Over the past century, waterfowl hunters have helped create and conserve millions of acres of wetland habitat that not only provide places for a wide diversity of wildlife to thrive, but also help in flood control and water purification efforts, and create significant economic stimulus for rural communities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to celebrate these hunters’ remarkable achievements and our unique American hunting heritage with a permanent change to the Federal Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the Duck Stamp.

“Hunters and anglers are the backbone of American conservation, and the Duck Stamp is one of the many ways they contribute to conserving America’s waterfowl and wetlands throughout the country,” Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a press release.

The Federal Duck Stamp has been one of America’s most effective and creative conservation tools for over 80 years. While waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older are required to purchase a stamp each hunting season, anyone can buy one and contribute to conservation. Some 1.5 million stamps are sold each year, and as of 2019, Federal Duck Stamps have generated more than $1.1 billion for the preservation of more than 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States. A current Federal Duck Stamp is also a free pass into any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.

In addition to being the only domestic conservation revenue stamp, the Federal Duck Stamp is unique in the way it is created. Each year, the service holds the only juried art competition sponsored by the federal government to select the stamp design.

The service’s proposal would require entries beginning in the 2020 contest to include one or more visual elements that reflect the theme “celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage.” They must also adhere to existing contest regulations that require a live portrayal of eligible waterfowl species for the year.

The service has also proposed that all contest judges must have an understanding and appreciation of America’s waterfowl hunting heritage and recognize objects related to waterfowl hunting. Public comment on the proposed rule will be considered for 45 days, beginning with rule publication in the Federal Register (regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0105) and will include details on how to submit comments.

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BOW in Dorchester County

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program and The Lodge at Black Pearl are co-sponsoring a Beyond BOW From Field to Table workshop on Saturday, Feb. 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the lodge in Madison.

Larry Hindman of Yellowdog Retrievers, DNR staff, and Vicky Mullaney, owner/chef at The Lodge at Black Pearl will host the day afield and in the kitchen. The field portion of the workshop will cover basic waterfowl identification, species information and retriever demonstrations, as well as proper care and cleaning of waterfowl.

Participants will then head into the kitchen to learn tricks for cooking waterfowl. The cost is $130, which includes lunch and a copy of the Black Pearl Cookbook. Registration information is available on the DNR website.

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Showtime in Harrisburg

The Great American Outdoor Show is scheduled this year for Feb. 1-9 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. If you haven’t been there, it’s worth the trip, just a monstrous show with nine halls of guns, archery, fishing tackle, hunting equipment, boats and RVs. More than 400 outfitters and boat captains from around the globe will be on site with their brochures and to answer questions. Educational seminars, dock dog competitions, and kids casting contests are also part of the mix.

Be prepared for a long line if you get there when it starts but the line usually moves fairly fast. The show runs two Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and two Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the week the hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ticket information is available on the website (greatamericanoutdoorshow.org).

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Lions Club Sporting Clays

The 13th annual Greensboro Lions Club Sporting Clay Tournament is scheduled for Feb. 22 at Schrader’s Bridgetown Manor.

Registration and a European Start runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. with a barbecue chicken lunch beginning at 12:30 p.m. The entry fee is $75 per shooter or $400 per team (four shooters and a sponsor sign). A team plaque and cash prize will be awarded for the winning sponsored team. Cash prizes will also be awarded for tournament winners, including Top Gun, Ladies, and Juniors (under 16).

The preregistration deadline is Feb. 17. Checks should be made payable to the Greensboro Lions Club and sent to Greensboro Lions Club, Box 429, Greensboro, MD 21639.

Tournament organizers are seeking station sponsors: $100 for a station sign, name in the brochure, and a thank you in Caroline Review. More information is available by calling Buddy Bishop at 410-924-0478 or Bill Satterfield at 410-829-7416.

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Fishing Report

Crappie are biting in freshwater ponds and tributaries with pink, orange, yellow, and chartreuse shad darts enticing them. They can be fished in tandem with small jigs and twister tails, panfish assassins, Bobby Garlands, and similar plastics. A little squirt of anise flavored scent seems to help as well. A minnow under a bobber will work, including the fake ones like Gulp! one-inchers.

Pickerel have been biting as well. I had some luck recently with a #1 gold Mepp’s Anglia casting upstream at the end of an ebb tide with a couple fish over 20 inches. I saw some yellow perch chasing after it too but they didn’t bite. This time of year the perch typically hold deep around structure or channel edges, with the best action usually late in an outgoing tide and early in an incoming tide.

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Duck blind know-it-all

Caterpillars have as many as 4,000 muscles.

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

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