Annual Boating Safety Campaign Starts

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Many roadway and waterway accidents are alcohol-related. In North Carolina, a driver or vessel operator with a blood-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds .08, or is appreciably impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, is subject to arrest. The campaign is coordinated by the Wildlife Commission, State Highway Patrol and Forensic Tests for Alcohol, and supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Governor’s Highway Safety Program, U.S. Coast Guard and local police and sheriff’s offices, along with participating non-governmental organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive’ is a partnership, with the most important partner being safe drivers,” said Sgt. Allen Carlisle, a wildlife officer who patrols Lake Norman.

The Outdoor Heritage Act we reporting on last week is gathering steam and was to go to a floor vote in the House this week. The latest to endorse the bill is the Wildlife Resources Commission. Last week they adopted a resolution supporting a bill that would promote wildlife-related recreation and youth involvement in outdoor activities across the state. Wildlife Commissioners took the action Tuesday in support of House Bill 640. “This legislation provides a comprehensive blueprint to increase opportunities to enjoy North Carolina’s rich outdoor heritage,” said Gordon Myers, executive director of the Wildlife Commission.

The resolution cites the importance of provisions in the bill that focus on private property rights, increased access to public land, additional hunting opportunities and promotion of a wide range of outdoor recreation, including horseback riding, hiking, bird watching, hunting, fishing and boating. These provisions include creation of a trust fund to engage youth in outdoor activities. The fund would be made possible by $2 donations made during transactions with the Wildlife Commission, such as purchasing hunting and fishing licenses.

The bill would increase hunting opportunities on Sunday on private lands. Currently, only archery and falconry are allowed for hunting on Sunday on private lands. Hunting on Sunday on public lands is limited to military installations under federal jurisdiction. The resolution states House Bill 640 aligns seamlessly with the goals of the Wildlife Commission’s Strategic Plan, particularly in regard to youth, access and expanded opportunity.

According to reports from Curtis Wright Outfitters in Weaverville fishing has been on fire over the past week with even some great days of dry fly fishing as well. Delayed Harvest rivers are stocked and the fish are ready and hot. Fish normal attractor patters followed by the more realistic standards and get ready. Great reports of numbers and size have both been coming in from guides and our customers. Water levels are a bit up in some areas and expect the levels to rise a bit more over the next few. Fish the slower moving sections of water and get deep. Streamers should not be overlooked or ignored. Stocked fish love movement so make sure to try different things, but most importantly get out there!! Bugs to try include: Quill Gordons, Black Caddis, Black Stones, March Browns, Yellow Sallies, Red Quills, and Midges. For fly patterns that are successful try: Rubber Legged Princes, Double Bead Stones, Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails, Eggs, Worms, Wooly Boogers, Parachute March Browns, Irresistible Wulffs, Ausable Wulffs, Thunderheads, and Olive Stimulators.

I got a chance to go out turkey hunting last week with no success. A big tom my friend had been patterning for a week decided to change on the day I went out. I was set up with my Mojo Shake-n-Jake decoy in his strutting zone before daylight. I heard him gobble on the roost and fly down. I hit him with a few yelps and it sounded like he was headed my way. Then I heard a hen yelp and fly down off the roost landing next to him. Many hunters I’ve talked to relayed similar experiences with toms still henned up. I suspect success will improve when most hens are on the nest and toms get lonely. Remember the season ends May 9.

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