|TROT News - April 2003||Home | Back|
|April 2003||Electronic Edition||Number 141|
Montgomery County Update
Greetings to all you good horse folks out there !
It's time to bring you up to date on the County trails plans. We have done pretty well, having constructed about 15 miles of new trail in the past two years, all with volunteer labor. Most of the activity has been on the Seneca Trail and the Magruder Branch to Damascus; but Fairland, Northwest Branch, and Rachel Carson are being worked on too. Your TROT Newsletter editor has asked me to explain how new trails are born so I'll try to summarize. Remember that most of the County trails you enjoy are "informal" within parkland and on private property (with or without permission).
Formal trails are those managed and maintained by the County. To formalize a trail it must first become a legitimate project (Capital Improvement Program or CIP) with appropriate funding. Funding covers lots of staff time, mapping, surveyor work and bridge costs. It is not simply a "clean-up" of an existing trail although we try to retain portions of trail that are in good condition. Planning includes many staff walks designed to choose the best alignment . Staff includes Natural Resource people who look at quality of forest, endangered species of plants and animals, water quality people who look for erosion and most importantly, bridge sites. You should know that in the long run, bridges are a better solution to stream crossings than fords because the stream banks are thus protected from the impact of your horse's feet (and others !). Many hard-core trail users insist on "stepping stones" but there are lots of reasons a bridge is preferable---especially since they can be installed so easily with high tech materials. Other concerns are archaeological and historical sites near the trail. Destinations and neighborhood access are also part of the plans. Frequently, a pending subdivision nearby offers future population use as well as park dedication or Homeowners Open Space which can support a trail.
During the preliminary alignment phase, I seek input from user groups and my volunteer construction gang. Eventually a refined alignment is chosen and a workday is scheduled with the volunteer organizations. Some of you have already joined up. That's where the grunt work starts and I'm duly impressed. Parks have been buying materials and providing supervision. Montgomery County does not allow volunteers to work unsupervised; not just because of liability, but because we want the trail to conform to the careful planning put into it.
After the trail is constructed, trail amenities such as kiosks, parking, signage are provided. I'm a bit behind on that. The County has determined a specific sign plan which provides minimal, but clear, information at all entries or intersections of trail. In-between we are using the international system of blue blazes which you may have noticed. Although some trail users seem to not notice their surroundings, I'm always thinking of aesthetics and safety for you riders. A good trail is a pleasure to ride and should please you visually.
M-NCPPC welcomes you to join our growing bank of volunteers. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check into senecatrail.org for notices of upcoming workdays. I am working on my own database here for individual Parks.
There is another critical issue I'd like to bring forward : road crossings. Road crossings loom as the biggest challenge in the planning process. You can have all the trails you desire but the road problems will stop many. My suggestions is to form a TROT committee to lobby for special signals at grade or underpasses. The County has built 3 underpasses for trails with more suggested. Underpasses are costly, though, and the State and County road departments are not listening much. Would you like to get involved with this project? I have information from other jurisdictions worldwide which supports this.
Lastly I would like to appeal to TROT to take on more responsibility for trail work in this County. TROT has been dedicated to trail preservation for over 20 years, but in today's world preservation goes hand in hand with construction/maintenance. One cannot ask for more trails unless you are willing to participate in their creation and maintenance. Other user groups have banded together to achieve their goals and equestrians are not automatically considered. So join up! As Monty would say!
Thanks for listening to this lengthy update. Meanwhile, ride safely (and not like me who crashed last summer) …….
Naomi Manders, Trail Planner,
On the issue of Good Riding and Good Neighbors, we didn't hear from the specific land owner these articles addressed...we did, however, get a letter from another land owner, expressing their views on horseback riding, permission and their property. They asked to remain anonymous, and we respect their wishes.
Dear Trot News Editor,
We are not the owners of the land that has been written about in your past two newsletters. We do, however, own a significant parcel that we have given permission to equestrians to ride on in the past. We have now rescinded our permission to riders and wanted to let the general horse riding public know why.
