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Sunday Hunting Still an Issue

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Now comes news that West Virginia is in on the act. The state legislature there took a different approach and allowed the counties to make the decision separately. To date four counties have chosen to do so and the state has approved their request. It is time our General Assembly take up this issue and pass legislation that allows for open Sunday hunting on all lands, private and public. I discuss this issue with people all the time and there is no cogent, fact based reason to restrict any hunting on Sunday. And here is one of the reasons they should allow it.

Hunting has an economic impact on a state’s economy. Research by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) shows that hunting supports nearly 700,000 jobs nationwide. Nearly 14 million hunters spent $38 billion dollars on their sport and that generated about $12 billion dollars in tax revenue. As long as North Carolina does not allow Sunday hunting we will suffer at out-migration of hunters to neighboring states. And that is money that should stay here.

There is an important meeting coming up July 10th and all hunters in District 9 need to mark their calendars and take that day off work to attend (it is a Thursday). The meeting will be held at the Crown Plaza Resort in Asheville. The US Forest Service (USFS) in North Carolina will be continuing their series of public meetings to discuss revisions to their long range plans. This meeting will be focused on wildlife habitat and ecosystem diversity. Thanks to the efforts of WRC field staff and conservation groups led by hunters, wildlife habitat is one of three top issues determined from earlier meetings.

By USFS figures, all management areas should be somewhere between five and fifteen percent young forest growth for wildlife. Across the board they are only at one percent. This should be the most critical issue as they revise their long range plan. It will only be so if hunters continue to push wildlife habitat as a key issue. You can get more details at the USFS website, www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision.

Bear encounters in suburban neighborhoods continue to increase in the mountain region. It seems people just will not listen to advice from the WRC. First and foremost, never feed a black bear — intentionally or unintentionally. Bears are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything. Bears are particularly attracted to human garbage, pet food, and other human-associated foods, like bird seed. For this reason, if a bear is in the area, people should remove bird feeders and hummingbird feeders, even those advertised as “bear proof.”

May, June and July are the times when bears start showing up in more populated areas where they’re not normally seen, according to Colleen Olfenbuttel, black bear biologist with the Commission. These young bears, called transient bears, are usually young males who have spent the first year and a half of their lives with the adult female

When the Wildlife Commission receives a report of a transient bear in an area, staff assesses the situation to determine if the bear poses a threat to public safety or property, or if the bear is significantly threatened. In almost all cases, the Wildlife Commission advises that the best approach is a hands-off approach, allowing the bear to leave on its own.

Things you can do to decrease the intrusion of bears in your neighborhood are: Sprinkle ammonia or other strong disinfectants on garbage cans to make the odor and taste of food undesirable; Install electric fencing, which will protect bee hives, dumpsters, gardens, compost piles and other potential food sources; and, talk to neighbors to ensure everyone in the community is learning about co-existing with bears and working together to prevent conflicts between bears and humans.

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