I’ll save my own breath and just post an article written by Craig Holt, a popular author for the North Carolina Sportsman magazine. Should be interesting to see how these proposals fare as they run the gauntlet of public hearings, disgruntled hunters, and wildlife biologist recommendations.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s commissioners are at odds with the professional staff’s proposals for deer-season and bag limits for 2009-10.
The commissioners apparently are being pressured to increase the harvest of deer in the state, including establishing a uniform statewide season (no more East, Central, Northwestern, Western zones tied to designated months). These proposals will be presented to the state’s sportsmen and women during January 2009’s annual series of public hearings.
However, it’s unclear as to which of these final proposals will be sent to the public hearings. As of Oct. 10, the WRC hadn’t posted its final list of proposals at its web site.
Indications are the N.C. insurance industry may have had a hand in these proposals because of so many deer-car collisions in the state (estimated 15,000 in 2007). Auto collisions with deer are covered under the comprehensive section of insurance policies. The average claim for a deer collision with an auto is $3,000, or $45 million in total claims in 2007.
As a result, the commissioners will propose any weapons (archery, muzzleloader, rifles, shotguns) season from the Saturday nearest Oct. 15 until Jan. 1 statewide. They also propose a four-week-only archery season in September and two-week muzzleloader season in mid-October.
The WRC’s Big Game Committee — composed of commissioners — presented its recommendations for changes in deer seasons and bag limits Oct. 3. They details include:
• Establishing a uniform deer season (matching the current Eastern deer season) in and east of Yancey, McDowell and Rutherford counties (WRC districts 1-8) with the following structure:
• Opening all counties in and east of Yancey, McDowell and Rutherford counties to the maximum either-sex season;
• bow and arrow season opens the Saturday on or nearest to Sept. 10 and ends the fourth Friday thereafter;
• muzzleloader season opens the Saturday or and nearest to Oct. 8 and ends the following Friday;
• all lawful weapons opens the Saturday on or nearest to Oct. 15 and ends Jan. 1;
• bow and arrow will be allowed during muzzleloader season.
The commissioners also are proposing to allow bow hunting deer on Sundays only at private land, except for migratory birds, and allowing Sunday falconry, except for migratory birds.
The commissioners also want to replace the Youth-Only Wild Turkey Day (in the past the first Saturday in April) with a “Friends and Family Afield Wild Turkey Season” the first Saturday in April that would mean every person hunting this day would have to be accompanied by at least one other person, with shooting hours ending at 1 p.m.
The WRC’s Division of Wildlife Managment, headed by Dr. David Cobb, presented its staff recommendations for 2009-10 deer seasons.
The Division didn’t propose a statewide uniform deer season nor an “any-weapons-legal” season, thus preserving traditional archery and muzzle-loader dates.
The Division’s proposals included:
• removing the daily bag limit on deer;
• allowing hunters to use archery equipment to harvest deer during the muzzle-loader firearm season at game lands;
• shortening the bow season by one week and extending muzzle-loader season by one week to create a two-week muzzle-loader season. Currently at private lands, archery equipment can be used during muzzle-loader season.
• Assigning all of Moore County to the Eastern deer season.
• Move portions of Avery and Yancey counties currently in the introductory either-sex deer season into the conservative either-sex deer season.
Well, I figured that the whole unregulated deer season proposal would be smoke and mirrors, but…I’m still not sure I will be happy with an archery season that has been cut in half…oh wait! No, I WON’T be happy with that regulation, but it is better than the alternative. It’s just gasoline prices, they tell us it might go up to $5, then we’re happy when it’s “only” $3.50.
I hereby step down from my soapbox, before I rant and rave my way into a big debate.