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January 30, 1998     Cape Gazette
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January 30, 1998

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State deer harvest numbers down from 1996-97 Fish, Game Council also discuss next waterfowl seasons Delaware wildlife officials still expect this year's deer harvest to be down by 8 percent to 9 percent. That was one of several interest- ing tidbits discussed Tuesday, Jan. 27, during the Delaware Advisory Council on Fish and Game. In addition to being briefed on the deer harvest, hunters heard about potential waterfowl season dates and heard Delaware Wildlife Administrator Lloyd Alexander say that federal efforts to reduce snow geese populations could open the door for much less restrictive seasons next year. Ken Reynolds of Delaware's Division of Fish and Wildlife said that this is expected to be a rarity in Delaware - the first year in 13 seasons that the deer kill has de- clined. Reynolds gave these fig- ures, some of which are not com- plete: November shotgun season- Many hunters wait all year for this season. 1997 figures, perhaps be- cause of bad early season weather, were off by 7 percent, declining to 5,780 deer from a figure of 6,228. Archery season. The archery season was up slightly last year, increasing to 810 in 1997, almost the same as the 786 in the previ- ous year. October muzzleloader. This was up in 1997, showing the most significant percent of increase of any deer season, rising from 1,219 to 1,413. December antlerless. This sea- son declined from 1996, dropping from 474 deer to only 267. January shotgun season also declined, but these figures are still being tabulated. They. dropped OUTDOORS Michael Short from 776 to 317. Youth hunt. This is not a ma- jor hunt, although it's a nice chance for young hunters to get involved in the sport. It was down to 28 from 34 a year earlier. The state has tried to reduce its deer population slightly and the drop in harvest figures is not be- lieved to be a problem. Reynolds also gave the follow- ing figures for roadkill deer in Delaware, considered a signifi- cant problem because of the high deer population. In 1997, the number of deer killed on Sussex county roads was 163. Since 1994, the figures for Sussex County roads are 148 in 1994, 189 in 1995, 203 in 1996 and 163 last year. Snow goose changes.'? Alexander said at the Delaware Advisory Council on Fish and Game meeting that Delaware could see major easing of its snow goose restrictions next year. That's because massive damage to northern breeding grounds has caused a call for a reduction of perhaps 50 percent in snow goose populations before they cause fur- ther ecological damage. TIDES Indian River Rchoboth Roosevelt Oak Date l Inlet Beach Inlet Orchard 1/301 1/31 2/4  2/51 I "They are looking at all the pos- sibilities," according to Alexan- der. All the possibilities mean po- tentially using unplugged guns, allowing hunters to hunt until just after sunset (traditionally when ninny geese return from afternoon flights), using electronic calls or even live decoys. "I really think there will be a change," be said. Potential hunting seasons Alexander also discussed poten- tial seasons, none of which are set yeL Deer seasons being suggested include special antlerless from Dec. 14 to 19, shotgun season Nov. 13-21; and Jan. 18-23; and archery Sept. 1-Oct. I0, OcL 19- Nov. 12, Nov. 23-Dec. 12, Dec. 21-Jan. 16 and Jan. 28-30. Snow goose seasons could be extended well beyond the tradi- tional winter-time shooting. There is no thought being given to a Canada goose season beyond the present season for resident geese, although goose numbers are showing significant increases af- ter a good breeding year and pro- tection from hunting. Black duck regulations must be designed to produce a limited kill, meaning hunters could see tighter black duck regulations next season. But overall, duck numbers are outstanding and should continue to be healthy. Hunters should be very pleased with next seasons' bag limits for ducks and snow geese, with the possible exception of black duck limits. Alternatives being considered for duck season are a "liberal" season of 60 days, similar to the current season; a moderate season of 45 days, such as the 1996 sea- son; or a far less likely conserva- tive scenario of 30 days, which is similar to that of 1993. Alexander said that the number of ducks in Delaware was actually kept lower this year than expect- ed. Although numbers were high, he said that mild weather actually meant many ducks stayed well to the north and never came this far south. Still a few fish about R & R Sports Center reports a world record tautog caught this week by Tony Monica. (See relat- ed story on the New Jersey's fish- erman's record catch.) R & R Sports Center also re- ports that small striped bass action is still excellent on the Cape Hen- lopen pier using rattle traps and mirrolures. White and yellow perch action is so-so. Can't we just be friends? The new Friends of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge met on Jan. 24. Joyce Lindsay, volunteer coordinator of the refuge, said the friends group wants to enhance what is already at the refuge. Continued on page 67 Est. 1958 Electrical Contractor L.P.I. Cert. 959 645-8457 645-9O6O 1-800-610-8457 CERTIFIED LIGHTNING PROTECTION P.O. Box 252, Lewes, DE 19958 Buy A Lift Pass Saowmskiag R.tals (Ski & Saowboard) Lodgiag Childr.'s C.tor Lossoas Night Skiiag (7 Nights A Week) The Ski Uberty ski resort is convenient 180 minutes ride from Delaware's Cape (8 miles west of Gettysburg, PA) (717) 642-8282