Outdoor column – Watch for elusive wildlife
Wildlife viewing opportunities are great during the summer months in our area.
Evening times from 7 to dark are great times to catch a glimpse of deer with young or bucks in bachelor groups. Choose rural areas with soybean fields, look toward field edges and back portions of the fields. Deer can be seen regularly in most locations.
Check out wheat and hay fields for rabbits, groundhogs, fox and coyotes. Fox and coyotes are much harder to sight than other animals, but in areas where you have unobstructed views of large fields, the chances are greater.
Remember, however, never enter private property without permission, and when viewing from the roadside, be sure to pull onto the side, out of the lane of travel and be alert for approaching vehicles.
You also can see a wide variety of birds along the shores of High Rock Lake and the Yadkin River. Great blue herons, snowy egrets, kingfishers, osprey and occasional bald eagles can be observed from several locations. Areas to consider around High Rock Lake include Dutch Second Creek near Stokes Ferry Road and York Hill boating access area just up stream from Old Hwy 29.
Tuckertown Lake at the public recreation area at Bringle Ferry Road and Flat Creek fishing access area on River Road are great places also. A pair of binoculars or a spotting scope will give the best chance at a close up view of wildlife.
Fishing still strong
Fishermen continue to find hungry fish across High Rock Lake and the Yadkin River. Largemouth bass are active in the early morning and late evening on shallow flats near drop-offs and rocky points. As the day heats up, fish usually move onto deep water structure and can be caught on jigs and crank baits. With large schools of shad scattered in most every area of the lake, look for surface action early, then use your depth finder to locate feeding fish on deeper water schools of shad.
White perch and white bass can be seen on the surface hitting schools of shad most evenings. Try the mouth of Dutch Second Creek at the triple danger buoys, fish the submerged sandbar on the main channel side. Good baits include twister tailed jigs, rooster-tailed spinners, small surface jerk baits all in white or pearl color and live minnows.
Crappie continue to bite, although smaller fish tend to be caught more often. Fish exceeding a pound are seen daily, but you may have to land 20 to 30 small ones before a slab gets a chance to bite. Night fishing is producing good catches of legal fish at Bringle Ferry Road Bridge, Abbott’s Creek N.C. 8 bridge and Flat Swamp railroad bridge. Live minnows are the No. 1 choice, with pearl/white and black/green jigs also producing some fair fish.
Catfish are hitting well, with channel catfish being caught most everywhere. Chicken liver, cut-bait, worms, and stink bait are the most common bait of choice. Fish weighing up to 10 pounds are common.
Flathead catfish are biting well, with fish exceeding 20 pounds seen regularly. Use live bluegill, white perch or shad for the best chance at catching a trophy fish. Fish late evenings and night on flats near rocky drop-offs or stump fields.
High Rock Lake conditions are clear, with water levels just under 5 feet below full. Boaters should continue to use caution when navigating in the upper portions of Dutch Second, Crane and Swearing creeks and the main channel upstream of Shriner’s Point. Several large partially submerged logs are scattered in the main channel from Crane Creek upstream.
Tuckertown Lake is clear, with levels averaging about 1 foot below full. Aquatic vegetation is heavy in most all shallow water, making fishing difficult in some areas. Boaters are advised to attempt to pull off any of these plants that may be hung on the motor or boat before launching into another lake. This can help in keeping the spread of unwanted invasive plants into other bodies of water.
Big Game Committee Report
Committee reports were just a part of the agenda at the July 9 meeting of commissioners for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, but the Big Game Committee’s report has have sparked comments and questions by sportsmen across the state.
The commission took no action, but among the ideas the committee discussed were:
– A uniform deer season across the state that allows hunters to hunt with a legal weapon of choice on private properties while maintaining traditional muzzleloader and bowhunting seasons on game lands.
– Opening wild turkey season a week earlier but not extending the season.
– Allowing Sunday bowhunting and falconry.
Commissioners also discussed possible legislative solutions for maintaining and protecting hunting with hounds for deer and bear, while protecting rights of private property owners.
While the Wildlife Commission sets regulations for hunting, trapping and inland fishing, only the General Assembly can legislate changes to laws, such as hunting coyotes at night with lights, which the committee also discussed.
Staff findings are submitted in October for approval by wildlife commissioners and then go to the public for comment. The Wildlife Commission has nine jurisdictional districts across the state and holds annual public hearings on hunting, trapping, fishing and conservation concerns in January in each district. Before any changes are made to regulations, proposals are subject to public comment, online, in writing and at the public hearings.
The 19 wildlife commissioners are appointed by the governor, speaker of the N.C. House and the president pro tem of N.C. Senate and serve until reappointed or replaced. Wildlife commissioners next meet Aug. 27, a Wednesday, at agency headquarters, 1751 Varsity Drive, Raleigh.
Dove Season set
Dove season opens statewide Sept. 1, 2008 at noon and closes at sunset, then opens 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset each day thereafter. The daily bag limit is 15 dove per hunter per day.
The season is split into three: Sept. 1-Oct. 4; Nov. 24-29; and Dec. 12-Jan. 10, 2009.
Canada goose season opens Sept. 1 and lasts through Sept. 30 statewide. Shooting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset in that area west of U.S. 17, during the month of September only. Daily bag limit is 8 per hunter per day. If hunting in Dare County, check regulations for stricter guidelines.
September Teal season opens Sept. 20 and ends Sept. 30 east of U.S. 17 only. The daily bag limit is 4 per hunter per day and includes blue- and green-winged and cinnamon teal.
In response to first-time hunting license buyers rushing to get a hunting education course prior to the opening of dove and deer seasons, three free Hunter Education courses are scheduled in Rowan County in August. Students must complete the all course hours and pass a certification test . You can sign up online at the Wildlife Commission’s Web site, www.ncwildlife.org. Click education.
The courses scheduled are:
– Aug. 21-22 ó Rowan County Wildlife Club, 650 Majolica Road, Salisbury. Starts at 6 p.m. To sign up, call Claude Parris, 704-279-4049.
– Aug. 27-29 ó Rowan County Wildlife Club, 650 Majolica Road, Salisbury. Starts at 6 p.m. To sign up, call Gary Steeley at 704-791-9743.
– Aug. 29-30 ó Rowan County Rescue Squad, 1140 Julian Road, Salisbury. Starts at 6 p.m. To sign up, call Tommy Kimball at 704-636-5324.