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Outdoors report: Hunters bagging doves in good numbers

Dove hunters hitting the fields on opening day experienced hot, humid weather and light to moderate shooting until after 5 p.m., when birds began to move to feeding areas.
Some hunters found it hard to keep their guns loaded as birds came in fast and furious. Most hunters had bagged birds, some their limit by day’s end.
Wildlife officers were out in force across the state checking hunting licenses, bag limits and investigating illegal activity.
One backyard shooter was found stationed under a pear tree with a strategically placed hunting stool 12 feet from a scattered bag of corn and 50 yards from three large bird feeders hanging from his back deck. He had placed six dove decoys on his backyard fence in front of the bird feeders. Needless to say charges were issued for hunting dove by the aid of bait.
Hunters are reminded that the first segment of dove season ends at sunset Oct. 4.
Deer season for archers
The central archery season for deer opens 30 minutes before sunrise on Sept. 13.
This is a great time to eye the pattern feeding deer have around soybean fields or other areas that have been planted. Usually by scouting the field edges, you can find trails, and by carefully placing stands or ground blinds, you will regularly see deer.
The hardest part of the whole decision is to choose the most active trails used by the bachelor groups of bucks. Some hunters hope to bag a good buck in “velvet.” For the best chance, you should hunt the first portion of the season since most bucks lose the “velvet” on their horns by the end of September. A little patience, a lot of scentless bug spray and a good sweat rag will usually produce a chance at a nice deer.
Hunting dates
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is cautioning hunters that the start dates for archery season this fall may seem a little different than previous years.
Western deer season opens for bow hunters Monday, Sept. 8. Eastern, Central and Northwestern deer season for bow hunters opens Saturday, Sept. 13.
Most years, Western archery deer season opens on the Monday following the opening Saturday of the rest of the state’s season. This year, however, the Western season opens first, which happens only two out of every seven years.
Under commission rules, the Western season opens on the Monday on or closest to Sept. 10. The Eastern, Central and Northwestern season opens on the Saturday on or closest to Sept. 10.
Only on years when Sept. 10 falls on a Wednesday or Thursday ó such as this year, when it is a Wednesday ó does the Western season open first.
More hunting details
Check the current N.C. inland fishing, hunting and trapping regulations for details on 2008-2009 bag limits, shooting hours and season dates for waterfowl after Oct. 1
– Conventional bag: six ducks with no more than four scoters, four mallards with no more than two hen mallards, three wood ducks, two redheads, one black or mottled duck (season closed until Dec. 13), one pintail, or one fulvous tree duck. Before Jan. 2, the daily bag limit for scaup is one, with a daily bag of two for the remainder of the season. The season on canvasbacks and harlequin ducks is closed. (Possession limits are twice the daily bag unless otherwise noted.)
– Other limits: 1) 15 light geese (Includes snow and blue geese and Ross’ geese), no possession limit 2) three brant 3) five mergansers (two hooded mergansers) 4) seven sea ducks (In special sea duck areas only). In other areas sea ducks are part of the regular duck bag limit. No more than four scoters per day may be taken in either season. 5) 15 coots 6) five dark geese (includes Canada geese and white-fronted geese) in the Resident Hunt Zone, 5 in the Southern James Bay Zone and one per season (permit holders only) in the Northeast Hunt Zone.
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Ducks, Mergansers & Coots
Oct. 1-4, Nov. 8-29 and Dec. 13-Jan. 24 (Black and mottled ducks closed until Dec. 13; Before Jan. 2 the daily bag limit for scaup is one, then the daily bag is two for the remainder of the season).
Youth Waterfowl Day (Species include ducks, geese, mergansers, coots and tundra swans. The youth must have a valid permit to harvest a tundra swan or a Canada goose (NE Hunt zone only).
Jan. 31, 2009.
Youth must be 15 years of age or younger and accompanied by a properly licensed adult. The adult can’t hunt but may participate in other seasons that are open on the special youth day.
You may also call 1-800-675-0263 for this information.
Report all bands by calling 1-800-327-BAND or www.reportband.gov.
Ask a Wildlife Service Agent to see the map for hunt zones or get more details at www.ncwildlife.org
Economic impact
According to the organizers of National Hunting and Fishing Day, people in North Carolina spend more than $1.7 billion annually on their recreational hunting and fishing activities.
National Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday, Sept. 27, recognizes that economic impact while celebrating n and encouraging n outdoor recreation. All four of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s education centers will host and participate in National Hunting and Fishing Day events:
– John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville will hold a wildlife expo for youth. For more information, call Kris Smith at 910-868-5003.
– Centennial Campus Center for Wildlife Education in Raleigh will also hold a wildlife expo. For more information, call Beth Gunn at 919-707-0205.
– Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education in Corolla, will be a part of a Ducks Unlimited Greenwings youth event at Mackay Island Wildlife Refuge. For more information, call Sharon Meade at 252-453-0221 ext. 8.
– Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education near Brevard will hold an introductory fly-fishing seminar, along with fly-fishing and fly-tying demonstrations. For more information, call Emilie Johnson at 828-877-4423.
“Spending by sportsmen supports a wide range of businesses while benefiting wildlife conservation and habitat protection,” said Walter “Deet” James, state hunting heritage biologist. “Those dollars generated by hunting and fishing have a ripple effect throughout the state.”
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently published “The 2006 Economic Benefits of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Watching in North Carolina,” which provides in detail the economic stimulus on market sectors, employment contributions and other factors of this important travel, tourism and recreational demographic.
Fishing
High Rock Lake remains within 2 feet of full. Recent rains raised lake levels over 5 feet in a few days, resulting in large areas of vegetation being submerged.
Largemouth bass have been very active, feeding on shad and other forage fish in the shallows. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times to try these areas.
Plastic worms from 4 to 6 inches are working great when used with very light weight or no weight at all. Top water stick baits that mimic shad or other injured bait fish also work great.
Crappie continue to bite throughout the lake. Minnows are the top bait when fished from 10 to 14 feet deep. Key on points with good dropoffs near the main channel.
Boaters should use caution in all portions of the main channel of High Rock Lake. Large trees, logs and even a deceased cow have been observed floating from Shriner’s Point to Panther Creek. Skiers, tubers and night boaters should keep alert for debris that often float low in the water and are hard to spot.
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.

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