We’ve had a lot of people coming into the shop asking about Hunter Safety class availability. The WRC typically doesn’t schedule many during the winter and hunting months. There are some scheduled in our area during March in preparation for the mid-April turkey opener. Sign up as soon as possible on the WRC website, www.ncwildlife.org. All classes are two days and run from 6 – 9 p.m. The first will be at Skyland Fire Department in Arden March 2 – 3. A week later there is one in Madison County at the Cooperative Extension Office March 9 – 10. There are two overlapping classes in the middle of the month: March 14 – 15 at Haywood Community College and March 15 – 16 at the Pisgah Wildlife Education Center near Brevard.
It doesn’t have much impact here in the mountains, but North Carolina will be conducting a Conservation Order Snow Goose hunt for the first time this year. All our mountain waterfowlers may want to contact their coastal duck guides to check into this. The season is February 15 through March 31. There is no daily bag limit, no magazine capacity limit, and electronic calls may be used. The only restrictions are that you must you non-toxic shot and apply for a permit from the WRC. You can do that at their website. Should prove interesting and I’m looking at getting a group together to head to the coast.
SHOT (Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade) Show is this week in Las Vegas. As a firearms retailer and member of the outdoor press we can always go but never have. I’ve been to Las Vegas before and don’t have a lot of desire to go back, but may have to if I want to attend. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) which hosts the show rotated for many years between there and Orlando, FL. It just got so big the Orlando facility could no longer support the event. Guess it’s something to add to my bucket list.
Normally there is some pre-SHOT buzz about new gun introductions. All I’m seeing so far is modifications to existing models by larger firearms manufacturers. The only new gun, and it was introduced before Christmas, is the Ruger American pistol in 9mm and .45 ACP. Already seen some reviews about it and mostly positive. Somebody may be holding back a surprise and if there is breaking news it will be in next week’s column.
Something we don’t mention much during the winter is opportunities for fishing and we really should. With the mild winter weather we are having it is a great time to get out and try some of the delayed harvest and even some of the Hatchery Supported waters. Hatchery waters will close February 29th but Delayed Harvest will remain open. The best source for updated information we have found is WNC Fly Fishing Trail (www.flyfishingtrail.com). Most of their reports are for the more western counties but they information can apply for most waters.
They report that most of the rivers and streams are yielding average to above average action mostly early morning at sunrise and late in the afternoon after the water has warmed up. Some of the flies they recommend for larger waters are wooly boogers and stonefly nymphs for wet flies and caddis and blue winged olive for dry flies. On small streams like those in the Smokies try a dark caddis blue dun or Adam dry fly and black stone and hares Ear nymphs along with small size wooly boogers.
One last note about the President’s recent announcement on his Executive Action on gun violence. Nothing I have seen or heard from the action will actually reduce gun crime. I am glad to see the proposal to add more ATF agents and increase staff at the NICS call center. My only concern is the reporting by medical professionals of people they are concerned about who own guns. This could be easily abused by a doctor with an anti-gun agenda. We shall wait and see.