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Outdoors report: Wildlife officers still investigating bald eagle's death

Wildlife officers responded to a report of a shot raptor or bird of prey in the Churchland community on Sowers Road in Davidson County on Jan. 1.

Found by a concerned sportsman, the dead bird turned out to be an immature bald eagle. Being between 2 and 4 years old, the bird had not yet grown the characteristic white head and white tail feathers that most people associate with a bald eagle.

The bird had two metal leg bands and had been banded in Youngstown, Ohio, in June 2006. It is believed to be the same bird that has been seen throughout the High Rock Lake area the past several months.

A suspect vehicle with two white males was seen near the freshly shot bird on Dec. 28. It was described as a gray or white pickup truck.

A local veterinary clinic X-rayed the body of the bird, confirming the eagle had been shot.

Protected by both state and federal law, bald eagles are listed as a threatened species in the lower 48 states.

Fines for shooting bald eagles can be stiff, costing thousands of dollars with possible prison time with a conviction. Sizable rewards offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the people involved are also available.

Anyone with information on this crime can contact wildlife officer Jeremy Harrill at 704-637-0717 or call toll free 1-800-662-7137.

Fishing

Crappie fishing on High Rock Lake has been great in the past week despite high water conditions.

Some anglers are catching good sized fish weighing more than a pound in shallow water.

Try fishing a jig and cork rig in 4 to 6 feet of water near structures. Minnows also are producing good catches.

Main channel areas are stained to muddy, with logs and other floating objects scattered from Crane Creek to the dam.

Crappie are being caught directly below High Rock dam in the tail race area. Try minnows fished deep with a cork. Try the Rowan County side around the rocks closest to the dam.

Public hearings

Public hearing dates for proposed rules and regulations:

* Wednesday, District 5, Alamance County Courthouse

* Thursday, District 6, South Stanly High School, Norwood

* Jan. 16, District 8, Heritage Middle School, Valdese

* Jan. 17, District 9, Ramsey Center, Cullowhee

* Jan. 18, District 7, Starmount High School, Boonville

* Jan. 23, District 1, Swain Auditorium, Edenton

* Jan. 24, District 2, Craven County Courthouse, New Bern

* Jan. 25, District 3, Annex Building, District Court Room Louisburg

Starting time is 7 p.m. each night.

You are urged to attend these hearings because your opinions and suggestions are carefully reviewed and offer a voice in sound management of all our natural resources.

Many proposed regulations will be reviewed, including changes to bear baiting regulations, bear seasons, spring wild turkey season changes, and adding additional public game lands.

Boat titles

As mandatory motorboat titling takes effect, anyone who purchases or transfers a motorized vessel 14 feet or longer, owns a personal watercraft (jet ski) or has a lien on a vessel, regardless of size, will be required to title the vessel effective Jan 1.

This mandatory titling requirement will affect only new vessel purchases and transfers; existing vessel owners will not be required to obtain a title certificate. The cost will remain $20 and is effective until the owner sells or transfers the vessel.

Fishing licenses

New inland fishing license requirements took effect Jan. 1, with anglers ages 16 years and older using any type of bait or gear to catch finfish in public waters needing to have a valid fishing license. Anglers who receive food stamps, Medicaid or work first family assistance may obtain a written waiver from this new license requirement through their county Department of Social Services.

E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@ aol.com.

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