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Outdoors report Heading to the lake? Get there safely

If you want to make sure you’re towing your boat safely, perform a safety inspection before each trip.
Always make sure:
n The pin securing the ball mount to the receiver is intact.
n The hitch coupler is secured.
n The spring bar hinges are tight with the safety clips in place (load equalizer or weight distributing hitches).
n Safety chains are properly attached.
n The electrical plug is properly installed.
When you’re checking for potential problems, look at the wheel for missing or loose lugs; grease buddy bearings when needed; add air if tires are low on pressure or replace if they show excessive wear; have a serviceable spare tire; and make sure stop and turn signals work.
People who tow trailers share the same safety concerns as RV owners. However, a tow vehicle and a trailer form an articulated (hinged) vehicle that presents an additional set of concerns. The weight considerations of the vehicle are important to safe towing.
The tow vehicle must be a proper match for the trailer. If the trailer is properly equipped, it can perform safely under a variety of driving conditions. The tow vehicle should also have enough performance to climb mountain grades without excessive loss of speed and pull a heavy boat with trailer up steep boat ramps. Just because your small car will pull a 20-foot bass boat in the driveway, it doesn’t mean it will be safe at highway speeds or will easily get your boat and trailer up a ramp.
Waterfowl privilege license
Hunters 16 and older must get a state waterfowl privilege license issued by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to go with a basic hunting license to hunt waterfowl.
The license is in addition to the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamp (federal duck stamp) that hunters must purchase.
Waterfowl hunters who hold a comprehensive hunting or sportsman license do not need to purchase a state waterfowl privilege license but do need to obtain the federal duck stamp, which is issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A free Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification, issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission, is required for all license holders who hunt migratory game birds, including waterfowl; a game land privilege license, $15, is required of all basic license holders who hunt on game lands.
The $10 waterfowl privilege license can be purchased from the agency by:
– Calling the Wildlife Resources Commission at 888-248-6834 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
– Visit a Wildlife Service agent. Most are located in bait-and-tackle shops, hunting and sporting good stores and larger chain stores.
– Visit the Wildlife Resources Commission’s headquarters at 1751 Varsity Drive, Raleigh.
Waterfowl hunters are no longer required to carry a North Carolina duck stamp; however, the Commission has the 2007 duck stamp with print available for collectors. “Wood Ducks at Roanoke River Lowgrounds,” which depicts a trio of wood ducks clustered by a fallen tree, can be purchased for $145. The mint stamp is available separately and costs $10.
Revenue goes to the Waterfowl Fund, which supports waterfowl conservation and restoration projects in North Carolina.
Public meetings on waterfowl
Each year the Wildlife Commission holds a series of public meetings to obtain input on waterfowl season selections within the federal framework provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The closest location for local hunters is in Albemarle at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the courthouse.
Game lands open
N.C. Wildlife game land employees have been braving the heat to post the new Second Creek Game Lands with the familiar diamond shape signs the past several weeks. Posting is expected to be completed by the end of August.
Second Creek Game Lands information can be found in the Special Hunt Opportunity booklet available from local Wildlife Service agents. These game lands are available for hunting only by permit.
Some permits are available for purchase from a Wildlife Service agent. Others are limited to a set number and are selectedby random drawing. Cost is $5 each.
In general, archery deer hunters have unlimited permits available, as do small game hunters (rabbit, quail, squirrel and dove). Waterfowl, gun/muzzleloader for deer, and turkey have limited permits. Check regulations for open hunt days and dates.
Deer hunters will be excited at the variety of areas available to hunt. From field edges planted with corn and soybeans to creek bottoms with numerous game trails and”funnels” that lead from bedding areas to feeding areas, this land offers a unique hunting opportunity.
For spring turkey hunters, this area is loaded. A limited number of permits are available for each week of the season.
The 1,100-acre site is in western Rowan County near the communities of Millbridge and Bear Poplar. Part of the property is owned by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Habitats include agricultural fields, small woodlots and wooded stream corridors.
One designated waterfowl impoundment is on the property.
Species include white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, waterfowl and small game. Except for resident Canada goose hunting, waterfowl hunting is allowed only in the posted impoundment.
Because much of the land is tended by farmers, normal agricultural practices, including planting, cultivating and harvesting, will be going on, even during hunting seasons.
Bow and arrow season permits, $5, are available now and hunt dates are Sept. 8 ńNov. 2.
More details are available at www.ncwildlife.org.E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.

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