By Don Mallicoat- That magical time of the year tugging at the hunter’s heart is here. Autumn was officially ushered in this past Thursday. The weather should be cooling down, leaves will soon be turning, and in about three weeks MY hunting season starts with the grouse opener on October 17th. Even if hunting is not your thing, this is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. The Wildlife Resources Commission’s Pisgah Wildlife Center may just have a class for you in October.
One of the first on Thursday, October 6th. On the Water: Little River from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. is open to participants 12 and older. Participants can practice their fly-fishing skills on Little River in DuPont State Recreational Forest under the supervision of experienced fly-fishing instructors. Participants will learn about delayed-harvest trout regulations, wading, reading the water, fly selection, presentation, casting, knots and stream entomology. Equipment and materials will be provided. Participants will meet at the Hooker Falls Parking Area.
There are a couple of interesting classes that following Saturday, October 8th. One for the kids is Nature Nuts: Nocturnal Animals from 9 to 11 a.m. Open to ages 4-7. Come spend the morning with Pisgah Center staff and learn about the habits of nocturnal wildlife, animals that are active at night. Activities include a story, craft and time spent outside. For the adult that day try Introduction to Hunting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to participants 12 and older. This course is designed for participants who are new to hunting and want to learn more about this challenging yet reward outdoor pursuit. Topics include hunting skills and methods, game species and signs, hunting safety, game processing, regulations and places to hunt. Participants should bring a bagged lunch.
The following weekend offers a unique class. On Saturday, October 15th, you might want to check out Outdoor Smart Phone Photography from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open to participants 12 and older. Using their mobile devices, participants will learn the basics of photography and composition while focusing on wildlife and their habitats. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring their smart phone, tablet or other mobile device for a morning of clicking and learning.
They close out the month on October 29th with Women’s Introduction to Fly Fishing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to female participants 12 and up. Learn the basics of fly fishing, such as equipment, knots, casting and aquatic entomology. All materials will be provided. Participants should bring a lunch and non-slip shoes or waders. Limited to 6 participants. This is just a sampling of the classes offered during the month to enjoy the Fall weather. To view other classes or register for any of the above go to their website, www.ncwildlife.org/pisgah or call 828-877-4423.
This past week the Buncombe County Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution supporting approval of nearly 3,000 acres of designated Wilderness Area in the Pisgah National Forest. Given the liberal majority led by environmentalist Brownie Newman on the Commission this doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is the unanimity of the resolution. The three Republican members of the Commission just jumped on board the environmental wagon. Did anyone hesitate one minute to think about that other constituency, the hunter?
Folks, it has been proven scientifically over decades: Wilderness Area, an unmanaged forest, has no benefit for wildlife despite what the environmentalists say. I have hunted grouse in the proposed Wilderness area, and quiet successfully I might add. There have been small timber harvests done there in the past and they always hold a few birds. That will be no more with this designation. Do the other Commissioners realize the designation means no motor vehicles will be allowed in roads in that area? Do they know mountain biking is illegal in Wilderness? Have they thought about what happens when a wildfire breaks out and constituents homes are threatened because the Forest Service cannot take mechanical devices in the area? I suspect not. Why don’t leaders make informed decisions based on facts? The Commission just got hoodwinked by the environmentalists.
The good news is the Buncombe Commission stands alone. Twelve other County Commissions in the mountains have voted unanimously to oppose any Wilderness designation in their Counties and that is supported by Senator Tom Tillis’ amendment to a Forest Service Bill that will require County leadership approval before any designation.
Don Mallicoat owns Wings & Clays Guns ‘N Gear and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.633.1806