The governments like to keep us on our toes. In the spring they give us income tax forms. In the fall they provide head-scratching material with hunting regulations.

Hunters already are afield in Maryland and Virginia, where dove and railbird seasons are open. In Maryland, gallinules are fair game this month as well and on Wednesday archery season opens for deer.

Hunting is not prohibitively expensive as long as you stay in your own state. Maryland residents pay $8 for a general license, plus $5.50 for the right to hunt deer and turkey and $6.10 total for state and federal stamps if they intend to hunt waterfowl.

The ante goes up to $30.50 for a general license for out-of-staters who want to shoot in Maryland.

Virginia residents get off a little lighter. It costs $5 for residents to hunt in the Old Dominion, plus $5 for a big-game stamp for bear, deer and turkey. Nonresidents pay $20 for the general and $20 additional for the big-game rights. Waterfowl hunters need a $5 federal stamp.

Precise information on seasons, limits and hunting hours is provided in pamphlets issued with licenses in each state.

Below is a general listing of seasons and limits in Maryland and Virginia. For specifics, check the pamphlets thoroughly before setting out.