Junior Deer Hunting Days in November

To encourage and introduce youth to the sporting tradition of deer hunting, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has set Nov. 16 and 17 as Junior Deer Hunting Days. On Nov. 16, youth can hunt on private and designated public land in all counties. On Nov. 17, the hunt is on private land only in all counties except Baltimore, Howard and Prince George’s counties. In Allegany, Cecil, Garrett. St. Mary’s and Washington counties, the hunt is also open on designated public lands on Nov. 17. Hunters 16 years old or younger who possess a valid license may use air guns or firearms that meet department standards to hunt sika and white-tailed deer on these days. Youth must be accompanied by an adult, at least 21 years old, who holds a valid hunting license. For bag limits and other hunting regulations, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov.

Project FeederWatch underway

Backyard birders can participate in Project FeederWatch now through April 2. Anyone interested in birds can participate by counting the birds you see at or around your bird feeder, identify them and report your information. It’s a winter bird survey operated as a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. To learn more, visit www.feederwatch.org.

Striped bass index shows a below-average year

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ annual young-of-year striped bass survey reports that the 2019 juvenile striped bass index is 3.4, below the 66-year average of 11.6. The survey measures the annual spawning success of the state fish, commonly known as rockfish. Biologists collected more than 51,000 fish of 54 different species for this year’s survey, including 445 young-of-year striped bass. While the abundance of some important forage species like silversides, spot and menhaden increased in Maryland waters, the survey showed that white perch and yellow perch experienced below-average reproduction. Beginning in 2018, the department launched initiatives aimed at reducing striped bass mortality during the fishing season. Those measures included new regulations on size limits and mandatory circle hooks, plus an education campaign on safe catch-and-release practices that now includes an advisory system on optimal conditions for fishing.

— Susan Guynn

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