- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A few months ago, I mentioned in a column that a group led by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, in partnership with Marylandís Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Legislative Sportsmenís Foundation, was exploring the idea of reintroducing elk into Western Maryland.
The first step in this process was to determine the publicís opinion to this idea, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation went forward and funded a comprehensive study to gauge the publicís response.
The data from that study is in and three out of four Maryland residents do support the reintroduction of this once native species to our state.
This was a telephone survey that reached nearly 1,000 Maryland homes. It was specifically designed to represent all Maryland residents, from the Eastern Shore to the western mountains. The data collected is considered to be correct to a confidence level of 95 percent.
When first contacted, only about one in 10 Maryland households had been aware of the elk reintroduction plan.
Up front, when considering the proposal, 77 percent of respondents immediately answered positively to the idea of having elk today in Western Maryland.
Then, the researchers presented negative information about possible vehicle collisions, property and crop damage concerns, disease risks and the expense to institute an elk reintroduction program.
After hearing all that, 70 percent continued to view the idea in a positive light.
The next step in this process will be face-to-face meetings with interested individuals, groups and organizations throughout the state.
Ongoing at the same time, DNR experts are assessing the availability of suitable habitat for the elk reintroduction effort.
This will all be completed in the next five months with a final report deadline of Oct. 31.
If things then still look encouraging, the final step will be a presentation to the interested governing bodies. Iíll keep you posted.
Snakebite updateLast weekís column concerned a copperhead snakebite and the subsequent hospital stay endured by one of my neighbors because of it.
That column generated many emails and multiple telephone calls from readers with the major questions being about copperheads actually being here in Southern Maryland and the price of treatment.
Maryland actually has 27 species and subspecies of snakes, only two of which are venomous the timber rattlesnake and copperhead.
The timber rattlesnake is considered an uncommon snake in Maryland and found today only in the western mountains.
The copperhead is considered a common Maryland snake and is a resident of most areas of the state and that includes all of Southern Maryland.
The rarest snake we have is the rainbow, once considered extinct, but recently a few have been found along the Potomac River in Charles County.
As to the expense of treatment, I wrote in that column that my friendís hospital bill included three treatments of anti-venom at $5,000 each.
So many people found that amount doubtful, so I called the three Southern Maryland hospitals and asked about their charges. That was a most interesting process.
I first asked for the billing department at each hospital, identified myself, and then simply inquired what they charged for a copperhead anti-venom dose.
St. Maryís Hospital in Leonardtown gave me the answer right away, but Calvert Memorial Hospital in Prince Frederick and Civista Medical Center in La Plata couldnít answer directly and would rather have their media relations people get back to me.
During this exercise, I also learned that a dose depends upon the severity of the injury and the size of the person who is bitten.
St. Maryís Hospital charges between $3,946 and $11,838 for copperhead anti-venom depending upon the size of the dose. Calvert Memorialís charge for copperhead anti-venom is $2,500 per single dose.
No comment was received by press time from Civista.
A few emails about last weekís column also mentioned pets being bitten by a copperhead.
To get more information on this, I also telephoned the VCA Southern Maryland Veterinary Referral emergency vet service in Waldorf and Tidewater Veterinary Hospital in Charlotte Hall.
VCA told me Iíd have to speak to their corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, and the lady I spoke with at Tidewater told me a doctor would return my call.
I called California and left a message. Iíve heard nothing back from either VCA or Tidewater.
I also know of a big emergency veterinary place in Carytown, Va., and I called them. Dr. Nathan Lippo there told me they are very familiar with snakebite treatment in pets as they see between 150 and 200 per year.
Dr. Lippo said they very rarely use anti-venom, but first rely instead on IV fluids and pain medication. When they do use anti-venom, the cost of each dose is between $400 and $600 per treatment.
Logo neededMaryland is calling all artists, painters, sketchers and/or graphic designers to come up with a new seafood logo.
The DNR will then use this logo it must be suitable for both online and printed promotional material in seafood marketing programs throughout the state.
All artwork, submitted by the June 30 deadline, must work in both color reproduction and grayscale printing and be in a digital format no less than 300dpi.
Applicants should email their proposed designs to Kelly Barnes at email@example.com.
Should yours be the selected entry, besides the obvious pride of seeing your artwork in multiple uses, youíll also receive a Chesapeake Bay trip for five to harvest your choice of oysters, blue crabs or striped bass.
Consider the striped bass trip and maybe invite me as one of your friends.
Natural Resources camp
High school students with an interest in forestry, fisheries, wildlife or parks management are invited to a weeklong Natural Resources Careers Camp from July 22 to 28 in Garrett County.
The program will feature small group instruction from park managers, biologists, water managers and many other guest instructors throughout the week plus visits from several colleges to explain their programs.
Students must be entering grades 9 to 12 to apply. Applications are available at www.marylandforestryboards.org/nrcc.cfm.
Local Forest Conservancy district boards will make the final selection of students. Space is limited.
Whackfactor Outdoors is sponsoring a snakehead Potomac River tournament on June 2 and 3 out of Smallwood State Park.
Register before June 1 and the cost is $50 per angler. Besides cash and prizes, several snakehead expert guest speakers and even a snakehead tasting are promised during the tournament.
For more information, go to www.potomacsnakehead.com.
FLW resultsScott Martin from Clewiston, Fla., won the FLW Tour on the Potomac River last weekend at National Harbor in Prince Georgeís County with a total catch of 66 pounds 6 ounces of bass. For his efforts, Martin left town with a check for $126,000.
It only took 43 pounds 4 ounces of bass to top the field in the other big FLW All-American tournament, also held at National Harbor last week. Brian Maloney of Osage Beach, Mo., took first-place honors in this one and $120,000 was his reward.
No Maryland fishermen finished anywhere near the top of the field in either tournament.