Maryland's Canada goose season opened Wednesday as the state's controversial one-goose-a-day limit entered its third season. State game managers are trying to limit the goose kill on the Eastern Shore, as wintering populations of Canadas there continue to decline.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Canada geese were so plentiful officials worried about disease racing through the crowded flocks. Conservative estimates put the wintering population then at 600,000 birds. Today, the guess is that about 250,000 Canadas will winter in Maryland as the birds continue to stop and stay further north.

The days of 90-day hunting seasons and three-bird daily limits have given way to this year's 41-day season with a one-bird limit until Dec. 10 and two-bird limit thereafter.

Effects on commercial guiding operations have been predictably harsh. Outfitter Floyd Price, who ran 171 hunters through his Kennedyville, Md., blinds on opening day three years ago, had "eight hunters and 13 guides" Wednesday.

Price and other guides on the Upper Eastern Shore say they're seeing populations no different from the good old days, with most hunters getting their limits early on Wednesday. But state officials say the populations are much sparser south of the state's northern tier.

On Dutch Swonger's pond near Worton, the geese were plentiful but surprisingly wary and it was a difficult task luring them into range. "They're acting like it's January instead of opening day," he said. "If they keep this up, it's going to be a long season."


Virginia's commercial rockfish season ended last week after just five days as watermen quickly caught their quota of 211,000 pounds. The fish reportedly sold dockside for as little as 90 cents a pound. Virginia's recreational rockfish season remains open until Dec. 5.


Stowe Ski Resort in Vermont reports four feet of snow fell on Mount Mansfield in a big storm in advance of yesterday's season opener. Thus Stowe has unusually good skiing conditions for this early in the season, the resort reported.


Charlie Scott of Annapolis won the 1990 U.S. Yacht Racing Union's offshore championship for the second straight year. He and his crew of seven were tops in a fleet of 10 Naval Academy yawls that raced on Chesapeake Bay for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy.