It is Wood duck box time!

Woodduck Box_3_2016Spring is coming and it is time to maintain or build new wood duck boxes. MDWFA has directions and plans for you on how to build and install your wood duck boxes and we sell predator guards for protecting them.

Our own Aaron Ward has made instruction on how to build the nesting boxes.

Here is another  article on how to hang the boxes with the predator guards.

If you need to buy Predator guards you can from our web store at this link. MDWFA would like to thank everyone that participates in doing this work and making waterfowling better in this state, one duck as a time.


Maryland Wood Duck Initiative Hatch levels

Re-posted from their newsletter.

“A Total Wetlands Experience

February, 2017 Activity Report

                         2016 Hatch Now Expected to Approximate 2014-2015 Levels

Preliminary indications based on ~75% data collection from ~1,800 boxes suggest Maryland public lands wood duck production will be now be comparable to recent years in the 7,500-7,600 instead of exceeding 8,000 ducklings. Several of the larger sites appear to be down moderately instead of modestly and the extent of the gain at Jug Bay may not be as high as thought.  Some unexpected predation occurred at another site where the results of active nests were effectively overrated initially – high water permitted a surge in snake predation.

With a renewed effort on admin, reporting and volunteer recruitment as time now permits, I have also reconciled prior year’s production reports while still chasing 2016 nesting results. In some cases, where we estimated the hatch on partial data or by extrapolating prior year data, the actual results have come in lower than projected.  There may be overly conservative net result but I’m trying to honor the actual data in hand despite knowing that these results are probably somewhat understated. A full assessment will be available by the end of March when 4-5 larger projects will be finished.

Field activity on new sites is and has been robust. Box numbers are not large by site but MWDI expects to have more than 120 sites in 2017 up from 90 just a couple of years ago. Several Eagle Scout projects have been completed. Calvert County has seen a surge in dedicated volunteerism and a commitment by the County Parks office (more on these project specifics in the annual report). PG Park Rangers have added a few new sites. The Maryland DNR office responsbile for wetland restoration of certain forest properties has added a few projects. Certain environmental remediation sites across the state have included modest box programs (6) and the Wellington DNR field office has initiated 3 projects. Functional box totals will be up but not materially given the limited nature of these new sites although project diversity is way up!

There is a continuing issue with certain sites getting them managed. Recently, the list has been significantly reduced but MWDI will begin to drop sites this season from ongoing reporting. Use of some type of index may be more relevant to assessing annual statewide production and more analysis will be conducted once this year’s report is concluded.

The annual lumber order and box cut day have been completed with more than 170 boxes for both public and private use involved. Continuing kudos to the Safari Club Chesapeake Chapter, Patuxent State Park, Dupont’s Chesapeake Farms and the Discovery Channel for funding this year’s wood needs. DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service continues with their critical predator guard funding support among other supplies provided and website services.

Private program interest has not abated and the contribution to the Maryland population continues to rise. Once again, the Akridge program managed by Clay Robinson in Talbot Co. took top honors generating over 800 ducklings!!  Only PG’s Patuxent Park – Jug Bay beat them for statewide honors. The competition and bragging rights are certainly ”duckling productive” as Jug Bay added 25 boxes this past year.

Contact us to participate – either as a volunteer on an existing site or bring us a new public site.

Thank you for your consideration. And thank you to the volunteers who make these results possible!

2016 Meet, Greet and Swap at the Talbot Rod and Gun Club

The Maryland Waterfowlers Association proudly announces its 2016 Meet, Greet and Swap at the Talbot Rod and Gun Club. This event is open to the general public and free of charge so please come on out to become better acquainted with our organization and buy, swap and/or sell some outdoor sporting gear!

This event is also being held in conjunction with MD DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service hunter safety classes held at the club that day.

To help introduce the new hunters to waterfowl hunting MDWFA will be providing youth hunters with calls, calling and shooting lessons after they have complete their last phase of hunter safety program.

When: Saturday August 13, 2016 Event begins @ 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM

Where: Talbot Rod & Gun Club, 26 Chapel Road Easton, Maryland 21601

410-822-4442 Club website:

What: Tables are available for attendee’s to sell their hunting, fishing and shooting gear under the Club’s Pavilion

Who: Please contact Steve Myers to reserve table:

Disclaimer: (MDWFA nor Talbot Rod & Gun Club are not responsible for any lost or stolen merchandize and all transactions and actions are the sole responsibility of the parties involved.)

Balto. Co. Bill 42-16 Partial Success

MDWFA staff members Greg Tracey and Paul Donhauser attended the Baltimore County Council legislative session on July 5, 2016 concerning Bill 42-16, which, in its original form (a) prohibits possession of firearms and all knives on County property, and (b) removes the current exemption for “dogs being used or trained for hunting” to the County’s law requiring that dogs be leashed on County property.

The bill passed last night on a vote of 4-3, with Councilmembers Kach, Crandell, and Marks voting against it (in our favor). Prior to its passing, the amendment clarifying “dangerous weapons” (as opposed to unilaterally prohibiting ALL knives) and exempting hunters from the firearms prohibition was adopted. Another amendment was introduced by Councilman Kach to exempt Handgun Wear & Carry permit holders from the firearms prohibition, which did not pass (Councilmembers Kach, Crandell, and Marks voted in favor of the amendment). An amendment concerning the hunting dogs exemption was not introduced or considered.