We live on the outside edge of a Park that allows horseback riding on the trails within the park boundaries. As we, and several of our neighbors on the other side of us, ride into the park on trails that WE CONSTRUCTED AND MAINTAIN running across our property, we thought it would be gracious of us to allow other riders to use our trails to cut across as well. We are routinely approached by a number of newcomers to the area every year to ask if it's okay to ride our trails. Until this past year, people left us notes in our "guest book" that we leave in a weather protected box on both sides of our property, just to let us know who's riding in and out.
Starting last Fall, however, we started seeing strangers riding our trails who had never asked permission and were not registering in our guest book. These people rode our trails when the mud was a foot thick...creating ruts in our gloriously, tenderly created and cleared trails. They rode in the snow, they rode in the rain...our trails now have so much wash out that we will practically have to start over in order to ride them.
We always assumed that equestrians were educated about damage caused by riding when conditions of poor footing exist...not to mention the risk of hurting their horses and themselves. Apparently, they don't care about the land when it's not their property. When the sub-base of any land is damaged, it takes a long time to repair itself. We have ongoing conversations with the Park personnel about maintenance that is required when horses are ridden on trails with poor footing, i.e. muddy or wet conditions. Their job is to keep the trails in the Park rideable, as well as for use by joggers and hikers...they are now campaigning to close these trails to horses because of misuse by the riders.
Our solution has been to gate off the trails on our property, with padlocks. Now, these riders have made their own new trails roughly carved out around the gates. We are extremely tired of being treated discourteously by horse riders whose only goal is to ride in the woods and think this is their right.
The end result? We have rescinded all permission for anyone but the closest friends, who respect the environment to cross our property. The strangers keep coming through, though, and we are considering adding guard dogs to our property. What used to be a lovely existence in our equestrian home in a rural setting has slowly turned into a struggle to protect our property.
We urge all riders to realize that what they do, individually, affects all riders, as a group. How can they expect to preserve where they can ride if this is how they act. They may find that the only riding place they'll have in the future is an indoor ring at a facility they have to rent...because of their abuse of the land.– anonymous
In Howard County
And I Quote:"He who holds a carrot in his mouth to give to his horse earns the nickname "Nolips"
--Mr. Ed, the talking horse
"My horses are my friends, not my slaves."
-- Reiner Klimke
"A pony is a childhood dream, A horse is an adulthood treasure."
-- Rebecca Carroll
"When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age and you fall off, you splatter."
-– Roy Rogers
This Month's Recipe
Carrot Apple Oatmeal Treats3 carrots, chopped into small pieces
3 apples, cut into small pieces
cup of oatmeal
Drench cut-up carrots and apples in molasses
Roll molasses-covered carrots and apples in oats. Shake off excess and refrigerate.
CM Saddle Fitting, The Tack Room, By Chance Farm, and Hickory Knoll Farm
There are four events planned for April 26.
The events begin at 9 am at By Chance Farm, 9205 Bessie Clemson Rd, Union Bridge, MD. There is a $15.00 grounds fee and a negative Coggins is required.
A portion of the proceeds from all four events will be donated to the Therapeutic Riding Program. This is our way of saying thank you for the tireless work, patience, and devotion that the human and equine volunteers put forth each season.
The 4-H Silverado Striders will be selling food. Coffee, Tea, Soda, & Water will be provided at no charge. Participants can sign up for any event by calling 301-471-4325.
Keeping Weight on an Old Horse
by Carol Petree Iglehart (Thanks Carol!!!!)
