For the Wildlife and Heritage Service (WHS), much has changed in the past decade. Most of the changes are good news for sportsmen and women in Maryland. Many game species are at historic levels; including statewide restoration of wild turkey, return of canada geese from a flyway-wide hunting moraturium, the first bear hunt in Maryland history, and implementation of the current 10-year statewide deer management plan that ensures sustainable deer populations and more than one million recreational days afield for Maryland hunters.
The WHS now oversees 47 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) totaling approximately120,000 acres, nearly tripling the acreage of a decade ago. An additional 380,000 acres of other public lands provide approximately one half million acres of public hunting opportunities across Maryland. Additionally, we have expanded our efforts to provide wildlife-related opportunities for all Marylanders. These opportunities include camping, water-trails, wildlife watching, and other nature-based activities on WMAs. All of these activities remain free of charge to non-hunters.
The WHS is also responsible for most of the non-game, rare, threatened, and endangered species in Maryland. Specifically, our Natural Heritage Program is responsible for all plants and those species of wildlife that are not hunted or trapped. Too few Marylanders are aware of our responsibility for these resources. It’s time that changed. Wildlife belongs to all Marylanders and we will endeavor to better-inform people about the role we play in managing and protecting these species.We will share some great places to visit for their natural wonders and work hard to gain broader public support for these efforts.
I am fortunate to be part of a great team that is truly dedicated to the goal of making Maryland a better place for current and future generations. This past season, my son and I enjoyed several amazing bowhunts together. While his efforts to coax his first archery buck into range were unsuccessful, I felt blessed to have the opportunity to share those moments with him. I too am pleased that the Maryland we know will continue to be a great place for all of us to experience the wonders of our natural world because the men and women of DNR make it their professional and personal mission to see to it each and every day. I hope you will support of our efforts and I wish you a safe and successful 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.