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State hosting public hearing on proposed changes to regulations

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will hold a public hearing for comments on proposed changes to 83 hunting, fishing and trapping regulations Jan. 8 at 7 p.m., at South Stanly High School in Norwood.
After collecting and reviewing all public comments, the 19 members of the state Wildlife Commission will meet in March and vote whether or not to adopt the revised rules. If approved, the revised rules will go into effect July 1, a state press release said.
A proposed regulation of interest to deer hunters is the removal of the daily bag limit for deer. Eliminating the daily bag limit will allow deer hunters to take more than the two-a-day limit currently in effect without negatively affecting the state’s deer herd, the press release said.
Another proposed regulation affecting deer hunters will allow hunters on game lands to use archery equipment to harvest deer during the muzzle-loading firearms season. Currently, archery hunters are allowed to harvest deer during the muzzle-loading firearms season only on private lands. By granting archery hunters access to game lands during the muzzle-loading firearms season, this proposal will increase hunting opportunities for archery hunters.
Two proposed regulations will provide additional public mountain trout fishing opportunities in Caldwell and McDowell counties by adding more than 4 miles of stream to the Wildlife Commission’s Delayed-Harvest Trout Waters.
Another proposed regulation affecting trout anglers is the classification of 13 miles of Hiwassee River in Clay County as Wild Trout/Natural Bait Trout Waters, which are waters where the daily creel limit is four fish, the minimum length limit is 7 inches and the lure restrictions are artificial lures or natural baits with one single hook. If passed, this regulation will protect against over-harvesting of younger age classes of wild trout that are found in the upper section of the river.
Other proposed hunting, trapping and fishing rules changes include:
– Requiring hunters to attach physical tags to big game at the site of harvest, a proposal that has been requested by many hunters and will improve the commission’s ability to monitor harvest.
– Increasing the minimum length limit of crappie from 8 to 10 inches on the Roanoke River below Roanoke Rapids dam downstream to Albemarle Sound, including Cashie, Middle and Eastmost rivers, a proposal that should improve the quality of the fishery by allowing more fish to reach larger sizes.
– Adding Lake Wylie to the list of reservoirs where possession of grass carp is prohibited, except those taken by bow and arrow, a proposal that will allow limited harvest of grass carp, which are being stocked to control hydrilla.
To view full text of all the proposed regulations, visit the Wildlife Commission’s Web site, www.ncwildlife.org. Under the “Hot Topics” section, click on the 2009 Proposed Regulations & Public Hearing Schedule.
To submit comments electronically, click on the “Submit Comments Online” icon on the right side of the Web page. Mail written comments to 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1701.

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