By Don Mallicoat- This is a time a lot of folks are waiting on with the arrival of Spring. More than 30 free kids’ fishing events across North Carolina are scheduled from mid-May through mid-June in celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, in partnership with Neuse Sport Shop, Trout Unlimited and the U.S. Forest Service, is supporting these annual fishing events. The Commission has a list of events, as of April 30, posted on its website. People interested in attending an event should check the list frequently as more events are added. The first event in the mountains is at Carolina Hemlocks Campground in Yancey County on May 17th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Contact is Brandon Jones at 828-682-6146. Next in our area we have one scheduled at Lake Powhatan on June 7th from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Contact is Lorie Stroup at 828-877-3265. The ever popular event at Max Patch Pond in Madison County is not listed yet so keep watching the website.
Young anglers registered at any fishing event can enter a statewide drawing for a chance to win one of more than 150 fishing-related prizes. The grand prize is a lifetime sportsman license, which includes freshwater and saltwater fishing privileges, as well as hunting privileges, donated by Neuse Sport Shop, located in Kinston. The first prize is a lifetime freshwater fishing license, donated by the N.C. State Council of Trout Unlimited. Neuse Sport Shop also is donating tackle boxes, rod-and-reel combos and spools of fishing line, while the Wildlife Commission is donating prizes, such as fishing towels, playing cards and mini-tackle boxes. Local sponsors for many events will provide prizes and gifts to registered participants as well.
The Wildlife Commission will conduct the drawing for prizes at the end of June and will publish a list of winners on its website, www.ncwildlife.org, in early July. To give kids a better chance of catching fish, the Wildlife Commission is stocking fish at many of these sites before the events — from trout in the mountains to channel catfish and bluegill in Piedmont and coastal public waters.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is offering several outdoors-related clinics and classes in May through the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Transylvania County. There are a variety of classes to include reptile studies, introduction to fly-fishing, fly casting and more. All events are free and require pre-registration on a first-come, first-serve basis. The schedule is on the Commission’s website, www.ncwildlife.org. Or you can contact the Pisgah Center at 828-877-4423 for the schedule and to register.
Wild animals are starting to give birth and hatch their young. So the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is reminding people to leave young wildlife alone. Human encounters with young animals often increase in the spring, when many species bear young. Handling, feeding or moving an animal can harm or ultimately kill the animal, and poses a risk for human health and safety. Also, it is illegal to keep native wildlife as a pet in North Carolina.
“Well-meaning people can do tremendous harm,” said Ann May, the Commission’s extension wildlife biologist. “No matter how cute, cuddly, or lost or scared it may appear, the best thing to do is avoid any human interaction.”
Many species, such as white-tailed deer, do not constantly stay with their young and only return to feed them. While a fawn might look abandoned and alone, it is often just waiting for the female to return. A fawn is well-equipped to protect itself. By the time it is 5 days old it can outrun a human, and within a few weeks of birth, can escape most predators. “Spotted and lacking scent, fawns are well camouflaged and usually remain undetected by predators,” May said. “The doe will return to the fawn several times a day to nurse and clean it, staying only a few minutes each time before leaving again to seek food. Taking a fawn from the wild will do more harm than good.”
For other species, the parent may return and become aggressive in an attempt to defend its young. Feeding animals may seem harmless or even helpful. However, it causes the animal to lose its natural fear of humans and seek more human food. An animal may become aggressive or cause property damage in its search for more human food. Wildlife also can transmit diseases, including rabies and roundworm, to humans. In those instances where a young animal is actually orphaned, call the Wildlife Resources Commission at 919-707-0050