Turkey Season Off To A Bit of a Slow Start for Me….. Henned UP
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The 2014 turkey season has bee a bit of a slow start nobody in our club has gotten one which is a bit surprising. The gobblers seem to be henned up and the hens are not breaking away so even in the afternoons gobblers are walking around with hens. The strategy one needs to try is to call the hen and hopefully she’ll bring big boy with her but so far we have not had any success doing that. Opening morning I should of filled a tag but I was trying to capture the hunt on video and I got messed up. I had two nice gobblers within 40 yards of me and I just knew they were or one of them would attack my jake decoy. I’m adjusting the video camera and getting it set when a hunter on the neighboring land shoots. He had to be within a 100 yards of me and it was enough to get them gobblers to move along. I really thought they might stick around and instead of reaching for my gun I grabbed a call to try to settle them down. Wrong…. I did call them back a little while later but they were 100 yards away and wouldn’t come closer. Well here is the video of that experience of me getting schooled again in the turkey woods.

Turkey Opener…… Is Almost Here
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Opening day for turkey season here in North Carolina is this Saturday. The youth have gotten an early start with a week long youth season this year and it sounds like some youngsters have filled some tags. We have been scrambling to get road access to our land after a rather late season ice storm toppled a lot of trees across the central part of the state. We still have a few roads on our property that is blocked but for the most part we are ready for turkey season. The weather is looking pretty good for the opener so hopefully it will great day. The turkey vest is packed and ready, the therma cell is ready and I’m like a kid on Christmas Eve. Turkey hunting is about my favorite hunt and I’m excited about calling a gobbler in. Good luck to everyone that is hitting the woods and fields for a thunder chicken…… and be safe.

The Obituary of a Poacher and a Moonshiner
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I’ve certainly never heard of Robert Burris Jr. until his obituary appeared in the Ashville Citizens Time and I certainly wouldn’t want to speak ill of the dead. However his obituary is a bit unusual especially for this day and age.

Game Wardens, security at Biltmore Estate, and other wildlife in Western North Carolina may finally relax. Robert (Bobby) Carroll Burris, Jr., has retired forever from this world of poaching, runnin’ moonshine, drinkin’, spittin’, and other general bad behavior. Now, he and his Heavenly Father, hunt bear in the rugged and mountainous parts of Heaven. Many family, friends and dogs greet him and he is preceded by his father, Robert Carroll Burris, Sr., and his mother, Ann Stanton Burris. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/citizen-times/obituary.aspx?n=robert-burris&pid=170549014&fhid=21639&FBNF=ShareObitAt#.U0VE76Xr2r8.facebook

I guess in a day and age when reality TV seeks folks like this out here is one that may of just missed his opportunity cheated by cancer. Hopefully in death Bobby found some peace.

A Bear of a Situation Here In North Carolina
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I felt a little déjà vu when I read the story about the NC Wildlife Commissioners voting to allow a very limited use of bait by still hunters on the NC Sportsman Magazine site.

“David Cobb (the director of the Commission’s Division of Wildlife Management) presented a graphic that showed 4-to-1 opposition — 80 percent against vs. 20 percent for — these rule changes, but they still voted for them,” said Greg Culpepper, a veteran bear hunter from Linville Falls who hunts bears with dogs and still-hunts. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.”

The proposals included one that allows the hunting of bears over non-processed foods (bait) on private lands for the first six days of bear season in coastal and mountain areas, and one allowing bears to be taken over unprocessed bait during the deer gun season in the Piedmont, which includes 39 counties.

This was a very hot topic I guess because I stumbled into it when I stopped by the NC Camo booth at the Dixie Deer Classic and heard almost the exact text of the article. I’m not opposed to baiting and I don’t think it will ruin what all of us will agree is a vibrant and successful bear repopulation up to this point in North Carolina.
My conversation started out with Dick Hamilton the former director of the NC Wildlife Commission and as we went on Mr. Culpeper joined in. At some point Mr. Holt showed up as well.

“Baiting of bear is not fair chase” Boone & Crockett recognize animals taken over bait as long as that is a legal practice. No one says you have to bait but hunters need to stop throwing stones at each other over methods. The reality is that the NCWRC had to address the issue of the expanding bear population and its growth into more human populated areas. In the piedmont in particular bear sightings are becoming more common and these bears will be taken by deer hunters who happen to cross path with a bear. Many of deer hunters use bait, which is legal in North Carolina, and if they killed a bear they’d find themselves in a similar predicament as bear hound hunters found themselves in prior to the law change in 2007.

“We don’t kill bears at bait piles,” he said. “We release dogs that chase bears; it’s what our dogs live to do. If the bear stops (to fight dogs), then we can observe the bear and see if it’s one we want to shoot or we’ll pull the dogs away and go look for a bigger bear. The 2007 law is used now to justify killing 25 percent of North Carolina’s — for equity — when there’s never been a fairness problem. Still-hunters kill the vast majority of bears in North Carolina.”