One of the best ways to care for an old horse is to realize, ahead of time, that old age and its problems happen and make plans for them! Feeding an old horse almost always takes more time and money. Gone are the days when a bale over the fence took care of things. If the horse starts looking a little poor, don't just say to yourself, "He's just old, that's what they look like." Get a vet and a horse dentist to help. Weight loss can happen slowly or rapidly and is almost always related to the condition of the teeth. You might notice that the horse's chewing pattern has changed, he will move his jaw in a different way or his teeth might click together. He may drop wet chewed "cuds" of grass and hay on the ground, eat his hay more slowly and not get enough if fed in a group. He may have trouble picking food up or may drop a lot of it. Besides getting his teeth floated, his diet may be changed so he can take in more calories.
Switching to a softer, leafier second or third cutting hay may work for several years if he can still chew hay. Mixed group feeding makes this more difficult. Younger horses may eat up the high octane hay before the oldie has a chance to get it. Unless the oldie lives alone or in a separate paddock, extra time will be required to feed better hay, isolated from the others, while he finishes his richer hay. Then he can be fed the medium octane hay with the others in the group.
Another way to get higher octane hay into the oldie is to feed soaked alfalfa cubes. I always soak them with water to make them easy to chew, and then stir them to break up all lumps. I remove all lumps not completely softened and resoak with the next lot. Cold water soaking takes 2 hours or more, but very hot water softens them completely in 5-10 minutes. This makes them chewable, but not drinkable. I would never feed them dry. Each 50 lb bag of alfalfa cubes costs more than a 50 lb bale, but is more economical and convenient. It is easy to pick up a bag, put it into your trunk, and store in a trash can. Each meal can be weighed or carefully measured by volume to ensure a consistent amount is fed. With cubes, there is no waste from leaf shatter as there would be with a real bale.
Alfalfa cubes are very dry, and store well. I have never had a problem with mold. They store much longer than any other pelleted commercial feed, and you can use them as a back up to mix with other complete feeds to stretch your supplies when the weather is bad and you haven't been able to get to the store. They are, however, more trouble than just scooping up a complete feed and serving it.
Loose, chopped hay baled in a plastic bale can also be nutritious, but has longer stems which some old horses cannot handle. It also has a lot of waste, even if fed in a tub, and the slightest breeze can blow particles and chaff into the horse's face and nose. You may have to wet it to avoid these problems. Some of these chopped bales have much moisture, easily mold and don't store well.
Eventually, you may have to switch to a complete feed. This may be very gradual over a period of several years as his teeth wear out, or it may happen more rapidly. I believe it would be healthier for the horse to eat a hay or beet pulp based complete feed in addition to whatever hay he can eat, rather than to eat more sweet feed or grain. Be sure to read the feeding instructions carefully and do not overfeed at each meal or your horse may be at risk of colic. Wet the pellets with water and feed them in a large-diameter, smooth-surfaced tub at ground level. Water helps prevent choke and makes the feed easier to chew. The large-diameter tub slows the eating down a little, reducing the colic risk, and gives them more chew time. The smooth surface of the tub makes it easier to lick the platter clean and extends the chew time or in this case, the lick time. Towards the end of the meal the last bit of feed may pack into the edges of the tub. Add a little more water and scrape and stir with a spatula to make it soft enough to be all licked up.
Normally, easy keepers who are losing weight may still be easy keepers, they just need to take in more calories. They may do fine on a pleasure horse maintenance, hay-based pellet. If this doesn't provide enough calories, switch to a senior complete feed. Eventually, the oldie may reach a point where he can no longer pick up the wet pelleted feed. This is when he needs to learn to drink his food. Some horses learn this quickly, but others don't. They must think you are giving them dirty water, not wet food. My oldest horse had trouble with this transition. You would think that someone who had been a professional eater all his life would be motivated to figure it out quickly, but he didn't. He wasn't taking in much food and rapidly lost weight. I ended up feeding him with a large oral dose syringe that had the tip cut off. However, he immediately began putting back on weight and eventually figured out how to drink his food. If you can teach your old horse to drink completely dissolved slop ahead of time, it's easier. This is also a good way to rehydrate a trail horse or to get more water into a horse with an impaction colic. Whichever brand you choose, it must dissolve to a fine enough texture so there are no large pieces that would lodge in his esophagus.
