By Don Mallicoat-The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission met this past week and has approved changes to the state’s wildlife management, game land and fishing regulations for the 2014-15 season. These new regulations will take effect Aug. 1, 2014. Following a process of reviewing public comments on the proposed changes, the Commission voted to adopt the regulation changes at its Feb. 27 business meeting in Raleigh. The proposals were approved as presented at the public hearings with several exceptions. Text to five proposals was amended, one proposal was disapproved, and three proposals were removed from consideration.
The amended proposals were: A hunting proposal (H-8) that removes Alexander, Catawba, Iredell, Stokes and Yadkin counties from the list of counties where hunting bear with dogs is prohibited; A hunting proposal (H13) that will allow deer and bears to be taken with any type of handgun and ammunition, replacing the words “except body armor-piercing projectiles will be prohibited” with “unless otherwise prohibited by law.”; A game land proposal (G2) that will add bear to the approved regulation that makes the Lick Creek tract of Alcoa Game Land in Davidson County an archery-only area for deer hunting; A game land proposal (G6) that will allow hunting deer with dogs on Stones Creek Game Land in Onslow County on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, not Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; An inland fishing proposal (F2) that will designate .5 mile of the West Fork Pigeon River in Haywood County below Lake Logan as a Public Mountain Trout Waters, classified as Wild Trout Waters, and not Catch and Release/Artificial Lures Only Trout Waters; A proposed game land regulation (G4) to designate Holly Shelter Game Land as a six-day-per-week game land and allow dog hunting for deer and bear on certain days of the week was disapproved.
Proposed rules removed from consideration were: A raccoon hunting proposal (H11) that would remove the restriction on hunting raccoons during daylight hours west of U.S. 1; Two inland fishing proposals that would prohibit the taking of American and hickory shad with dip and bow nets (F9) and prohibit the use of bow nets in inland fishing waters (F16).
The Commission also approved bear hunting regulations that establish a bear hunting season in the Piedmont and allow the aid or use of unprocessed foods for bear hunting on private lands as long as the bear is not actually consuming the unprocessed foods. This was probably the most controversial proposal and from the hunters I talked with it was well supported.
To help keep our loyal readers out of trouble, a little reminder. Hatchery Supported Trout Waters are closed to fishing starting Feb. 28 and reopening at 7 a.m. on April 5. While fishing is closed, Commission personnel will stock all Hatchery Supported Trout Waters in preparation for opening day. They stock Hatchery Supported Trout Waters, which are marked by green-and-white signs, at frequent intervals in the spring and early summer every year.
This year, Commission personnel will stock approximately 907,000 trout — 96 percent of which average 10 inches in length, with the other 4 percent exceeding 14 inches in length.
While fishing on Hatchery Supported Trout Waters, anglers can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day, with no minimum size limit or bait restriction. Hatchery Supported Trout Waters are open from 7 a.m. on the first Saturday in April until one-half hour after sunset on the last day of February the following year.
Another local note for Buncombe County residents. You can now apply for handgun purchase permits online. One of the biggest complaints I hear from customers is making two trips downtown: one to apply for and only to pick up the permit a week later. This will at least eliminate one of those trips. The website is https://buncombeso.permitium.com/. Although I do not need a permit I went to the website to check it out. The first page asks you for personal information (name, address, date of birth, etc.), contact information, and how many permits you want. On the second page you answer the standard criminal background check questions that are on any ATF Transfer form (BATF 4473). After completing the form you go through the checkout process to pay for the permit. When it is ready you will receive a text message, email, or phone call to come pick it up. Great customer service idea to streamline the process. Hopefully more people will use it and free up time for processing Concealed Carry Permit applications.