The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that hunters harvested 21,073 deer during the early portion of the archery and muzzleloader seasons.
The harvest represents a 12 percent increase from last year’s harvest of 18,839 deer for the same period. More favorable hunting conditions this year contributed to the increased harvest.
The two-month harvest included 11,869 deer taken during the archery season and 9,028 harvested during the October muzzleloader season. An additional 176 deer were reported during managed hunts. Hunters harvested 692 antlered and 681 antlerless sika deer as part of the total.
Hunters harvested 647 deer on Sundays that were open to archery hunting during the period, accounting for 6 percent of the total archery harvest.
The deer harvest was up 12.7 percent in Caroline, 8.6 percent in Kent, 13.3 percent in Queen Anne’s, 9.3 percent in Talbot, and 21 percent for whitetail and 13.1 percent for sika in Dorchester.
Turkey hunters reported taking 91 wild turkeys during the fall season that was open Oct. 26 through Nov. 3 in Maryland’s three westernmost counties. The harvest was slightly lower than the 97 turkeys reported last year. Harvest numbers for each county were: Allegany, 22; Garrett, 53; and Washington, 16.
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Anglers in the upper and middle Chesapeake Bay are jigging and trolling for success, paying attention to diving seagulls to locate fish, mostly along channel edges. The mouth of the Patapsco and Hart Miller Island are great places to look for striped bass suspended over channel edges or under birds. White, pearl, or chartreuse 6-inch plastics on half-ounce jig heads are a popular way to imitate young of the year menhaden. The mouth of the Chester River and shipping channel edges are also holding striped bass.
Pulling heavy inline weights in front of umbrella rigs is perhaps the best way to troll for these fish, which are holding close to the bottom. Swimshads and bucktails dressed with sassy shads in chartreuse or white are popular trailers.
White perch are providing good fishing over shell bottom in deeper areas at the mouths of tidal rivers and out in the bay. The Bay Bridge rock piles and structure are always a great place to fish for larger white perch this time of the year. Anglers are using bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm or dropper rigs with small plastic or metal jigs. Channel catfish are also being found in the lower sections of the tidal rivers and fishing on the bottom with cut bait or other favored baits is the way to catch them.
Right now, birds mark the way to fishing fun in the mid-Chesapeake with mostly 3-year-old striped bass with some larger 4- and 5-year fish showing up at times. Generally speaking, the 2-year-old striped bass have stopped feeding due to cold water temperatures and are hunkering down in deeper waters to sit out the winter months. Light-tackle jigging is good now in the lower sections of the tidal rivers and along the shipping channel edges out in the bay. Soft plastic 6-inch jigs in white, pearl or chartreuse are a popular choice, as are metal jigs in half-ounce to three-quarter ounce size.
Speckled trout can still be found along the eastern and western sides of the bay in deeper holes, but it’s hard to get them to bite due to cold water temperatures. This is a great time of the year to target blue catfish in the Sharptown area of the Nanticoke River. Fresh cut bait or items such as clam snouts work well, and channel edges are a good place to look for them.
On the freshwater scene, yellow perch fishing can be good for anglers using minnows under a slip bobber along steep shoreline edges. Crappie are holding near deep structure and bridge structure and can be caught with small minnows or jigs under a slip bobber. Chain pickerel are holding near shorelines, near fallen treetops and sunken wood.
In the mountains, trout fishermen visiting the catch-and-release and delayed harvest trout management waters are enjoying some peaceful fishing in this beautiful setting of late fall. Nymphs, streamers, and other various flies can offer productive fishing for trout.
Fishing for smallmouth bass and walleyes in the upper Potomac River is good now. The largest smallmouth bass tend to be the most active and walleye love cold water. Tubes, jigs, and small crankbaits are good choices. This time of the year is also a great time to do a float trip down the section from Cumberland to Paw-Paw and enjoy good fishing and beautiful scenery.
On the Atlantic Coast, the southbound migration of striped bass is underway and has advanced as far as New Jersey. They are on their way and surf fishermen and those that will be trolling along nearshore shoals are anxiously awaiting their arrival. Sea bass at the wreck and reef sites tend to be moving to deeper areas. Catches have been good but limit catches are not as common as they were. Triggerfish along with a few bluefish and flounder are also mixing in with catches. Some anglers are starting to target tautog and are doing well.
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Duck blind know-it-all
Fifty-nine million American women alive today participated in Girl Scouts growing up.