The best way to keep this additional work from being discouraging is to get all of the physical materials to make the job easy. Once you have the routine down, it is easier. It will cost more for a horse to be completely dependant on senior feed. But the trade off is you don't have to buy and story hay or deal with the inconsistencies, dust and mold.
Subject: Tri-County Parkway Web Site Information
The proposed Tri-County Parkway and the (Bull Run) Battlefield Bypass have been hot topics of discussion of late. More information was promised since there has been little discussion of the Battlefield Bypass (not on County Transportation Plans) and not much recent information on the Tri-County Parkway.
The web site address for the Tri-County Parkway: www.virginiadot.org/projects/tcp.asp
To access the map with the Preliminary Alternatives after getting to the web site, go to the topic entitled "Resources." Under "Resources" go to "Updates." Under "Updates" go to the Map of General Study Area. The route labeled Alternative "E" is currently proposed to be a 6-lane road and will run right through Bull Run Regional Park.
VDOT has requested comments from the public. Input from the public will be used to help the study team narrow the solutions and further screen and refine the Preliminary Alternatives for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Now is our chance to let VDOT and our elected representatives know our concerns and suggestions. But, there isn't much time left. The Public Hearing for this road will be held during the 3rd quarter of 2003. After the Public Hearing the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will select a Preferred Alternative and recommend it for final approval to the Federal Highway Administration. Then the decision on where to build the road becomes final.
Please review the map and submit comments to Mr. Ken Wilkinson at email@example.com or at Ken.Wilkinson@VirginiaDOT.org or fax comments to 804-786-7401 to the attention of Mr. Ken Wilkinson.
New 40 acre park with equestrian Facilities to open in Fairfax County, VA at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road. Donations are sought to complete the project by Spring 2004.
PO Box 176
Great Falls, VA 22066
The full Conceptual Development Plan for Turner Farm can be found at www.co.fairfax.va.us/parks/cdpturnerframe.htmEquestrian facilities included in the plan are:
1) Large multi-purpose arena (200' x 300')
2) Dressage arena
3) Cross-country course
4) Round/lunging pen
5) Perimeter and secondary bridle trails - to accommodate both riders and drivers
6) Host to 'Lift Me Up' Therapeutic riding program planning an 85' x 185' (minimum) indoor arena. The arena will be available to the general equestrian public. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
April 26, Sat - Patuxent River State Park, Howard Co.
These trails are some of the most extensive areas of trails you can ride. The pace will be mostly walk/trot and ride time will be up to 4 hours. These are stream valley trails with river crossings. The ride will start at 10:00 AM. Bring a bag lunch, as we will stop on the trail, and something to hold your findings in. Parking is located off Rt. 94. Contact Deneen Martin at 301-253-2955 or Michelle Beachley at 301-482-2526 or email@example.com
April 27, Sun - Union Mills, Carroll Co.
This lovely park has many varied trails-- woods, streams, some hills, and expansive views north to Pennsylvania farmland. Ride for 2 to 3 hours at a walk/trot pace. If people want to ride a bit faster will possibly have a group for that too. May have one road crossing. Contact Cathy McElroy at 410-857-3540.
May 4, Sun,10:00 AM - Potomac Riverside Farm to the C & O Canal, Montgomery Co.
This ride leaves Anna's historic working farm and travels over the fields, past the Polo field, through the woods, and down to the C&O canal towpath, and the Potomac river. There are usually three groups: walk, trot, and canter with a possible snack break at the White's Ferry Store. Anna treats every one to a cookout at her farm after the ride. Covered dishes are welcome. Call Anna Slayman at 301-972-8187.
May 10, Sat - Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Prince Georges Co.
