Home Opinion Don Mallicoat Economic Impact of Hunting and Fishing in NC

Economic Impact of Hunting and Fishing in NC

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By Don Mallicoat-Every five years the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) conducts a survey of outdoor activities with a focus on hunting and angling. The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation measured public participation in hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and other wildlife-dependent recreation, as well as how much money was spent pursuing these activities. Survey results are shown collectively and broken out by state.

Some of the economic data for North Carolina includes: $3.3 billion total spent on wildlife-related recreation in North Carolina; $1.5 billion spent in North Carolina from fishing-related activities; $525 million spent in North Carolina on hunting-related activities; $930 million spent in North Carolina on wildlife-watching activities.

The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted every five years, has become one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife in the United States. Federal, state and private organizations use the rigorously compiled and detailed information to manage wildlife and wildlife-related recreation programs, and forecast trends in participation and economic impacts.

Nationally, more than 90 million Americans participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, up 3 percent from five years earlier. The increase was primarily among those who fished and hunted. The data show that 33.1 million people fished, 13.7 million hunted, and 71.8 million participated in a wildlife-watching activity. View the complete report visit the USFWS website at www.wsfrprograms.fws.gov and click on National Survey on the right column.

The Wildlife Resources Commission implemented delayed-harvest regulations on 33 trout waters in18 western North Carolina counties on Oct. 1. Under delayed-harvest regulations, no trout can be harvested or possessed from these waters between Oct. 1, 2013, and one half-hour after sunset on June 6, 2014. No natural bait is allowed, and anglers can fish only with single-hook, artificial lures. An artificial lure is defined as a fishing lure that neither contains nor has been treated with any substance that attracts fish by the sense of taste or smell.

The Commission stocks delayed-harvest trout waters from fall through spring with high densities of trout to increase anglers’ chances of catching fish. Delayed-harvest trout waters, posted with diamond-shaped, black-and-white signs, are popular fishing destinations for anglers who enjoy catch-and-release trout fishing. The Wildlife Commission classified three new waters in the delayed–harvest program this year: Ashe County — South Fork New River (Todd Island Park); Clay County — Fires Creek (USFS Road 340A to the foot bridge in the USFS Fires Creek picnic area); Graham County – (Big) Snow Bird Creek (USFS foot bridge at the old railroad junction to USFS Road 2579).

Due to ongoing research by N.C. State University on the movements of stocked trout, the October stockings for East Prong Roaring River and Stone Mountain Creek in Wilkes County and Little River in Alleghany County have been postponed until Oct. 14. For a complete list of delayed-harvest trout waters, stocking dates, information on delayed-harvest regulations and trout fishing maps, visit the Commission’s trout fishing page on their website, www.ncwildlife.org.

With muzzleloader season open and several small game seasons opening in the next couple of weeks, this is probably a good time to remind all hunters of the requirements established by the Landowner Protection Act. This law allows landowners to mark their property boundaries with signs or with purple paint stripes at least 8 inches long 3 – 5 feet off the ground on trees or posts.

Sportsmen need written permission, dated within the past 12 months, signed by the land owner or lessee, to hunt, fish, or trap on lands posted with signs or purple paint. You must carry written permission on your person. If a hunting club has leased the land, hunters must have a copy of their hunting club membership and a copy of the landowner permission given to that club. Wildlife officers will enforce the Landowner Protection Act.

The Landowner Protection Act does not change general trespass laws nor have any effect on lands which are not posted. It does not repeal any local acts currently in effect that require written permission to hunt, fish or trap. The WRC provides a permission form on their website. Go to the Hunting tab, in middle of the page click on Laws & Safety and then Landowner Protection Act. The form is available in both wallet and full size at bottom of the page. Having spoken with several Enforcement officers, they will ticket anyone hunting on private property without the written permission. Let’s encourage landowners to respect our sport by respecting their property.

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