In the winter of 1988 I volunteered to assist with the Maryland DNR turkey trap and transplant program. My role was to sit in a ground blind for several days waiting to capture wild turkey with a rocket net. We never did catch a bird that week but ten years later wild turkey would exist in every county in the state of Maryland and I knew then that I wanted to work for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
For the past 26 years I have enjoyed the great fortune to work for the Department and with some of the most remarkable and dedicated employees in Maryland. During those nearly three decades, much has changed at the Department and on our landscape.
Beyond the success of our wild turkey project, we are now proud to boast the management of nearly 500,000 acres of public hunting land in Maryland; more than double the total from just ten years ago. Canada geese are back, deer populations are shifting toward a sustainable equilibrium with their environment and human neighbors while hunting and wildlife recreation remain a remarkable catalyst for Maryland’s economy.
Going forward, and consistent with the growing interest in wildlife-dependent recreation, the Wildlife and Heritage Service will be showcasing our efforts on Maryland’s wildlife management areas by enhancing our entrance signs, map products and our online and informational kiosks across the state. Look for the new ‘brand’ at a WMA near you soon!
Finally, I opened this message by mentioning our great and dedicated team in the Wildlife and Heritage Service. I’d like to close by recognizing four of those employees who recently retired.
Iris Puffenberger, Larry Hindman, Ken D’Loughy and Tom Decker celebrated their retirement from DNR over the past several months. Combined, they had more than 150 years of service to the people of Maryland and the wild resources we are charged to protect and manage. Despite their varying roles with the Department, all four shared three common traits — a love for the job, a passion for the work we do, and a steadfast commitment to the people we serve and our science-based mission. They each left huge responsibilities for their successors, but more importantly they left a legacy of remarkable wildlife conservation for current and future Marylanders to enjoy. Thank you Iris, Ken, “LJ” and Tom!!
I hope you’ll join our team in seeing through another successful year of wildlife management success and I offer my personal best wishes to you for a safe and enjoyable hunting season this year!
Paul A. Peditto,
Director of the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.