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Elk Depredation Rules Announced

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By Don Mallicoat- The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission adopted proposed changes to elk management regulations (15A NCAC 10B .0106 – Wildlife Taken for Depredations) during a telephonic commission this past week. The Commission voted to adopt the amendment after reviewing comments collected via mail, email and from a public hearing held in Haywood County in September.

North Carolina statute allows landholders to take wildlife at any time with firearms without a permit or license while it is in the act of destroying their property. The adopted 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. The amendment will take effect on Dec. 1, 2016.

Many people, hunters included, don’t understand the importance of trapping as it relates to game populations. Many of the animals trapped for fur are also predators on small game like grouse, quail, and rabbit. In anticipation of the upcoming trapping seasons, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is partnering with the N.C. Trappers Association to present two voluntary workshops for anyone who is interested in learning more about regulated trapping and trapping techniques. The closest workshop for the mountains will occur on Oct. 29 at the Marion Fish Hatchery at 645 Fish Hatchery Road in Marion from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional workshops will be scheduled throughout the state next year.

Attendees are required to take a free online course prior to the workshop and must present their certificate of completion upon arrival. The online course covers furbearers, furbearer management, ethics and responsibility, running a trapline, trapping safety and best management practices. Attendees of all ages will participate in field demonstrations and learn about trapping safety, rules and regulations. Novices will learn some basics to help them get started, but experienced trappers will also benefit from the workshop taught by highly experienced, certified instructors.

While the workshop is voluntary, it does qualify for reciprocity with other states that require mandatory trapper education in order to obtain a license. To learn more or to register for a workshop, visit www.ncwildlife.org/trappered. It would be great if we could have one of these workshops in the mountains. Experienced trappers interested in becoming a trapper education instructor should contact Geriann Albers, the Commission’s assistant furbearer and black bear biologist, at Geriann.albers@ncwildlife.org or 919-698-4655.

With opening of small game season last week let’s look at some of the currently open, and future opening, seasons. After a two-week hiatus for blackpowder deer season we are back into archery season through November 20th. Bear season is also open through November 19th. From what I’m hearing because of an abundant acorn crop it’s going to be tough hunting for both bear and deer this year. There is so much food it’s difficult to pattern them.

In the small game arena the following seasons are open: raccoon and opossum, squirrel, grouse, and bobcat. Quail and rabbit will open on November 19th. Dove season is currently closed and will re-open on November 21 for the last split of the season. The next split of waterfowl season for ducks and geese opens November 12th and continues through the Thanksgiving holiday to December 3rd. Check the game regulations for bag limits on all.

If you plan on hunting during the gun deer season starting November 21st, your last chance in our area for required Hunter Education training will be November 9 – 10 starting at 6 p.m. each evening at Skyland Fire Department. There is one the week prior November 1 – 2 at Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education near Brevard if you want to make the drive. Registration for both can be done online at www.ncwildlife.org; click on the Hunting tab at the top and Hunter Education on the drop down menu.

I have yet to get out grouse hunting and haven’t heard from any others. The hot, dry weather is keeping many hunters out of the woods. We’ll keep you posted.

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