring season rather then a winter or fall season, that while promising in the short term, could have far reaching and harmful effects in the long term.

    Georgia’d statement on Fall turkey hunting (I believe it applies here for our winter season.)

  • Ed Bowyer

    I think Sunday hunting needs to be opened Statewide for every Sunday during the all of the seasons.

    I am 100% in favor of the Antler Point Restriction(APR) and believe those who need to “fill the freezer” in Region B need to shoot more doe’s. Shooting a doe taste’s the same as the 1 1/2 year old spike or forkhorn’s that are getting shot! Patience is supposed to be one of the hunter’s biggest asset’s, more patience will allow all of us the time and opportunity for the APR to be effective. Most importantly to me the APR will allow the antlered deer to reach a more mature age, I for one am tired of yearling bucks being shot.

    I am also in favor of Region A cutting back on the number of allowed doe’s to try to increase the deer population.

  • Michael Boswell

    Turkey: I have no objections to the proposed turkey season regulation changes, and actually like the idea of the week long January season. With my schedule I rarely get out more than a couple of days a year to hunt turkeys and a few extra days for the opportunity would be welcomed.
    Deer: I am for antler restrictions statewide although I think it would be better utilized in region A and for all antlered deer taken by hunters not carrying a youth license. I have almost a thousand acres in Alleghany County and 40 in Howard County. Bucks older than 1.5 years old with three or more points on one side are rarely seen on the 1000 acre property, where 2-5 year old 8 points or better are regularly seen and taken on the 40 acre piece. The western counties have a serious deer herd issue and the population has steadily decreased in the last ten years. On the property in Alleghany County I have personally gone from seeing 60+ deer a day during a week of gun season to maybe ten during that whole week. What I do see in large numbers now are bears and coyotes.
    Bear: Eliminating the requirement that bear hunting permittees and subpermittees maintain visual contact while bear hunting is a good idea. In my opinion forcing a group to stay within visual contact of each other has to be one of the most ridiculous hunting regulations in Maryland. I’ll be happy if the regulation is changed and I am lucky enough o actually draw a tag…. I disagree with the other proposed bear changes since it doesn’t do anything to actually change how the bear season is actually set up. I disagree how hunters from the western counties have a better chance of drawing tags just because they live in those counties. I live in central Maryland but own 1000 acres in Alleghany County and have less a chance of drawing a bear tag.

    I have what I feel is a better way to manage the Maryland bear population. I would let every Maryland resident purchase a bear tag along with their license for 20-30 extra dollars. I would leave the quota phone line in place although allow for a lot more bears to be taken. That way if I am archery hunting deer and a bear walks by I can legally take that bear as long as the years bear quota has not been reached. It will be the hunter’s responsibility to know if the bear season is closed yet. With today’s technology it would not be difficult to know before each hunt if the bear season is still open. I am sure the state would pull in a lot more money from license sales to and let’s be honest; that’s all Maryland is about anyway.

  • Bill F

    Maryland needs to get on board with point restrictions proposed if they want to continue to sell hunting licenses. The state continues to timber our state lands, taking away what food source the wildlife has. Good cover does not help without a food sourse to sustain wildlife.

    No way on January turkey season. Baiting will be out of hand. lets not use our wildlife to write sitations like bear hunting has done.


  • bf

    lets not stop at antler point restrictions. lets keep moving towards better deer quality . We need to protect what deer we still have in Maryland.

  • Scott Poe

    Please open Sunday hunting for Hunt Club leased Chesapeake Forestry lands. Leased Chesapeake Forrest land is already posted “No hunting except by permit.” No one from the general public should be on these lands. I understand (and agree) that places where the general public and hunters share the resources (Wye Island for example) should remain closed to Sunday hunting. The leased lands are posted and are already off limits to the general public.

  • Richard A. Seaman

    I very much dislike using the 18th of April as the opening date for spring turkey season! The former formula- the 3rd Monday of April was much more suitable, could that former date be reconsidered ?

  • jr

    I would like to know how it possible that the DNR want’s to put restrictions on deer when the DNR is hiring out siders to come into Maryland go into area’s like soldier’s delight and shoot 30 some deer in the middle of march while the deer are still pregnant, in the middle of the night, instead of letting the hunter’s have a longer rifle or muzzle loader season. Then when some one kills a deer illegally the DNR is ready to hand out fines and post names on the nrp blotter. hhmmmmmmmmmmmmm