This is simple not true the statistics show that the majority of bears killed by hunters in North Carolina are killed with the aide of hounds.

“Look at the bears from the states that allow baiting of bear….. a 300 lb bear from Maine is a trophy…. We have bears that go over 600 lbs” Yes we do and our bears in the eastern part of the state don’t hibernate 5 months out of the year. They are up and walking around consuming food and growing so that really isn’t a fair comparison.
“Still hunters already bait” I was offered as evidence a NC Bear Hunting Guide’s brochure where he talks about putting out corn and cleaning it up prior to the season. Really? This is a legal practice and a pretty nasty attack on fellow hunters who are doing nothing wrong. A pro hunting group attacking an outfitter and an industry over legal hunting methods is absolutely shameless.
I’m afraid that we will devour each other and the anti-hunters won’t have to really amount any type of effort. We have a lot of issues on the table as sportsmen…… closing of the outerbanks……. bear hunting methods……. Deer hunting methods……. Protection of coyotes & wolf hybrids…… recreational fishing vs commercial…. The list is endless.
Sad day when all us camo hat wearing people start picking up sides.

Here We Go Again…… We Haven’t Even Burried The Dead and the Political Hay Is Getting Made
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Law Enforcement was still in the middle of an “Active Shooter” incident, people were still barricaded in officers awaiting rescue, while loved ones and the rest of the nation watched and prayed. Well maybe not the rest of the nation cause some of our leaders had to try to score points on the gun control issue.

In the wake of the shooting at the Navy Yard, Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the president is implementing executive actions and reiterated his commitment to strengthening gun laws, including expanding background checks to sales online and at gun shows.
“The president supports, as do an overwhelming majority of Americans, common-sense measures to reduce gun violence,” Carney said.

CBS News
So let me get this straight Mr. President….. We need more background checks and regulations in light of this tragedy yesterday? I understand we need to keep guns out of the wrong hands and letting mentally ill and unstable people have guns is dangerous. So are these background checks going to be as good as someone getting a security clearance to work in some of our most sensitive government facilities?????? You sir are a few fries short of a happy meal. That has got to be the dumbest argument yet…. How about letting our highly trained military do what they do best and carry the tools they need to defend themselves and others when nut cases decide to go on a rampage. That seems to be a common sense approach to a situation that seems to be repeating itself. This is another shooting inside a Gun Free Zone in probably the most Gun Free City in America ….. Gun Free Zones are only gun free for the law abiding.
Our country is so screwed with this bunch that is leading us. God Help us.
As for those who suffered loss in yesterday’s tragedy my thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.

North Carolina’s Bear Rebound and How Yanking Teeth Helps
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Interesting article in the Raleigh News and Observer about how the black bear population has really rebounded in this state and the important role hunters play in the on going efforts to monitor the bear population. Every year hunters are urged to submit some teeth from the bear they kill so biologists can keep up with the age and health of the bears.

One of many bears are saw and photographed a few months ago in eastern North Carolina

Whenever a black bear is killed in North Carolina, whether by a car or a hunter, Colleen Olfenbuttel wants a small part of the animal: the two tiny teeth just behind the upper canines.

It turns out that counting growth rings in those teeth is the best way to determine a bear’s age – information that helps scientists such as Olfenbuttel at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission assess the health of the state’s growing bear population and decide how to manage it.

For more than 35 years, the state’s Black Bear Cooperator Program has collected thousands of the bear teeth, the majority from hunters. The teeth have no known function and can even be removed from live – but hopefully tranquilized – bears.

Many bear hunters are happy to send in their teeth. Olfenbuttel’s team gets teeth from 40 to 50 percent of the black bears killed each year.

This is just an excerpt of the article in the N&O here is a link to the full article.

The bears are really expanding out across the state and over the past few years more areas have had bear seasons added. Like any animal it is important to control the over all numbers and with bears man and other bears is about the only thing that preys on them. Bear is excellent tasting meat just try to get between a few of us when the crock pot of BBQ Ribs gets put on the table. The parts of the state I hunt there isn’t an open season on bears yet but we are seeing signs that they are traveling through the area. So I have never killed a North Carolina bear but this fall I hope to change that when I and a few friends go down east to see if we can fill our tags. North Carolina is really the top place in the world for big black bears which is not to shabby considering all the work it took to bring them back.

NCWRC to Offer Class on Deer Hunting 101
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Photo by Moose

New to hunting? or maybe you want to brush up on your skills well this upcoming introductory class to deer hunting in Raleigh might be just what you need to jump start your hunting season.

RALEIGH, N.C. (July 24, 2013) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, in conjunction with the Quality Deer Management Association, will hold a free deer hunting seminar at its Centennial Campus Center for Wildlife Education on Sept. 5.

