Outdoors: Trophy deer coming

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

With deer season in full swing, hunters across our area have been enjoying fair temperatures and great hunting conditions.
The rut, when bucks are most active looking for does in heat, has been going on for the past week in most areas of Rowan and the surrounding counties and should remain in through the first week or so of December. Although there is not a certain date it begins and ends, and all the does don’t go in heat at the same time, it should start tapering off with another frenzy of activity in late December.
Hunters have bagged good numbers of trophy-sized bucks across the area with heavy eight-pointers and 10-point deer being brought in every several days. A number of hunters have commented that the two-buck limit seems to be paying off, as bigger and more mature bucks are being bagged.
Hunters have taken advantage of public game lands in pursuit of a wall hanger. Several successful hunters have taken nice bucks from the Alcoa game lands located off River Road in Rowan County, and Stokes Road in Davidson County. These areas provide a wide range of habitat and terrain changes that offer the average hunter some great places to choose from if they are willing to walk off the beaten trail.
Many portions of the Alcoa game lands in Rowan County in the Tuckertown Lake area had the timber recently thinned, which gives a great opportunity for hunters to select stand sites that offer great zones of fire with clear views of several hundred yards.
Tips to remember
Some important things to remember when hunting on public land:
– Most locations are first come, first served. Use common courtesy if someone has already set up in the spot you had planned to hunt, and move to a secondary location.
– Be respectful of adjoining landowners and hunters. Don’t place stands in a manner to intentionally cut off deer movement to those hunters.
– Don’t enter or cross private land without first obtaining permission.
– When choosing a tree for a stand, don’t nail or attach permanent structures. Don’t occupy such structures if you find one since they are illegal.
– Always wear plenty of blaze orange.
– Remember, most public game lands in Rowan and the surrounding area are multi-use game lands open to a wide variety of hunting, fishing or trapping. You may choose a great stand location near the back of a cove off the lake or river, then have duck hunters set up close by. Other small game hunters may be using the area, which can effect deer movement. Always have a back-up location.
– For the least chance of other hunters or activity interfering with your planned hunt, locate stand sites well away from easy road access. Those that are willing to go the extra mile can often find areas of high deer activity with little hunter pressure.
– Placing or hunting by the aid of “bait” on game lands is illegal. Scent lures are fine, but buck suckers, corn, peanut butter, apples or any other similar substance would be unlawful.
Duck season
Duck Season ended Saturday, Dec. 5. The third season segment will open Dec. 19 and last to sunset Jan. 30, 2010.
Area waterfowl hunters have had plenty of company, but few birds in most places on the Yadkin River drainage. The most commonly seen ducks were wood ducks, with a few widgeon, mergansers and occasional teal. As colder weather sets in for the winter, birds in the northern states will move south, resulting in an increase of ducks in our area, with good hunting by January.
Spotting violations
Wildlife officers have been busy since the start of deer season investigating various violation reports on public and private land. Charges have included taking more than the season limit of antlered deer, illegal dumping of deer carcasses (littering), hunting without licenses, trespassing, spotlighting deer and illegal baiting of public land. Several deer were seized along with shotguns, rifles and pistols.
On one early morning detail, Master Officer J.B. Harrill had “buckshot” the mechanical deer placed alongside a road that had been the site of several instances of illegal activity. Just before 5 a.m., a pickup truck passed by, then turned around, and on the third drive by, with the headlights shining on the decoy deer, the driver stuck a 30-06 rifle out the window and shot buckshot from a distance of about 20 feet. The suspect was quickly apprehended and charged with spotlighting deer and now faces charges that may result in loss of hunting privileges for two years, fines that start at $250, and loss of hunting equipment, which includes the gun.
To report a wildlife violation, call the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Division of Enforcement, at 1-800-662-7137. This is a toll free call, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hearings on captive deer, others
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has scheduled three hearings to receive public comment on proposed amendments to established rules governing captive cervids. Cervids include deer, elk, moose and caribou.
The public hearings are set for:
– 7 tonight, Iredell Agricultural Center, Statesville
– 7 p.m. Dec. 10, Bladen County Courthouse, Elizabethtown
– 7 p.m. Dec. 14, Centennial Campus for Wildlife Education, Raleigh
Proposals would establish a voluntary captive herd certification program and allow importation of cervids from herds that have had no detectible chronic wasting disease for the past five years under certain requirements.
Nominations sought for award
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking nominations through Jan. 30 for the fifth annual Thomas L. Quay Award.
The Commission’s most prestigious award recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to wildlife diversity in North Carolina.
To submit a nomination, send a copy of the nomination form to martha.homovec@ ncwildlife.org. Mail hard copies to Martha Homovec, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Division of Wildlife Management, 1722 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1722.
For more information, contact Homovec at 919-707-0063.
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.