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Outdoors report: Muzzle-loaders out; regular deer season opens Saturday

Muzzle-loading firearm season for deer began on Saturday in the central deer season, which includes Rowan County.
Hunters hit the woods in large numbers, taking advantage of fair weather and the start of rutting activity in local deer herds.
Hill’s Minnow Farm reported good numbers of deer checked in by successful hunters from across the area throughout opening day. Muzzle-loading deer season remains open until 30 minutes after sunset on Friday.
Regular gun deer season for the central season begins on Saturday, 30 minutes before sunrise.
Some reminders:
– If you’re hunting deer during the firearm season, you are required to wear blaze orange regardless of the weapon used.
– Validate your harvest report card before moving a big game animal from the site of harvest.
– When hunting in Rowan county, it is illegal to possess a loaded firearm on a state road right-of-way.
– After processing your deer, dispose of the remaining bones, skin, etc. in a sanitary and legal method.
– To register your big game harvest by phone, call 1-800-I GOT ONE or take it to a local Wildlife Service Agent that registers big game.
Only proposals
Some incorrect information regarding the current hunting season and the 2009 deer season has circulated throughout the hunting community.
Rumors fueled by partial information, or totally false statements, have resulted in hunters expressing concern and confusion. The proposals haven’t passed or changed, and won’t until nine public hearings are held across the state.
After a review of comments and recommendations of North Carolina Wildlife management professionals, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commissioners will make a final decision.
The following is a summary of a portion of the 49 proposed changes to hunting and trapping regulations for the 2009-2010 season.
– Remove the daily bag limit for deer
– Allow hunters to use archery equipment to harvest deer during the muzzle loading firearms season on game lands.
– Allow the use of crossbows, without permit, anytime bow and arrows are legal weapons.
– Shorten the bow season by one week and lengthen the muzzleloader season by one week to create a two week muzzleloader season. Currently on private land archery equipment can be used during muzzleloader season.
– Establish a uniformed deer season (matching the current Eastern Deer Season) east of Yancy, McDowell, and Rutherford counties with the following structure:
1. Bow and arrow season opens on the Saturday on or nearest to Sept. 10 and ends the fourth Friday thereafter.
2. Muzzleloader season opens the Saturday on or nearest to Oct. 8, and ends the following Friday.
3. All lawful weapon seasons opens the Saturday on or nearest to Oct. 15 and ends Jan. 1.
4. Bow and arrow will be allowed during the muzzleloader season.
– Open all counties in and east of Yancy, McDowell and Rutherford to the maximum either sex season.
– Assign all of Moore county to the eastern deer season.
– Eliminate the winter either-sex turkey season.
– Replace youth only wild turkey season with a friends and family afield wild turkey season. This season shall be the first Saturday in April and every person hunting on that day must be accompanied by at least one other person. Shooting hours during this season shall end at 1 p.m.
– Open spring wild turkey season the day after friends and family afield and end the season the Saturday of the fourth week thereafter. During the first six days of this season hours end at 1 p.m.
– Limit the total bag for wild turkey during the friends and family afield wild turkey season and the first six days of the spring season to one.
– Require hunters to attach a physical tag to big game harvest at the site of the harvest. Delay implementation of this rule change to the fall 2010 hunting season.
– Change the season on red and gray squirrels to run from Oct. 1 through the second Saturday in February.
– Allow bow hunting on Sunday, except for migratory birds.
– Remove firearm restrictions allowed on game lands during open hunting seasons but while big game seasons are closed.
The public hearing for Wildlife District Six, which includes Rowan County will be Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. in Norwood at South Stanly High School.
Night hunting For a Guilford County resident, it wasn’t just about poachers hunting deer at night n it was personal.
On Oct. 16, Officer Nathan Green with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission responded to a report of possible night deer hunting along Harvest Road in the McLeansville area and joined a Guilford County Sheriff’s deputy in charging two men and two women with night deer hunting and possession of illegally taken game.
The man who made the initial report said he had been watching a seven-point buck in the area and was waiting to take his 9-year-old son hunting for it.
The investigation continued with a traffic stop of a pickup truck occupied by two women with a dead deer in the bed. Lt. Todd Kennedy, a K-9 officer for the district with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, was called to assist in searching for other suspects. Two men later turned themselves in, and evidence, including two additional deer, was seized.
Wildlife officers remind hunters to help apprehend poachers and prevent wildlife violations by calling 1-800-662-7137 anytime. Callers can remain anonymous.
Forester honored
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which helps manage and protect fish and wildlife in 15 states, has presented its Wildlife Management Excellence Award to North Carolina’s Dean Simon.
A wildlife forester, Simon has developed a controlled burn program for the southern Appalachian mountains, benefiting dozens of species, including bear, deer, turkey, grouse, rabbits, quail and reptiles.
The award was presented in Corpus Christi, Texas, in October.
n n nE-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.

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