What it means: the County claims firearm possession in County parks has been illegal since 1986 per executive order from the Parks & Recreation Director and that hunters who have been bringing firearms into County parks since that time have been doing so illegally. The passing of this bill now legitimizes/legalizes a hunter exemption to the that prohibition. This is a win that the MDWFA was instrumental in obtaining. However, we lost on the issue of exempting “dogs who are being used or trained for hunting” from the County’s leash laws. Current law (for the next 45 days) is that dogs being used or trained for hunting are exempt from the law requiring dogs be leashed on County property. The passing of this bill removes that exemption.

Other notables: Four individuals on behalf of the American Kennel Club attended and supported MDWFA’s position.

What’s next: The bill is still pending the County Executive’s signature before it is signed into law. MDWFA will contact his office with the AKC delegates about requesting his veto on the bill until the retriever exemption is reinstated, though the bill was introduced at his request so that would be a long shot. Our Baltimore County members are encouraged to contact him as well.

MDWFA staff spoke with the Director of Parks & Recreation, Barry Williams, about obtaining a leash law exemption for certain parks. He was amenable to this proposal. MDWFA staff is working with the AKC representatives to schedule a meeting with Director Williams about which parks would be allowed to be excepted, which will hopefully occur in the next three weeks. Any members who use Baltimore County parks for this purpose are encouraged to contact MDWFA staff to advise which parks are important to them to use so that those properties can be proposed at the meeting.

All in all, a 50% win for Maryland Waterfowlers and the MDWFA will continue to work with the County to protect waterfowlers’ interests.

Baltimore Co., Possible ban on taking gun to boat ramps reversed.

by Brian Cain

Greg Tracey, Paul Donhauser, and I attended the Baltimore County Council meeting on Tuesday to address Bill 42-16 which would have made it illegal for anyone to possess firearms or knives on Baltimore Co. parks or property and subject such weapons to confiscation. The bill would also not allow retriever dog training on county property or parks. We thought the bill was poorly written and too broad and would hurt those stakeholders that have contributed so much in way of licenses etc.

The council agreed that the bill was hastily written and amended it on the spot to allow a licensed hunter to transport cased weapons at boat ramps, etc. during hunting seasons. They are also going to amend the bill to outlaw only weapon type knives and not pen knives and fillet knives. As was pointed out by the council, it has ALWAYS been illegal to have guns on county park property even though a blind eye was turned to allow us to hunt, now it will be totally LEGAL to have our guns on property with boat ramps. They are also going to address the hunting dog issue. We are waiting to read all of the amendments before signing off on them. Councilman Wade Koch was definitely on our side as was another councilman that I don’t know.

Barry Williams, the Director of Baltimore County Parks and Recreation followed us out of the room to speak with us and was very amenable to our proposed changes. I spoke with him on the Baltimore County land offshore waterfowl hunting and, again, explained that it’s never been a safety issue and the only place we had any problem was at Cox’s Point. I know the land is tied up in riparian licensing for another 2 years (I think) and proposed that we, MDWFA, submit a map to him of the properties we would like turned back on and he agreed that he would entertain such an exercise. So, it looks much more positive that we may get Baltimore Co property turned back on.

So, all in all it was a double win for MDWFA yesterday at the County Council meeting. The vote on the Bill is July 5th and I will be out of state but Greg and Paul will monitor the amendments.

Wood Duck Box inspections

Woodduck Box_1_2016
2 Wood Duck eggs on left, 3 Merganser eggs on right

by Aaron Ward

Greetings from the Lower Shore. Just in time for the 2016 nesting season, MDWFA & Maryland Wood Duck Initiative volunteers have concluded Wood Duck box inspections in Worcester County for the 2015 nesting season.

Woodduck Box_4_2016

Woodduck Box_3_2016
Everyone can get involved!….even Boo (the dog)

The Scope: In Worcester County volunteers manage approximately 125 boxes on public lands. Inspections take between 14-20 hours per year (for one person) to conclude.

The Numbers: Overall ducks hatched were slightly lower (41 eggs) from 2014, but the hatched percentage (74%) was up 1% over 2014 (73%) and up 12% over 2013 (62%). The average number of eggs per nest was 9.

The Conclusion: Feel good about the contribution we are making to keep Wood Ducks a successful species in Maryland. With our efforts, we are making it possible for hens to have a safe place to nest & produce more ducklings. Once they leave the nest, it’s totally up to her & the environment. Hopefully more ducks produced will result in more hens returning in coming years!

Last box of the day!
Last box of the day!

If you haven’t already volunteered in your local area & would like to assist in the cooperative Wood Duck project, please contact me. I’d love to share my experience with you and fuel your fire to keep them squealing through the trees for generations to come!

2015 Maryland Retriever Gundog Championship

Dave Mellender and Smoke
Dave Mellender and Smoke

It is with great pleasure the MARYLAND WATERFOWLERS ASSOCIATION announces the winner of the annual MARYLAND RETRIEVER GUNDOG CHAMPIONSHIP for 2015. This stake was open to all canine breeds and handlers and you did not have to be a member of MDWFA to enter. This stake determined the best gundog in Maryland for 2015.

The 2015 MDWFA Gundog Championship winner is Smoke owned by Dave Mellender from Nokesville, VA. A job well done.

Congratulations to all who participated in the 2015 MDWFA Maryland Gundog Championship. Kudus to event chairman Butch Chambers for organizing the event. Also a big thanks to the event judges Tony Hunt and Mike Kates; Guns: Jerry Harris and the Mayor; Bird throwers Tate Chambers and Mike Galante; and last but not least, our good friend Marston Jones who allowed the MDWFA to hold the event on his grounds. Also thanks to Tudor Farms for donating the captive-reared mallards used in the event.

Thanks to all who participated, judged and worked at the event. We are looking forward to next years event so train those dogs and bring them on.. because you and your hound just might be the 2016 MDWFA Maryland Gundog Champion!!