Come ride these gorgeous trails! The views are spectacular as each bend and turn yields a new vista of the river stretching away in the distance. These trails will really make you feel you are far from the maddening crowd, with the possibility of seeing deer, fox, beaver, Osprey, and even Bald Eage.s There will be a walking group and another faster group when the terrain allows. Contact Terry Ledley at 301/776-2661 for more information. Rain date Sun., May 11.
May 31, Sat - Little Bennett Regional Park, Montgomery Co.
This interesting and versatile park has woods, fields, a Boy Scout Campground, and a one-room schoolhouse with a swinging bridge. This park is a very popular riding destination. The ride will be approx. 3-3 ½ hours with a walk/trot pace. Bring a bag-lunch for trailer talk after the ride! Parking is located behind the Little Bennett Golf Course. Call Mimi Ernst for more information at 301-416-2388.
June 1, Sun - Green horse/Green Rider trail day. 11:00 am.
Pat Merson has volunteered the use of her farm to help you and/or your horse gain trail experience. This is a schooling day for horses and riders that do not have much trail riding experience or the seasoned rider looking for something different. All ages are welcome (what a perfect way to introduce young riders!). The pace will be slow to allow both horse and rider to gain confidence over, around and even under obstacles (natural and man-made). We will also talk about basic trail guidelines along the way. Seasoned riders and horses will lead the ride and be there to assist. Please contact Pat Merson at 301-898-3251 or at Lilgreyhrs@aol.com . Space is limited to 14 riders.
June 7, Sat - Sugarloaf Mountain, Frederick Co. - 10:00 am
These trails should be quite pretty at this time of the year with wild flowers in bloom and some very nice views. Most of the trails are fine but may be some rocky places going from one set to the next so recommend front shoes or easy boots. There can be some climbs up the mountain as well. There is the possibility of different groups at different paces, but otherwise expect slow to moderate. Ride time will be 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Contact Monica Breland at 301/972-7454.
June 8, Sun - Judged Pleasure Ride - McKeldin Area, Patapsco Valley State Park
June 22, Sun - Potomac Area, Montgomery Co.
Sheila O'Donnell will lead a trotting ride from Lisa Gordon's Hunt View Farm on Stoney Creek Road along streets into Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park to the Potomac Horse Center. The ride will also traverse PEPCO power lines and adjoining neighborhoods so horses should be accustomed to walkers, bikes, dogs, and quiescent construction equipment, as well as a possible horse show in progress. There will be some steep hills so be sure your horse can manage a few of these. Ride time will be about 2-1/2 hours and limited to 10 riders. Contact Sheila at 202/431-9471.
For any feedback, suggestions or comments regarding scheduled rides, contact Michelle Beachley, TROT's Trail Ride Coordinator, at 301-482-2526 or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Are you and your horse not quite ready for a TROT ride? Do you need a buddy to "practice" with or "tune-up" with out on the trail? This column is a way for you to find a riding buddy. Let us know where you ride, where you'd like to ride, when you ride and what you're looking for. Your information will be included in this column! This column has generated lots of interest from riders looking for riding buddies as well as those wonderful horse people offering their experience to help out riders new to trails.
by Carol Petree Iglehart
When Mom was growing up in Harrisville, WV, her father bought her a horse. There was a local man who was going bankrupt and had to sell everything. So, an auction was held. A horse was part of the auction. Mom's father, Victor Cooper, bid on the horse and bought it. Then he looked into the horse's eyes and realized that the horse was probably going to go blind in the future. The man who had owned the horse didn't realize this. Victor bought the horse anyway because it was otherwise a nice horse and the man needed the money. Mom said she had many happy hours riding the horse on the trails by the river near the town. The horse did go blind, but Mom continued to ride, as the horse seemed to do OK and knows its way around.
