Some cooler temperatures have finally arrived just in time to get ready for the dove, resident geese, and bowhunting seasons. Teal season is also coming soon.

Bag limits, season dates, and shooting hours can be found in the 2019-2020 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping, produced by the Department of Natural Resources.

“With the opening of dove season right around the corner, Maryland hunters are gearing up for the start of the migratory game bird hunting season,” said Paul Peditto, director of the DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Division. “With all the excellent hunting opportunities Maryland has to offer, we’d like to encourage our sportsmen and women to introduce a young person to the sights and sounds of a day afield. We wish all hunters a safe and successful year.”

Some season dates are as follows:

Dove, split season: Sept. 2-Oct. 19, Oct. 26–Nov. 29, Dec. 21-Jan. 10.

Woodcock, split season: Oct. 24-Nov. 29, Jan. 11–25.

Early resident Canada goose season: Eastern zone: Sept. 2–14; Western zone: Sept. 2–25. Hunters are allowed to use shotguns capable of holding more than three shot shells. Shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.

Teal, September season: Sept. 16–30. Shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit is six.

All migratory bird hunters, including landowners who are license-exempt, must purchase a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp/Harvest Information Program Permit and possess the printed receipt while hunting. All waterfowl hunters, ages 16 and older, must possess a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp). Licenses, permits, and stamps can be purchased online, by phone at 855-855-3906, at a department service center, or any of 250 sport license agents.

Official shooting hours begin 30 minutes before sunrise and end at sunset for all early migratory game bird hunting seasons, except for mourning doves during the first season segment, when shooting hours are from noon to sunset, and as noted above for the September resident Canada goose seasons.

Hunters are encouraged to report banded migratory game birds online. After reporting the banded bird, hunters will receive a certificate of appreciation that includes all known biological information on the bird they harvested.

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Trapper know-how

Maryland’s DNR is holding a free trapper education class Sept. 21 at the Casselman Valley Sportsman Club in Grantsville. The class runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Anyone who wishes to obtain a permit to trap furbearers must first earn a certificate of trapper education. To pass this course and receive a certification card, participants must:

Bring the completed Maryland Trapper Education Workbook to class for instructor review; participate in trap handling/field exercises; and pass a 50-question written test with a score of at least percent.

Participants under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Online registration is required by Sept. 13.

More information about the Trapper Education Program, along with a copy of the Maryland Trapper Education Workbook, is available online. Additional questions can be referred to the western regional Wildlife and Heritage Service office at 301-777-2136.

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Fishing report

Chesapeake Bay Bridge structure, the Love Point rocks, Swan Point, and the Triple Buoys area are all holding striped bass. Keepers are generally coming aboard early in the morning. Live-lining spot or white perch continues to be an effective method to fish for stripers with a good running tide a helpful condition. Rockfish are holding in less than 20 feet of water.

Jigging around the Bay Bridge pylons or the rips at Love Point continue to produce fish. Soft plastic jigs in ½-ounce to 1-ounce sizes are good depending on water depth and the strength of the tide. Skirted jigs can be an asset and 6-inch plastic bodies in pearl, white, or with a little chartreuse blended in work well. A little menhaden paste smeared on the plastic bodies can add to the attraction as does dipping the tail end in garlic scent.

Anglers are also having some luck live-lining at Thomas Point Light, Bloody Point, and the Hill. Spot can be found in many of the shallower areas in the bay and tidal rivers by bottom fishing with pieces of bloodworm.

Some anglers have switched their focus to schools of Spanish mackerel that are everywhere in the middle Chesapeake chasing bay anchovies. A fun way to catch them is to cast small heavy metal lures, let them sink a bit, and then reel as fast as you can. Another way to catch them is to troll small Drone and Clark spoons behind inline weights and #1 planers.

Fishing for white perch continues to be good in a variety of locations in the Chesapeake and nearby tidal rivers. Those include shoal areas near Swan Point, the 7 and 9 Foot Knolls, the mouth of the Magothy River, the Chester River and the west side of the Bay Bridge. In all of these areas, the depths are less than 20 feet and bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm will draw them.

A few cobia are being caught between the Middle Grounds and the Target Ship. According to the DNR, most anglers are sight fishing and casting live eels to fish when they are spotted.

Recreational crabbers are reporting that the largest crabs are being caught in water depths of 10 feet or better. They are also reporting that crabs can be felt dropping off trotlines as they approach the surface, making collapsible crab traps a viable option. Razor clams and chicken necks are the two most common baits being used.

On the freshwater scene, largemouth bass are feeling the heat, so they’re mostly feeding at night in the shallower areas that contain grass that small baitfish use to hide. It’s best to get out on the water at dawn and target shallow and grassy areas with buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastics. Northern snakeheads will also be found lurking in thick grassy areas and many anglers are now targeting them.

On the Atlantic Coast, Spanish mackerel are biting at the Great Gull, Little Gull, and Fenwick shoals. King mackerel are also part of the mix. Anglers are also catching some big cobia by casting live eels.

The state record for mahi mahi was broken again. Three weeks ago, a 72.8-pound dorado was brought to the Ocean City scales. Last week, while fishing in the Poor Girls Tournament out of Ocean City, Kristy Frashure caught a 74.8-pound dolphinfish to set a new state record. At the canyons, white and blue marlin are being caught along with a few yellowfin and bigeye tuna and wahoo and dorado.

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Duck blind know-it-all

Robert G. Heft designed the current United States 50-star flag as a high school project in Lancaster, Ohio when he was 17 years old. He initially got a B- for his project.

Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at cknauss@stardem.com

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