Dan Kibler: Waterfowl, migratory bird hunting seasons are set for 2022-23

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 8, 2022

By Dan Kibler

North Carolina waterfowl hunters and hunters who target webless migratory game birds got their season dates from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission last week, and for the most part, there are no big changes.

The special sea duck season has been eliminated; sea ducks can be taken only during the Coastal Zone duck season; Canada geese in the Northeast Hunt Zone will no longer require a permit, and the number of hunting days has increased from 14 to 30 days; bag limits for scaup will be one per day from Oct. 21-Jan. 8 and two per day from Jan. 9-31, during the open portions of duck season.

Dove season will continue to be split into three segments: Sept. 3-Oct. 1, Nov. 5-26 and Dec. 10-Jan. 31; rails an be hunted Sept. 3-Nov. 23, woodcock Dec. 10-Jan. 31; snipe Oct. 27-Feb. 28, tundra swans Nov. 5-Jan. 31 by permit only; Canada geese Sept. 1-30 statewide, in the resident population zone Oct. 12-29, Nov. 5-26 and Dec. 17-Jan. 31 and in the northeast population zone from Dec. 28-Jan. 31; teal Sept. 13-30 east of US 17; Snow geese Oct. 11-Feb.11 and Feb. 31- March 31 (permit only); Brant Dec. 17-Jan. 31.

Duck season continues to be broken into Inland and Coastal zones. Inland seasons are Oct. 21-22, Nov. 5-26 and Dec. 17-Jan. 31; Coastal seasons are Oct. 28-29, Nov. 5-26 and Dec. 17-Jan. 31.

Special waterfowl days for youth, military and veteran hunters are Feb. 4 and 11.

Commission wants public comment on CWD regulations

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking public comment on temporary regulations aimed at chronic wasting disease in Northwest North Carolina, before and after a public hearing scheduled for May 12 in Raleigh.

A public comment period will be open through May 20. Comments can be submitted at www.ncwildlife.org/Proposed-Regulations.

Temporary regulations ready to be put in place target two areas around a spot in northern Yadkin County where a 2½-year-old buck that was killed in December 2021 tested positive for CWD, a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and other cervids.

A “Primary Surveillance Area” has been established and identified by these boundaries: Surry County east of U.S. 601 and south of U.S. 268, west of Quaker Church Road and the Ararat River, Yadkin County east of U.S. 601 and north of U.S. 67 and west of Shoals Road to the intersection with Shady Grove Church Road and west of Fairground Road.

A “Secondary Surveillance Area” contains Surry County, Yadkin County, Davie County, Forsyth County, Stokes County, Alleghany County east of U.S. 21 and N.C. 18, Wilkes County east of N.C. 18 and N.C. 115, and Iredell County east of N.C. 115 and north of I-40.

Temporary regulations:

• Prohibit the placement of bait, food products, mineral or salt licks to purposely attract wildlife between Jan. 2 and Aug. 31 each year inside the surveillance areas, except for bird feeders. Placement of bait, food or food products during the urban archery season will be allowed within the established season in participating municipalities.

• Prohibit the export of a live cervid, cervid carcass or cervid parts originating from inside a surveillance area except for meat that has been boned out such that no pieces or fragments of bone remain; caped hides with no part of the skull or spinal column attached; antlers, antlers attached to cleaned skull plates or skulls free from meat or brain tissue; cleaned lower jawbones or cleaned teeth; finished taxidermy products or tanned hides; or carcass or carcass parts permitted by the commission for disposal.

• Prohibit the rehabilitation of white-tailed deer fawns in the surveillance areas or the transportation of white-tailed deer fawns from the surveillance areas to areas outside the surveillance areas.

• Require any hunter who harvests a white-tailed deer from within the Primary Surveillance Area during blackpowder season or gun season to submit a sample to the commission for testing;

• Require any hunter who harvests a white-tailed deer from within the Secondary Surveillance Area during blackpowder season or from opening day of gun season through the second Sunday of the season to submit a sample to the commission for testing.

No more CWD deer discovered

• The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announced this past Monday that it had found no additional deer in 2021-22 sampling efforts that tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

Biologists collected more than 7,200 tissue samples from whitetails across North Carolina last season, and with 98% of tests returned from a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab, only a single deer — a buck from Yadkin County — was found to have CWD.

“We are still collecting samples from roadkill, depredation harvests and late submissions, but we feel confident enough with these results to move forward and focus our CWD response plan efforts in Yadkin County and surrounding areas,” said Brad Howard, chief of the commission’s wildlife management division.

CWD is a fatal, transmissible encephalopathy, a disease that attacks the nervous system of deer and over cervids.

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