First Maryland’s governor, Parris N. Glendening, tried to outlaw trapping statewide, but lost. Then he avoided establishing a bear season to control a surging population by allegedly packing anti-hunters onto a committee that was set up to look into the matter; as a result, some residents “shot-shoveled-and-shut-up,” according to The Washington Times. Trapping and new hunting seasons are always contentious, so these minor scuffles didn’t raise many eyebrows, but when Glendening next fired Mike Slattery (the wildlife chief) and Pete Jensen (the tidal fisheries director), and then forced the resignation of the DNR secretary, Sarah Taylor-Rogers, because they were pro-hunting, columnists at the The Washington Times and the Baltimore Sun cried foul, and sportsmen’s groups vowed revenge. Glendening however wasn’t through; his next move was to appoint a “Non-Lethal Task Force on Wildlife,” whose mission was to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife management techniques and to thereby make recommendations to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on the possible implementation of non-lethal wildlife management techniques in place of hunting-Gene Mueller, a columnist at The Washington Times, wrote that this means: “Hunters are out; tree huggers are in.”
Now with Glendening having less than a year left in office (he’s subject to a term-limit ousting), Steve Palmer, who directs the Maryland Coalition for Responsible Wildlife Management (a sportsmen’s group), is promoting Maryland House Bill 101. This bill, introduced by Speaker Casper Taylor Jr. during the 2002 General Assembly session, would remove fish and wildlife management decisions from the DNR by creating a commission for that purpose. According to the bill, the commission would be modeled after Pennsylvania’s, which means that anti-hunters wouldn’t have a prayer of getting on the board. It seems that sportsmen, and some state representatives, are trying to even political scores by retaking control of the Maryland DNR. However, Glendening might have the last say with a veto.