Once again, it has come the time of year when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources(DNR) releases the new hunting regulations for the up coming hunting seasons. A lot of new laws were proposed back in the early spring and they had several public meetings and a comment period to get public opinion on the proposed rule changes. Now, in July we have what in fact will become new rules when you buy your new hunting license soon and plan your fall and winter hunting trips.
A few notable rule changes they will likely effect many of us either positively or negatively depending on your own personal opinion are below. I would like to add, none of these make me upset or surprise me, as I felt many of these changes have been coming for the last few years, it just took longer than I expected. All of these new rule changes can be viewed here: Final Selected 2014 - 2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations.
1. They passed new laws that state if you are caught violating a law that rather than just a fine, they now have set time frames for suspending your license. Many of these are 1 year, but depending on the violation and it's seriousness depends on the length of suspension. Plus view the link above and the violation lists and suspension time frames can found on pages 2 - 3.
2. A new winter turkey season has been added in January which will be viewed as an either sex (Gobbler or Hen) season like the fall season. They also moved the fall season to before the the Junior Deer hunting weekend.
3. They have made a point restriction on all bucks, they must have 3 points 1 inch or longer on both sides if both main beams are present. Meaning if one side is totally busted off, they must just have 3 points 1 inch or longer on side that a main beam is present. This has been coming and the goal is to improve the size and age of bucks which are harvested. This new rule will eliminate the harvest of yearling bucks and make the hunting experience better for many as your chance of seeing a bigger buck will improve in coming years.
4. They have made it so you can harvest 1 buck in each of the seasons and ONLY 1 bonus buck in Region B. Meaning in region A you are reduced to your standard harvest, no bonus deer. In region B you will be able to take no more than a total of 4 antlered deer, but before you could take that bonus deer the 2 antler-less deer must be harvested as it has been for a number of years. This was done to reduce the number of antlered deer harvested each year and hopefully increase the number of antler-less deer harvested each year.
5. They increased the Sika deer harvest from 2 per season to 3 per season with only 1 allowed to be antlered. This was done because recent surveys have shown the population is healthy and growing with a 80% juvenile survival rate. This is great news for those of us who get an opportunity to get to the Eastern Shore to do some Sika deer hunting.
Those are the major rule changes, but there are a number of other rule changes that may effect you so I strongly encourage everyone to view the link at the top of this post and/or read the new hunting and trapping regulation book carefully when it is released. I know that other hunting and trapping rules changed I only listed the ones I felt were major to the general population, but always read all the rules and laws before going hunting or trapping to ensure you are following the rules.
This means Archery season is slated to start September 5th 2014, that is only 66 days from now. That should give everyone something to look forward to and that means if you have not already, it's time to start shooting your bow to get in shape and on target!
What's your thoughts on the new hunting regulations? Love to hear some feedback from our readers!