Outdoors report: Deer hunters hoping for one more buck

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deer hunters are still hitting the woods looking to bag that trophy buck before the season ends on Jan. 1.
One of the largest Wildlife Service agents in Rowan County, Hill’s Minnow Farm has registered more than 400 deer so far this season.
With successful hunters coming in everyday, the 500 mark could be reached before the close of the season.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission offers several methods to register a big game harvest. A successful hunter may call toll free 1-800-I GOT ONE (1-800-446-8663) and follow the recorded prompts to receive an authorization number. Have a pen ready to write the number on your license.
A hunter with computer access can register a harvest via the Internet at www. ncwildlife.org by clicking the icon for big game harvest. This takes less than a minute usually.
The other option is to take the harvest to a local Wildlife Service Agent, who will record the harvest and give you a registration number.
With many successful hunters coming home with fresh meat, many are looking for area processors to cut and package the harvest. Jeff Brooks & Sons at 585 Eller Road in Rockwell offers standard processing beginning at $55. The business is a hopping place most evenings and provides a valuable service to hunters and nonhunters who often are given deer meat as a gift. Summer sausage, burgers and steaks are just a few choices provided for the processing fee.
Customers bringing in wild game are required by law to provide basic information, including name, address and where the animal was harvested or from who it was acquired. Packaged meat is usually ready for pickup in a few days.
Eyes on safety
As deer season approaches the closing date, hunters are reminded to continue to practice safety in both tree stands and when discharging firearms. Several local hunters have been injured in falls from tree stands and from gunshots.
One hunter fell from a ladder stand and seriously injured his back while attempting to move a ladder stand. Several fatal falls from tree stands have occurred across the state this season.
Other injuries include a self-inflicted shotgun blast while duck hunting and a hunter failing to maintain a safe zone of fire and hitting his companion with buckshot while driving deer.
Safety tips to remember:
– Always treat every firearm as loaded.
– Always point your firearm in a safe direction.
– Be familiar with what is beyond your target.
– Maintain safe pre-determined zones of fire.
– Wear a blaze orange hat and vest.
– Wear a body harness when hunting in elevated stands.
– Never fire at a target that cannot be fully identified.
– Always let someone know of the area you are hunting and your estimated time of return.
Small game hunting
Small game hunters have been reporting good numbers of rabbits as they take advantage of fair weather in December.
The busiest days usually occur after deer season closes since most prefer not to be out when big game hunters are afield. Areas to consider on public game lands that have excellent habitat for rabbits include:
– Alcoa game lands located on New London Road, in Stanly County. Located about one mile off of Stokes Ferry Road, this game land borders Royals Creek and provides some standing timber with plenty of brush piles and briar patches. The cut-over is about two years old. Be aware of private land that borders the northeast side of the property and the state roadway that extends the entire length of the parcel.
– Alcoa game land accessed off of Reeve’s Island Road in Rowan County. Recently reconditioned logging roads criss-cross the portion that extends from Reeves Island Road to Flat Creek on Tuckertown Lake. This provides easy walking and the ability to cut off a circling cotton tail. You can enjoy a day of hunting in this area without much concern for road traffic and often with very few other hunters in the area once deer season closes.
Some private land border this area and is usually well marked. Avoid running dogs near those borders. Your dog can’t read the no trespassing signs but you can.
Gray/red squirrel closes Jan. 31.
Rabbit, quail, grouse, bobcat, raccoon and opossum seasons closes Feb. 28.
Fishing has remained steady despite cold weather with crappie fishermen continuing to bring in great catches on High Rock Lake.
Bank and boat fishermen are catching fish up to a pound regularly. Minnows are working great as are slow trolled jigs in yellow/white and pearl colors.
Dutch Second Creek at the Bringle Ferry Road bridge is an easily walked to spot for bank fishermen. Using minnows, most fishermen are catching a limit of fish during a afternoon.
Fishermen are catching striped bass using buck-tails and small sassy shad plastics in the 3-inch long range.
Main channel areas and Abbott’s Creek have seen action in the past two weeks. Look for seagulls diving on schooling fish and fish the edges of the area.
Recent rain has muddied most upper portions of High Rock Lake and many of the feeder creeks. Watch for floating waterborne hazards such as logs, trees and an occasional tire or barrel. Most portions of High Rock Lake are accessible by boat given the higher water levels.
Deer meat registry
The N.C. Bowhunters Association has created a fantastic method for hunters to provide fresh meat to anyone that would like to have it.
There is no fee for this program and it is done on a volunteer basis by the participating hunter and person who wants to be on the list to receive a harvest.
Here’s how it works: Anyone wishing to acquire venison for their own personal use can e-mail their name, phone number (including area code) and county of residence to NCBA1975@ triad.rr.com or to NCBA Deer Donation Registry, 7796 NC Hwy 68 N, Stokesdale, NC 27357.
The bowhunters group will publish a roster of names and telephone numbers of individuals wishing to acquire deer meat at http:// www.ncbowhunter.com/
Hunters can access this information, by county of residence, and call the person on the registry roster ahead of time and make arrangements to deliver the deer to them after the harvest.
The only responsibility the hunter has is to field dress the animal and deliver it.
It is the responsibility of the recipient of the deer (or feral hog) to take care of processing. If the hunter wants to assist in skinning and quartering the animal, it is his/her choice to do so, but they may not accept any fee or donation for doing so.
It is unlawful for anyone to sell wildlife.
For more information or to download the forms required, visit http://www. ncbowhunter.com/

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