One day she road the horse to the blacksmith's shop to have the horse's shoes removed, which had been on all winter. She rode bareback and carried a gunny sack to carry the shoes home in. The smith took the shoes off and put them into the sack. Mom got on and began to ride home with the gunny sack of shoes slung over her shoulder. The horse was so happy to have its shoes off, it began to speed up. Then it began to run. Mom hung on for dear life as the blind horse galloped through the town. The gunny sack of horse shoes pounded on her back with every leap the horse took. She didn't want to drop the sack and lose the shoes, but she was bareback and only had one hand to hold on with. She hung onto the bag as long as she could, then finally dropped it. The horse kept on galloping all the way home, making all the right turns and didn't bump into anything!
BELLE COTE FARM has several horses and tack for sale. Can board or deliver. 301/384-5267.
Breast Collar for sale. Nearly new, used once. Single strap, eventer style (attaches at d rings), mahogany brown with elastic. $20 Call 301/854-9763.
This is YOUR newsletter...we welcome submissions of any articles and news items that would be of interest to TROT members. Please send all materials to the editor:Debbie Palmer
PO Box 129
Highland, MD 20777-0129
or email to:
Please refer to TROT in the subject line or your email may not be opened.
PLEASE NOTE: The mailing of the newsletter is not done by the editor. Please refer your concerns to the TROT BOARD. Thank you!AD RATES:
classified ad ---$ 5.00
¼ page or business card ---$25.00
½ page ---$40.00
Full page ---$75.00
*this rate is based upon the advertiser providing prepared copy for our mailing, including all number of copies.
Gale Monahan, President (301-854-3852)
Tim McGrath, Vice President (301-428-8216)
Pat Merson, Secretary (301-898-3251)
Anne Bennof, Treasurer (301-829-0949)
Kathy Dobson (410-747-2015)
Marilyn Miller (301-898-7274)
Jack Monahan (301-854-3852)
Deneen Martin (301-253-2955)
Michelle Beachley (301-482-2526)
Membership: Linda Eminizer
Trail Ride Coordinator: Michelle Beachley (301-482-2526)
Mapping Project: Tim McGrath (1-800-292-3547)
Search & Rescue Team: Suzanne Anderson (301-829-3881)
Archivist: Karen Alexander
Web Page Master: George and Lisa Graff
Carroll – Anne Bennof
Howard – Gale Monahan
Frederick – Pat Merson
Montgomery – Tim McGrath
Prince George's – Mary Angevine
The Information Exchange
The Skinny, Toothless Wonder RationIn a 7 quart bucket, mix:
1 quart beet pulp w/molasses
1 quart alfalfa pellets
1 cup rice bran
½ cup corn oil
Add warm water ¾ full, stir and let sit for 10 minutes. Add 1 quart equine senior feed on top.
Fed twice a day. This should pile on some pounds! This ration is for a connemara pony/arabian-size equine and submitted by email@example.com. Thanks!
I have an old horse blanket which needs dry cleaning, not laundering. Does anyone know any place I can get this done? Thanks. Janet Breeding 410/795-4262 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send all ITEMS FOR "INFORMATION EXCHANGE" to the editor @ DSPSFARM@aol.com, or by calling 301/854-9763. And, remember to reference "trot" in your subject line of your email to be sure it will be opened.
derwood, md (near olney)
Beautiful, clean boarding facility Friendly boarders - Quality horse care
Direct access to M-NCPPC trails & fields
Indoor arena, hot water wash stalls - Outdoor ring
Owner, staff live on premises
Instruction with Sally Bradbury/outside trainers welcome! For boarding information, call 301/963-0630.
Gettysburg Equestrian Historical Society
All of the below listed rides are located at Artillery Ridge Campground, Gettysburg, PASunday, 6/1/03, 10 am
Spring Guided Ride
Ride w/a Historical Licensed Guide on the trails of the National Battlefield
Cost: $20 includes lunch
Julie Hughes 410/346-6151
Sunday, 9/7/03, 9 am
Horse and Rider Fun Day
Fun & game classes
Steve Cooper 717/624-4472
Dave Landis 717/637-1918
Sunday, 10/5/03, 10 am
Fall Guided Ride
Ride w/a Historical Licensed Guide on the trails of the National Battlefield Cost: $20 includes lunch
Julie Hughes 410/346-6151
We are a non-profit organization and these events are fund raisers. All profits are used to maintain and preserve the equestrian trails in the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park.
