Hunters are getting ready for the 2013-2014 hunting season, which is right around the corner.
Small game hunting begins Sept. 2, archery deer season starts Sept. 6 and the muzzle loader season opens later in October, but the date hunters may want to note is Oct. 5, opening day of this year’s shotgun deer season at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
“Normal shotgun season doesn’t begin until the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so Pax River will be the only place to hunt with a shotgun in October,” said Jim Swift, natural resources specialist.
Shotgun season dates
Shotgun deer season is Oct. 5-26 in areas 2 through 13 on the installation.
Swift said the early season should help reduce the air station’s deer population more quickly, especially around the airfield.
Hunters will also want to know that this year’s harvest objective is set at 88, down from last year’s objective of 125.
“Each year, we set a deer harvest objective based on spotlight count data obtained in the summertime,” he said. “The number dropped from last year and that tells us we did our job. With this early season, we’re encouraging hunters to come out to Pax.”
How to hunt on base
All hunters are required to sign in and out at the kiosk located in the Hunter Check Station, across Shaw Road from South Engineering, building 2187. For those hunting on Webster Outlying Field, the kiosk is located in building 8289.
The kiosks not only track what area hunters are using, but also lets the environmental staff know what game is being pursued, how much effort is being spent on pursuing that game, and from what areas it’s being harvested, Swift said.
Hunters must stay within the hunting area they choose at sign-in. To move to another area, they must return to the kiosk and check in again.
“There are mission-related issues,” Swift said about the check-ins. “If, for instance, we need to close an area for aircraft operations or testing, we can look at the kiosk and know that we have hunters to find before the tests can begin. It gives us flexibility to allow hunting in areas near the airfield without interfering with the mission of the base.”
The kiosks also enable hunters to view regulations and check area maps that show what activity has occurred within the last 72 hours.
Another change hunters need to be aware of is that hunting permits can no longer purchased through the kiosks. To purchase a permit to hunt at Pax River or Webster and for more information, visit http://naspaxriver.isportsman.net.