By Don Mallicoat- We are about a week away from start of the 2016 – 2017 hunting season. Who else besides me is stoked? Being that close let’s look at what we can start hunting in September and the regulations that apply to each. Let’s do these in chronological order starting with Canada Geese.
My hunting seasons past have always started with dove, but Canada Geese have gotten under my skin (for several reasons). The resident population of Canada’s is burgeoning and the keep the population in check the WRC started the early Resident Goose season several years ago. Large flocks of geese can be very destructive to property and cause crop damage. In fact, I’m fortunate to be participating in a goose depredation hunt in our local area due to property damage by a flock of about 75 geese. The season starts September 1st one half hour before sunrise.
To facilitate flock reduction special rules are in effect. Hunters can use electronic calls, shotguns can be unplugged to allow five shells, and the daily bag limit is 15 geese. This season will run through September 30th at sunset. All license requirements remain the same to include a Harvest Information Program (HIP) certificate and a Federal waterfowl stamp. Non-toxic shot must be used. If you know a farmer who has geese coming in to their fields ask permission. My guess is you will be more than welcome.
Next up is the perennial favorite, dove season starting September 3rd. Until a few years ago the season opened at noon on the first day and then the WRC changed it to a ½ hour before sunrise opener. Since they are migratory, you must have a plugged shotgun holding no more than three shells. License requirements are the same with HIP certificate required. The daily bag limit is 15 birds and daily shooting ends at sunset. The first split of the season ends October 8th. If you want to hunt Sandy Mush Game Lands you have to have a permit the first week of the season through September 10th. I checked and all permits have been issued.
Now to probably the most popular game animal in North Carolina, the whitetail deer. In the western region, archery deer hunting starts on September 10th and runs through October 2nd for the first split of the season. Hunters may harvest up to six deer with two of them being antlered and there is no daily bag limit. Last year the WRC started a Youth Deer Hunting Day. This year it is September 24th which is also National Hunting and Fishing Day. On this day youth under 16 may use any legal weapon to hunt deer of either sex. This includes rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, and archery equipment. If accompanied by an adult (highly recommended), the adult must use only that weapon authorized for the season. Here in the mountains that means archery. All hunters must wear blaze orange no matter what weapon they use.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission requests public comment on proposed changes to elk management regulations, 15A NCAC 10B .0106 (Wildlife Taken for Depredations). A public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8 at the Haywood Community College auditorium, located at 185 Freedlander Drive in Clyde.
The proposed amendment will require a landowner who takes a depredating elk without a Commission-issued depredation permit to report that take to the Commission within 24 hours of the kill. Additionally, a landowner who takes a depredating elk with a Commission-issued depredation permit must report it on the form provided with the permit. Reports of elk taken in depredation situations will aid Wildlife Commission staff in monitoring the size and composition of North Carolina’s elk herd. Because the elk population in North Carolina is small, it is important to document each mortality to ensure the Commission can base management decisions on the best available data. The comment period for the proposed regulation will run through Oct. 14, 2016.
Also if you missed the Bear Management meeting at Haywood Community College last week I’m told you will be able to make comments on line at some point. I just checked the Commission’s website to see if there was an on line comment link and did not see one. If it does appear we’ll let you know.
Don Mallicoat owns Wings & Clays Guns ‘N Gear in Asheville and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.633.1806