Hunting Accident File > Violations

MD: Duck, geese hunters cited for firing in urban zones on Potomac River

Feb. 2, 2011

Duck, geese hunters cited for firing in urban zones on Potomac River

Canada goose hunting season extended to address overpopulation

Barbara Brown knows that waterfowl hunting season has begun when the sound of gunfire interrupts her Saturday slumber.

Brown, 65, lives on Admirals Way, in Potomac, near the C&O Canal National Historic Park, in a house she believed was far enough south of the legal hunting zone to avoid hearing shotgun blasts. Her home sits just inside a boundary that designates the urban area in which it is illegal to discharge a firearm for hunting, according to Montgomery County's weapons law.

Despite that boundary, police continue to cite people for hunting waterfowl within the urban area near the Potomac River. Officials say their main reason for enforcing the law along the river is to preclude hunters from accidentally hurting or killing someone.


Maryland National Resources Police, which patrol the river, have charged four hunters with discharging a firearm below the boundary line this winter, spokesman Sgt. Brian Albert said. Police charge an average of four to six hunters a year.


Hunting is an important part of keeping the resident Canada geese population in check. The geese were bred in captivity by hunters in the early 1900s and used as live bait to hunt migratory Canada geese in the winter. The practice became illegal in the 1930s and the geese were released into the wild. The geese thrive in urban areas, produce four to five goslings per year, and have a high survival rate. Within the past five years, the population of resident geese in the state has been as high as 80,000, while the target population is 30,000. More than 40,000 resident geese were counted in Maryland last year.

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