Sunday Hunting Alert - House Bill (HB) 679
HB 679 allows a licensed hunter who is on private land with written permission to hunt on all Sundays in November, as well as the Sundays during December's firearms season. For 2003, this amounts to six consecutive Sundays. Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery & Prince George's counties; cities of Frederick & Baltimore; southeast Frederick Co are excluded. But even if you reside in these areas, please support those in the affected areas - plus you enjoy the outdoors throughout the state, right?
Please call, write, e-mail your legislator right away. And contact members of the House Environmental Matters Committee, who will be hearing this bill. (If it passes the House committee, it will then go to the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee, so let them know your opposition if the bill reaches that Committee.) In your contacts with legislators, keep it polite, short and to the point. Speak from the heart, in your own words. Some points to consider:Safety
Many trails wander from public to private land and back again. Boundaries are vague. Other trails closely border private land. Bullets and arrows do not respect boundaries.
Many who enjoy the outdoors do not feel safe doing so in the presence of hunters armed with lethal weapons. As one horseback rider put it: "How safe would you feel riding in the woods on a brown animal?"
But it is not only horseback riders who are endangered. Bird watchers, hikers, bikers, joggers, Scout groups, canoers/kayakers, families, orienteerers, dog walkers, landowners - all have expressed the need for at least one day a week when they can safely enjoy the outdoors during hunting season.
Claims that hunting does not endanger non-hunters are unsubstantiated and skewed. Accidents happen, but no reporting is required. Many people who would otherwise be in the woods stay away.Equity
Non-hunters deserve at least one weekend day to enjoy outdoors during hunting season.
For most working people, weekends are time for leisure activities. Presently, hunters get to enjoy Saturday; everybody else gets Sunday.
Organized events & activities - trail rides, hikes, birding walks, bike rides, picnics, orienteering tests, canoe/kayak trips, etc. - are currently scheduled on Sundays to avoid hunters.
The shared weekend system that currently exists seems the best compromise. Non-hunters should be able to at least continue to enjoy the status quo -- Safe Sundays.
The current statewide deer hunting season lasts from mid-September through January (hunting for other species goes beyond). During deer hunting season -- some of the most beautiful times of the year -- hunters are already out six days a week for 4 1/2 months.
It has been estimated that knowledgeable deer hunters can take nearly 30 deer each if they hunt throughout the state using various weapons - bow, firearms, muzzleloader - and avail themselves of special hunts, crop damage permits, etc. Therefore, there are ample hunting opportunities without Sunday hunting.
Such bills usually claim to be aimed at controlling deer herds. Actually, they have nothing to do with herd management. It is entirely a matter of allowing hunters more days to enjoy their sport.
More Firearms! - House Bill (HB 337)
HB 337 mandates that the deer firearms season shall be 21 days. But the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) already has authority to adjust seasons and bag limits according to their biological research on deer population in various regions. In fact, two additional days of deer firearms hunting were introduced this year in two of the four regions. By mandating 21 days, the Legislature would force DNR to institute 21 days of deer firearm in all regions, regardless of deer population differences.
Please call, write, e-mail your legislator right away regarding this bill. And contact members if the House Environmental Matters Committee, who will be hearing this bill. (If it passes the House Committee, it will then go to the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee, so let them know your opinion if the bill reaches that Committee.)
In your contacts with legislators, keep it polite, short and to the point. Speak from the heart, in your own words. Some points to consider:
Information on how to contact your Maryland representatives were in February's issue of TROT News...if you need that information again, contact the editor!
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Updated: April 25, 2003