It’s been a while since we’ve caught up with press releases sitting on my desk that may be of importance to our readers. Let’s throw a few out there. Here is a random sample of things happening in the outdoor world. Let’s start in the state. I know it is hard to believe, but it is time to start thinking about hunting season. Starting June 3, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is inviting public comments on the early waterfowl and webless migratory game bird hunting seasons.
The seasons include dove, woodcock, rail, snipe and those waterfowl seasons beginning before October 1. Input on extended falconry seasons for webless species will also be taken at this time. Comment on proposed dates for the seasons by going to www.ncwildlife.org and clicking on “Submit Comments” at the bottom of the page. Comments will be accepted from June 3 through June 20. So you have only got a few days remaining.
It will be interesting to see if they continue having the dove opener at daylight of opening day or move it back to a noon opener. I kind of enjoyed the early opener and hope they continue it. Also remember that thanks to the calendar it looks like dove season will actually open in August this year, on the 31st. Can’t believe that’s less than 90 days away.
Since we are talking about state issue, several weeks ago I mentioned NC House Bill 937 that would amend several firearms laws. Some of those amendments include the popular restaurant concealed carry provision and allowing carry in vehicles onto state government property and leave the handgun locked in the vehicle. That bill passed out of the House into the Senate on May 8th, a full month ago. The status? It passed its first reading and is now sitting in the Senate Rules Committee. We will continue to keep you posted.
With just a stroke of Governor Pat McCrory’s pen, North Carolina can become the 35th state to make it easier for hunters to pass on their heritage to the next generation. On May 29th, the North Carolina House of Representatives unanimously passed Senate Bill 234 which permits new hunters to try hunting under the guidance of a licensed adult mentor prior to completing a hunter education course. The concept, part of the Families Afield initiative created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, has resulted in more than one million new licenses sold since the project was launched in 2006.
“It’s quite the testament to the success and safety rate of the Families Afield program that this bill did not receive a single ‘NO’ vote,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing. “Apprentice hunting has been shown time and time again to be highly successful in welcoming new hunters to our ranks. The success in North Carolina was made possible through a generous donation from Sports South to the National Shooting Sports Foundation for the Families Afield program.
This is a bill that seems to get resurrected every legislative cycle in the U.S. Congress. We reported on it last year and here it is again. And again it needs your support. The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act (H.R. 1825) is vital to protecting America’s sporting heritage through the expansion and enhancement of hunting and shooting opportunities on federal lands. H.R. 1825 would require federal public land management officials to exercise their authority under existing law to facilitate the use of, and access to, federal public lands and waters for fishing, sport hunting, and recreational shooting.
Additionally, it would make the heads of federal public land management agencies exercise their discretion in a manner that supports and facilitates recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting opportunities, to the extent authorized under applicable law. Finally, it would allow federal agencies to lease their lands for shooting ranges, and designate specific lands for recreational shooting activities as well as requiring annual reports on closures of federal public lands to recreational fishing, sport hunting, or shooting.
It sets forth requirements for specified closures or significant restrictions involving 640 or more contiguous acres of federal public lands or waters to fishing or hunting or related activities. I do encourage all hunters and anglers to write or call their Congressman and Senators (there is a companion Senate Bill 170) encouraging them to support this and finally get it passed. This legislation should also help make wildlife habitat a priority on our National Forests in North Carolina.