Wildlife Commission seeks comments on regulations

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) is inviting comments

from the public on proposed changes to state regulations related to enforcement,

wildlife management, inland fisheries and game lands for the 2019-2020 seasons.

The comment period will extend through Feb. 1, 2019. Comments may be emailed

to regulations@ncwildlife.org (must include name, phone number and mailing

address) or mailed to Rule-Making Coordinator, N.C. Wildlife Resources

Commission, 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1700.

The public can also provide comments at one of nine public hearings the

NCWRC will hold across the state in January. The hearing for Wildlife District 4

will be held on Jan. 8 at Bladen Community College in Dublin, N.C. The District 2

hearing will on Jan. 23 at Craven Community College (Orringer Auditorium) in

New Bern. All hearings will begin at 7 p.m.

Information about proposed regulations is available on the NCWRC web site -

www.ncwildlife.org. Click on the scrolling banner at the bottom of the home page.

The Inshore Institute

Anglers who enjoy fishing in the creeks, river and sounds of eastern North

Carolina will have a unique opportunity on Sunday, Feb. 17 to learn techniques

and strategies from some of the top experts in this part of the country. The 2019

Inshore Institute will be hosted by Neuse River Bait and Tackle at Pamlico

Community College (5049 Hwy 306S, Grantsboro) on that day from 7 a.m. to 5:30

p.m.

Well-known guides with, collectively, hundreds of years of experience fishing

for speckled trout, stripers, flounder, red drum, Spanish mackerel and cobia will

share their expertise and help all those in attendance have more angling success.

The day will kick off with a light breakfast, followed by presentations and

demonstrations. Lunch will be catered by Moore’s BBQ. A featured presenter will

be Mark Davis of television’s award-winning Big Water Adventures. Throughout

the day there will be raffles for over $8,000-worth of fishing gear and seven guided

fishing trips.

Tickets to the Inshore Institute ($100) include raffles and meals. For more

information or to purchase tickets, visit Neuse River Bait and Tackle on Hwy. 55

in Grantsboro or phone 252-745-0708.

Surveys find sportfish in hurricane-affected rivers

About three months after Hurricane Florence caused substantial fish kills in

many coastal rivers, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources

Commission (NCWRC) have found largemouth bass, sunfish and crappie in all

rivers surveyed to date, though in reduced numbers. After Hurricane Florence

made landfall on Sept. 14, isolated fish kills were documented in most North

Carolina rivers east of I-95, with major mortality in the lower Cape Fear, Northeast

Cape Fear and Waccamaw rivers. The kills were mainly due to significant declines

in dissolved oxygen, rather than contaminants, pollution or other factors. After

oxygen levels returned to normal, researchers began electrofishing surveys to

determine the extent and severity of the event.

“Although their abundance was below normal, we found largemouth bass,

crappie and redear sunfish in the N.E. Cape Fear, Lumber and Waccamaw rivers,”

said Kyle Rachels, the NCWRC’s District 4 fisheries biologist. Rachels said he

was encouraged by the results of the survey and, although spawning populations

will be low in the spring, most species are expected to rebound over a few years. In

the meantime, white catfish, channel catfish, redbreast sunfish and largemouth bass

will be stocked in many southeastern rivers. Over 119,000 small striped bass from

the Watha State Fish Hatchery have already been stocked in the Cape Fear River.

Open Season

Deer – thru Jan. 1

Bear (in Coastal Bear Management Unit) – thru Jan. 1 in Zone 5. Check page

61 in the NCWRC’s Regulations Digest for counties within each zone.

Raccoon, opossum, gray and red squirrel – thru Feb. 28

Note: Fox squirrels are legal game in only select counties. Check the NCWRC

Regulations Digest, p.72

Grouse – thru Feb. 28

Dove – thru Jan. 31

Ducks and Geese (in Resident Population Zone) –thru Jan. 26

Rabbit and Quail –thru Feb. 28

Tundra Swan (by permit only) – thru Jan. 31

Bobcat – thru Feb. 28

Snow goose – thru Feb. 9

Crow – Wed., Fri. and Sat. thru Feb. 28

Coyote, groundhog, nutria, armadillo and feral hogs – no closed season

Controlled Hunting Preserves – thru Mar. 31

Striped Bass (Cent.-Southern Mgmt. Area) – thru Apr. 30