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Get Started Turkey Hunting
By Don Mallicoat- Even as small game season winds down, it’s time to start thinking about turkey season which is only about two months away. By all indications based on what I’m hearing, we have a burgeoning turkey population here in the mountains. If you haven’t turkey hunted before, this may be the year to start and the Wildlife Resources Commission has both introductory and advanced seminars to get you started. The introductory seminars are designed for novice turkey hunters or those who have never hunted turkey, but all are welcome. Topics will include biology, hunting methods, calls and decoys, firearms and ammo selection, camouflage clothing, and turkey cleaning and cooking techniques.

The advanced seminars are for experienced turkey hunters, but all are welcome. Focus will be on advanced biology, and more complex hunting tactics, calls and decoys. Advanced seminars will include tips and strategies for dealing with stubborn, hard-to-hunt gobblers and include cleaning and cooking techniques as well. A question-and-answer session, along with a brief overview of hunter recruitment, retention and re-activation initiatives, will conclude each seminar.

In our immediate area seminars will be held at Haywood Community College in Clyde. The Introductory class will be on March 30th and the Advanced on March 31st. Both sessions are from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. Depending on where you live in the reading area it may be closer to go to classes at Caldwell County Extension Center in Lenoir with the Introductory seminar on April 6th and Advanced the following day on April 7th. Times are the same. Pre-registration is required at the Commission’s website. The regular turkey season runs from April 9th through May 7th with a Youth week April 2-8.

The courts have given gun owners some good news stemming from Maryland’s recent legislation severely restricting gun ownership. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today overturned a federal district court decision that had upheld the 2013 State of Maryland Firearm Safety Act as constitutional under intermediate scrutiny review.

Writing for the three-judge appellate court panel that heard the case, Kolbe v. Maryland, Chief Judge William B. Traxler wrote: “In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment — ‘the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home, District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570,635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard or review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim.”

The court vacated the district court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ claims and remanded the case to the lower court, ordering that it apply the appropriate strict standard of review. “We are greatly heartened by the Fourth Circuit panel’s ruling today,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), one of the lead plaintiffs in this case. “As this important case goes forward, NSSF will continue to work with our co-plaintiffs to ensure that our citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected and that the lawful commerce in firearms is restored in support of this constitutional protection.”

I don’t know how many of you watched it, but UNC-TV showed America’s First Forest, Carl Schenck & the Asheville Experiment on February 3th. It is the story of how George Vanderbilt brought in Gifford Pinchot and then Carl Schenck to restore the forests on the land around Biltmore Estate after it had been clear cut to meet America’s growing lumber demand in the late 1800’s. If you missed it is worth watching a rebroadcast.

What is significant about the one hour program is while showing how Schenck started the first Forestry School in American, which is now the Cradle of Forestry near Brevard, it also explains the forestry model that he taught and was also fundamental to the formation of the current National Forest system started by President Teddy Roosevelt and his first Chief of Forestry, Gifford Pinchot. I think anyone who participates in the Forest Service public meeting process should be required to watch the program. Why? Because it does a wonderful job of explaining the sustainable forestry model Schenck developed through his work at Biltmore. The model developed over years of experiments shows that a forest can be managed for multiple uses: recreation, wildlife habitat, and timber production for income. It should be required viewing. Check out

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