The Forest Service is closing an area in the Pisgah National Forest to all public access to protect forest visitors during an upcoming timber harvest. I believe this timber harvest is part of a larger wildlife habitat project the Forest Service started planning over six years ago. Forest Service officials expect the closure to last approximately six months. “While this temporary closure will limit our anglers’ access to a portion of the North Mills River, we recognize that forest management is an important component of the mission for the U.S. Forest Service,” said Doug Besler, mountain region fisheries supervisor. “In the interim, anglers still can fish the lower section of North Mills River, as well as the nearby Little River in Transylvania County.”
The WRC has completed their public meetings to discuss planned regulation changes for the 2014-15 hunting/fishing/trapping year. If you were unable to attend one of the meetings you can still provide input via the commission’s website. Simply go to the website, www.ncwildlife.org, and at the bottom of the home page click on the scrolling menu where it says “Submit Comments” for the 2014-15 Regulation Changes. After all comments are gathered and reviewed, the Commission will make final decisions for the Digest to be published August 1st.
Just got this in a recent press release. I know it is in Virginia, but if it succeeds, I hope it will travel south and our legislature in NC will take up the fight. This week, the Virginia House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources passed a bill to open the state to Sunday hunting on private land. House Bill 1237, sponsored by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock), would authorize Sunday hunting with written permission on private land and Sunday hunting for waterfowl on public lands subject to approval by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The 12-10 vote now sends the bill to the full Virginia House of Delegates.
“Opening Sundays to hunting provides working sportsmen with a significant increase in hunting opportunities,” said Adam Wright, USSA’s associate director of state services. “This bill would essentially double the number of hunting days for sportsmen and could drive increased participation and enthusiasm in the outdoors throughout the state.” There are currently only 11 states that prohibit or restrict Sunday hunting, among them Virginia and North Carolina. According to a study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, allowing Sunday hunting in Virginia would result in nearly 4,000 new jobs and more than $296 million in economic impact annually.
Currently North Carolina only allows archery hunting on private land on Sundays. There have been several legislative attempts in the state to repeal the 150 year old law that prohibits it. Maybe some of our legislators will see the dollar figures associated with allowing Sunday hunting and bring it back up. I have spoken out before that we should allow Sunday hunting. Maybe it is time for me to do another column to make the case.
I believe I mentioned this last week in talking about upcoming Hunter Education classes in our local area. No matter your age, take Hunter Education. Here’s an example why it is important. A customer at the store came by the other day. He is a lifelong hunter mainly here in North Carolina. Because of his age and previous hunting license he did not have to attend Hunter Safety. A couple of weeks ago while attending a conference in Colorado he had an invitation to go duck hunting. All the gear was provided; all he needed was a Colorado non-resident license. The agent could not issue one because proof of Hunter Education was required. Many states are starting to require Hunter Education for non-resident hunters. Get it done if you plan on hunting out of state next year.