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Outdoors report: Fair weather fine for fishing

Fishing activity on High Rock Lake has been moderate as fair weather provides great conditions for anglers.
Crappie, white perch and largemouth bass are very active lake wide.
For crappie, slow trolled jigs and minnows continue to produce limits of fish up to a pound or bigger most days. Try the mouth of Abbott’s Creek, Black’s Bottoms and the mouth of Dutch Second Creek near points and drop-offs for the best results. If you’re using minnows, take at least six dozen, which you can quickly go through on most days.
White perch, which are great for the frying pan, are found on submerged humps and off rocky dropoffs, usually in mid-sized to large schools.
Largemouth bass ranging from 2 to 4 pounds have been caught regularly on small crank baits and mid-sized top water stick baits. Look for surface action as bass chase schools of shad near points and shallow coves .
Fishing should remain good through the first two weeks of November.
High Rock Lake is averaging about 2.5 feet below full, which provides boat access to most portions of the lake. When boating in the extreme northern part of High Rock, be aware of shallow water and the logs and trees scattered across this area.
Hunting
Hunting activity has increased as the weather cools and acorns have begun dropping.
With a heavy acorn crop in most areas, hunters are finding plenty of deer. But this should change as acorns get eaten or covered naturally. Deer harvests have increased in the area, with archery hunters scoring on several trophy bucks.
Hill’s Minnow Farm, eastern Rowan County’s largest sporting goods store, has seen the trophy board beginning to fill up.
Muzzle loading for the Central season opens Saturday, Nov. 8, with regular gun deer season beginning Saturday, Nov. 15.
Reminders before hitting the field:
– Check licenses for the date of expiration and ensure you have a harvest report card (some still call it deer tags) that is current.
– When hunting deer with a firearm or archery hunting during a firearm season, hunters must wear blaze orange visible in all directions.
– License exempt persons such as children and landowners (hunting on their own land) are still required to have a harvest report card issued to them. This is provided at no charge at any Wildlife Service Agent.
– Remember to validate your harvest report card by punching out or cutting the appropriate tag before the big game animal is moved.
– Bonus antlerless deer tags are available for free, with no limit on the number you may obtain. These tags are not valid on game lands and can only be used in counties listed in the maximum either sex season.
Hunter education
A free hunter safety course will be held Nov. 17, 19 and 20 at the Liberty Volunteer Fire Department on Stokes Ferry Road. This three-night course starts at 6 p.m. each evening ending at 10 p.m. Students must attend all three nights and pass the certification exam to receive a certificate. Sign up online at www.ncwildlife.org or show up and register the night of the course.
Wildlife officer honor
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies has presented Master Officer Robert Wayne of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission the Wildlife Officer of the Year award for 2008.
The award came in recognition of outstanding service to conservation and a long list of accomplishments, including a night rescue of a family whose boat was taking on water in rough seas.
“Robert Wayne is a model wildlife officer,” said Maj. Keith Templeton, the supervisor for field operations for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “His standards are unparalleled, his integrity is unmatched and his dedication to protecting wildlife resources and service to sportsmen is without equal.”
Wayne set up waterfowl patrols that resulted in more than 100 charges, including three subjects’ illegally baiting and hunting ducks on Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. A multi-state investigation led to the apprehension of three Florida men for possessing protected species of turtles and snakes. He was also involved with surveillance in a bear poaching case that saw 40 charges, including baiting, closed season hunting and federal felony firearms charges.
Dan Forster is president of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which serves as a clearinghouse for issues on wildlife and fisheries management.
Bear poaching case
Michael Augustus Comstock, 50, of Columbia, N.C. , was recently sentenced in U.S. District Court to six years and six months in prison for possession of a firearm by a felon, plus three years supervised probation upon his release, after a bear poaching case.
Comstock pleaded guilty earlier this month to hunting during a closed season, which resulted in a $2,000 fine, replacement costs of $2,232 and suspension of his hunting license for two years, effective beginning when released from federal penitentiary. He was also required to pay court costs of $121.
Sgt. Mark Cagle of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission led the Tyrrell County investigation, which began April 2007. A stakeout led to apprehension of a suspect and collection of evidence, including a recently killed bear, a stolen 12-gauge shotgun that had been recently fired, a 55-gallon barrel of peanut butter, a 55-gallon barrel of bubblegum and 55-gallon barrel of peppermint candy, as well as observation of hunting dogs released at the bait site where the bear was killed that same morning.
Forensic testing by State Bureau of Investigation revealed the slug that killed the bear matched the stolen shotgun.
In addition to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Wildlife officers involved included Sgt. Mark Rich, Robert Wayne, George Owens, Sgt. Ed Alston, Tim Wadsworth, Jim Schreckengost, Brian White and Nathan Green.
Sportsmen and the general public can report violations by calling the toll free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-662-7137.
The first segment of western bear season continues through Nov. 22; the first segment of eastern bear seasons open vary by county. Consult the 2008-09 regulations digest for local dates and details or call 919-707-0031.
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@ aol.com.
 

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