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Outdoors report: Hunters find plenty of success before turkey season closes

Turkey season closed Saturday across North Carolina, and hunters throughout our area having a good season.
Several bragging boards were filled with pictures of successful hunts. Gobblers weighing more than 20 pounds seemed to be the norm, not the exception.
Local Wildlife Officers worked a several reports of illegal hunting, which resulted in several arrests. In one case, hunters saw a suspect stop along the roadside and shoot a hen turkey. The suspect was found and charged.
Officers also worked numerous areas that were baited with corn, bird seed, wheat and other grains. Seven people were charged with hunting by the aid of bait in Rowan and Davidson counties. On one site, officers watched as a suspect placed a decoy directly in a large pile of bird seed, then sat in a ground blind and began to call for birds. He and another person were charged. If convicted, a suspect can face fines starting at $250, the loss of hunting equipment associated with the crime, loss of hunting privileges, replacement cost if a bird was killed of $1,600 and any other punishment the court may order.
Fishing
Fishing has been great despite weekly rain storms and muddy water. On High Rock Lake, largemouth bass have been hitting as they finish their spawning, otherwise known as “bedding.”
Fish ranging from 3-5 pounds have been seen regularly in creels. Most creeks on High Rock are clear to slightly stained, with the main channel from Crane Creek and up muddy. Water temperatures are near 70 degrees.
Crappie are continuing to bite most everywhere, with catches of 100 not unusual for boaters who troll. A wide choice of jig colors are working with black/green, and blue/black with a green tail a hot choice. Of course, minnows are always a good choice and work well most anywhere.
White perch or “waccamaws” are hitting hard and fast. Fishermen are filling buckets and coolers with these aggressive, hard hitting pan fish. Try High Rock dam off of Bringle Ferry Road for the hottest action. Cross the bridge and enter into Davidson County, park in the public parking area on the left side of the roadway. Follow the paved road behind the large metal gate that goes to the powerhouse of the dam. Use worms or cut bait with small hooks and up to 2 ounces of weight. Fish the bottom just in front of the wall with the metal railing.
Catfish are hitting well with channel and blue cats up to 10 pounds seen daily. Cut-bait is the top choice of most fishermen, with worms and stink bait usually seen producing some good catches also. Flathead catfish are starting to bite, with several over 20 pounds being caught recently. The next three weeks should really see these fish begin to hit. For the trophy fish, use live bait, such as bluegill, white perch, gold fish or shad. Fish areas near the tail races of local power dams for great action.
White bass and stripers have been active on Tuckertown and Badin lakes. On Tuckertown Lake, fishing near High Rock dam has been good, with stripers over 10 pounds caught almost everyday the last two weeks. On Badin Lake, large numbers of stripers and white bass have been reported at the tail race of the dam and near the golf course on the main lake. Live shad is the hottest bait for the stripers, with jigs and spinners working well for the white bass.
Boating safety courses
These free boating courses are open to the public and run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:
May 23: Rowan Rescue Squad, Officer J.S Isley, 704-278-2236.
June 6: Liberty Volunteer Fire Department, Officer J.B Harrill, 704-637-0717.
June 13: Rowan Rescue Squad, Officer J.S Isley,
July 18: Rowan Rescue Squad, Officer J.B Harrill.
For information in other counties go to www.ncwildlife.org and click education or call 919-707-0031.
Wear a life vest
During National Safe Boating Week (May 16 ń 22) and throughout the boating season, remember to practice safe and responsible boating by always wearing your life vest and remaining alert and aware while on the water.
North Carolina requires anyone younger than 13 to wear an appropriate life vest when on a recreational vessel that is underway. Anyone riding a personal watercraft or being towed by one must also wear an appropriate life vest.
Both state and federal regulations require that a Type I, II or III personal flotation device in good condition and of appropriate size be accessible for each person onboard a recreational vessel, including canoes, kayaks, rowboats and other non-motorized craft.
Sailboards, racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes and racing kayaks are exempt from this requirement.
“Accidents can happen quickly and without warning,” said Capt. Chris Huebner, the state boating safety coordinator. “In those situations, there often isn’t time to grab a life vest and put it on properly before you are in the water. The best preparation is to wear it whenever you are underway. A life vest can be a life saver when it’s worn. It also gives you the ability to assist others who may be in danger.”
When choosing a life vest for a child, always check for:
– U.S. Coast Guard approved label
– A proper match to the child’s weight
– Fitting that is snug but comfortable
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.

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