Tags: Gun Control | Maryland | hunting | invasive species

Hunting in Maryland: 3 Invasive Species to Maryland and Its Rules for Hunting Them

By    |   Monday, 01 Jun 2015 06:29 PM

Invasive species are animals and plants that originated in another region and now raise havoc in their new environments. Maryland’s long list of invasive species includes the nutria, mute swan and non-migratory Canada goose.

Here is more information about these three animals and Maryland’s rules for hunting them.

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1. Nutria
A well-to-do naturalist first imported nutria from Argentina to Maryland decades ago. After being placed in an enclosed area in a wildlife refuge, the varmints were freed during the 1930s into the surrounding Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Because the rodents didn’t evolve in Maryland’s marshlands, there are no natural predators in the area to control their population.

By gnawing away at the rootweb, which holds marshes together, armies of orange-toothed mammals are now major contributors to the erosion of marshes and destruction of other wildlife in Maryland and neighboring Delaware and Virginia. If this erosion is left unchecked, marshes turn into mudflats and are eventually overtaken by sea water. To combat the damage, the federal government has organized the Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project.

Meanwhile, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources now allows the pests to be hunted with firearms, bows and crossbows year-round. Unlike a number of other furbearing animals, which cannot be hunted on Sundays, nutria can be pursued by licensed hunters seven days a week, according to the Maryland Hunting & Trapping Guide.

2. Mute Swan
Native to Europe and Asia, mute swans first arrived in the Chesapeake Bay in 1962, when five of the birds escaped from an estate in Talbot County, Maryland, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program. These swans may be lovely to look at, but their diet consists of submerged aquatic vegetation, also posing a threat to marshlands, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

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Currently, mute swans cannot be hunted in Maryland, although neighboring Virginia  issues hunting permits for these beautiful and graceful Chesapeake Bay inhabitants.

3. Non-Migratory Canada Goose
More and more Canada geese are deciding not to migrate any more from Canada to the southern United States. Instead, the geese are staying put at various points in the northern United States, The Examiner reported.

In Maryland, year-round populations have grown alarmingly during the past 30 years, according to the Department of Natural Resources, which said the birds display aggressive behavior and eliminate shoreline vegetation.

Maryland typically holds multiple hunting seasons for both resident Canada geese and the migratory Atlantic population from fall to spring, starting with an early resident season in early September. For the 2014 to 2015 season, bag limits were two birds for the migratory geese and five birds for the residents.

This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.

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Invasive species are animals and plants that originated in another region and now raise havoc in their new environments. Maryland's long list of invasive species includes the nutria, mute swan and non-migratory Canada goose.
Maryland, hunting, invasive species
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2015-29-01
Monday, 01 Jun 2015 06:29 PM
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