We need your help. Our sister refuge Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (in Rock Hall, Maryland) is in danger of closing due to lack of funds needed to hire a manager. The nonprofit Friends of Eastern Neck have been helping to fill the labor void at the refuge, but if funding for a new manager does not come soon, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has said they could close the refuge.
Closing would impact wildlife protection, habitat and food management, and recreational access for birders, photographers, families, school groups, hunters, anglers, and the volunteers. It would also impact tourism dollars in local towns.
We need all citizens to write an email to Scott Kahan, Northeast Regional Chief in the National Wildlife Refuge System, urging that they hire a new manager – visit our web page for details on sending an email. firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com).
U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, as well as U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1) https://harris.house.gov/contact/email have offered their support for hiring a new manager. If you live in Maryland, we would appreciate you emailing them about this issue and tagging them in social media using information on our web page. We greatly appreciate any help you can provide to raise awareness and increase the response from citizens supporting the refuge
Please visit Friends of Blackwater Water and Eastern Neck for links
MDWFA sent a letter to Chief Scott Kahan, Chief of National Refuge System urging replacement of on-site Refuge Manager as thousands of wintering waterfowl are dependent on historical and traditional management of Eastern Neck N.W.F.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!!
It is with great sadness that the MDWFA has learned of the passing of Jack “Doc” Scanlon on Wednesday night. Doc was a true gentleman and an avid hunter, fisherman and dog trainer.
Doc was a Lifetime member of the MDWFA and a volunteer to countless other organizations. Doc served as the Dorchester county rep for the MDWFA for many years. We offer our condolences to his wife Kathy and his family.
John W. Scanlon, Jr. MD, 75, of Cambridge passed away on Wednesday evening November 5, 2014 at his home. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014 at Zion United Methodist Church in Cambridge with Rev. William Davis officiating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. In lieu flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Dorchester Center for the Arts, 321 High Street, Cambridge, MD 21613 or to the Stripers Forever, P.O. Box 2781, South Portland, ME, 04116-2781.
Congratulations Quinn, owned by Butch Chambers and Walter Britt and handled by Butch for wining this year’s event!
Judges Jeff Reibling and Larry Hindman did a great job setting up challenging tests utilizing land, water and ducks. This was the 6th annual Championship event.
Twenty one dogs entered and seven were finalists. The winner was Quinn, owned by Butch Chambers and Walter Britt and handled by Butch. In addition to the trophy, Quinn won “The Mayors Trophy” a perpetual award that the winner keeps until the next Championship.
A special thanks to Milly Welsh and Charlie Hayden for the use of their wonderful property and to Tudor Farm for the donation of the ducks for the event. Thanks also to Tony Hunt for being Chairman and thanks to all who worked hard to put on the this Championship.
The finalists are Silverbrook’s Life of Brian – owned by Vicki Pepper and Larry Housman, handled by Larry
Della – owned and handled by Tony Hunt
Gabe – owned and handled by Jack Scanlon
Ruger – owned and handled by Andy Collins
Buffet – owned and handled by Frank Durham
Dixie – owned and handled by Frank Durham
MDWFA, the voice of waterfowlers in Maryland, wishes to thank everyone who helped with this event.