The seminar, which was developed for novice hunters, is scheduled for 6:30-9 p.m. While there is no registration fee, space is limited and pre-registration is required.

Participants will gain practical knowledge and learn skills to improve their hunting abilities in the field. Topics to be covered include:

Deer behavior and habitat
Scouting techniques
Firearms and archery equipment
North Carolina hunting license and regulations requirements
Tree stand safety

For more information or to register, contact Casey Williams at casey.williams@ncwildlife.org or call 919-707-0202.

The Quality Deer Management Association is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and the hunting heritage.

The Centennial Campus Center for Wildlife Education is located on the first floor of the Wildlife Commission’s headquarters at 1751 Varsity Drive on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. It is one of four learning centers operated across the state by the Wildlife Commission, and features interactive exhibits highlighting Piedmont wildlife species and habitats. Learn more at www.ncwildlife.org/enjoying.

Looking at the topics it looks like a good core to help you be successful, safe and legal in the field.

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Doesn’t Disappoint
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I spent this weekend in eastern North Carolina and you know I had to spend some time in Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge photographing bears. It was a spectacular weekend with lots of bear activity and I got a few good shots. Photographing bears can be a challenge so they don’t just look like a black blob. The issue seems to be even more compounded with the bears walking down almost white gravel roads but it seems many of my shots were better then the past I guess it is just a learning curve.

This one seemed lame in one foot not sure how he hurt it but he was feeding heavily in this field and getting around ok.

We saw over 40 bears in the few days I was in there and while the concentrations of sightings was around sunrise and sunset we saw a number of them in the midday.

As you can see the bugs were pretty bad


Pocosin Lakes NWR is a beautiful place with a wide variety of things to see and do so you need to put it on your list of places to visit. If you go this time a year I would recommend you bring some insect repellent because the biting flies are relentless.


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NC Wildlife Confirm Swallow-Tailed Kite Nest in North Carolina
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NCWRC Photo courtesy of John Ennis


Earlier last month biologists with NC Wildlife Resources Commission confirmed what had long been suspected that Swallow Tailed Kites were nesting in the state.

“There have been many sightings of the swallow-tailed kite in this same vicinity for several years in the spring and summer so we strongly suspected that they were nesting, but we continued to consider them a ‘probable breeder’ because we lacked evidence of successful breeding,” said John Carpenter, a wildlife diversity biologist with the Commission. “Because swallow-tailed kites nest in remote swamps, it was difficult to find nests during previous surveys.”

If your like me you may of never heard of this bird before today so what is a Swallow Tailed Kite;

Swallow-tailed kites, one of nine hawk species found in North Carolina, are striking black-and-white birds with a deeply forked tail. They are skillful fliers, hunting from the air and swooping down on unsuspecting prey, which they then eat in mid-air.

Sound recording of Swallow Tailed Kite Cornell Lab of Ornithology

According to the National Audubon Society, the historic range of breeding swallow-tailed kites once spanned as far north as Minnesota and west through Texas. However, due to habitat loss, they now are found only in fragmented populations in bottomland forests along rivers from North Carolina down to Florida and west to the Louisiana/Texas border. Because they nest almost exclusively in large river swamps, in the tops of trees, biologists typically search for them using helicopters or other fixed-wing aircraft.

Interesting bird and a great find here in the state. While some might think that NCWRC is all about managing wildlife for hunting nothing could be further from the truth. There are a lot of critters that benefit from the work they do and it should be a concern when some lawmakers want to reduce their funding by 50%.

While the bird is not federally listed as endangered or threatened, it is listed as a priority species in North Carolina’s Wildlife Action Plan,which means it is a species that the Wildlife Commission has targeted for conservation actions that biologists hope would preclude the need for federal listing.

Here is a link to NCWRC Wildlife Action Plan.

Lots of diversity of species and habitat in this state and I hope you get out and see some of it.

Boating Accident Claims at least One Life
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WRAL

WRAL is reporting a boating accident on High Rock Lake in Davidson County has claimed the life of a child and a woman is missing.

LEXINGTON, N.C. — A child has been killed and a pregnant woman is missing after a boat crash on High Rock Lake in Davidson County.

Wildlife officials say a speedboat collided and went over the top of a pontoon boat around 12:30 p.m. Saturday on the northern part of the lake near Linwood.

Authorities say there were four people on each boat. A child on the pontoon boat was killed and a woman on board is missing. Another man in the beat suffered critical head injuries. No one on the speedboat was injured.

Officials are trying to determine what caused the collision. They say speed may have been a factor.

WRAL

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kick off to summertime activities and unfortunately tragedies like this do take place. Safety should be paramount on everyone’s mind especially while operating any type of motor vehicle. NCWRC has a lot of great information on boating safety that you should check out.

Please be careful out there and keep these people in your thoughts and prayers as well as the rescuers that are searching.

Infolinks 2013