2019 turkey harvest second highest ever
Biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) have compiled the state’s 2019 wild turkey harvest numbers and report that it was the second highest ever recorded.
Statewide, hunters bagged 18,730 turkeys, including 1,478 taken during the one-week, youth-only season.
This season’s harvest was only slightly below the record harvest of 18,919 birds, which was set in 2017. The total harvest statewide this year was 3.5 percent higher than the average during the previous three years.
Turkey harvest in the coastal region was 9.6 percent higher than the average during the previous three years, indicating turkey populations continue to grow in that part of the state. In the Piedmont, the 2019 harvest was 6 percent higher than
the average. However, in the mountains it was 6.5 percent lower. Biologists say the turkey population in the western part of the state is stable in some areas and declining in others.
The top three counties for the number of turkeys harvested last season were:
Duplin (497), Halifax (479) and Rockingham (453). The reported harvests in counties in this region were: Onslow (307), Craven (288), Pitt (263), Beaufort (241), Jones (200), Lenoir (120) and Pamlico (76).
North Carolina’s turkey hunting season opens the second Saturday of April each year and closes in early May. A week-long, youth-only season opens the first Saturday in April. Hunters are allowed two bearded or male turkeys each year.
Approximately 70,000 hunters pursue turkeys in the state each year. About 15 percent of them harvest one turkey and only 5 percent harvest their two-bird limit.
Additional turkey harvest information, including harvest numbers by county, game land, season and weapon type is available on the NCWRC’s web site – www.ncwildlife.org – on the agency’s wild turkey page, under the Harvest Reports tab.
Hunter Education course
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Hunter Education course, required for all newly-licensed hunters, will be offered on Sunday, July 14 at the Maysville Volunteer Fire Department in Maysville. There is no charge but preregistration is
required. For more information or to sign up, go to the Wildlife Commission’s web site - www.ncwildlife.org- and click on the scrolling Hunter Education banner at the bottom of the home page.
3-D archery tournament
The Soul Hunters Archery Club will host a 3-D archery tournament at their range near Elizabeth City on Saturday, June 29. Registration is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The range is located at 2453 Peartree Rd., Elizabeth City. For directions or
additional details, contact Cliff Colson at 252-333-8807.
No fishing license needed on Independence Day
July 4 is Free Fishing Day in North Carolina. From 12 a.m. to 11:59, anyone can fish for free in the state’s waters, including coastal waters, without having to purchase a fishing license or additional trout fishing privilege permit. Although no
fishing license is required, all other fishing regulations - such as length and possession limits - apply.
Free Fishing Day always falls on July 4. Started in 1994, it is sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and authorized by the N.C. General Assembly. On all other days of the year, a fishing license is required for anglers age 16 and older to fish in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters. Fishermen on ocean fishing piers and head boats are covered by those facilities’ licenses.
National Parks mean big business
According to a newly released National Park Service report, 3.5 million persons visited five National Park Service lands on the North Carolina coast last year.
Visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Wright Brothers National Memorial, Cape Lookout National Seashore and Moores Creek National Battlefield spent more than $225 million in the communities with
60 miles of the parks, with a cumulative benefit to local economies of about $280 million.
Last year Cape Hatteras National Seashore saw its highest visitation numbers (2,591,056) in 15 years. That is almost 440,000 more than in 2014. Those visitors spent $166 million, supporting 2,397 jobs with a cumulative benefit to the area’s
economy of $208 million. Cape Lookout National Seashore had 408,399 visitors who spent $18.8 million.
NC Wildlife photo competition
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will accept entries to its 15th annual “Wildlife in North Carolina” Photo Competition until 5 p.m., Sept. 1, 2019. Photos taken since Sept. 15, 2015 are eligible in eight different categories: Birds, Invertebrates, Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians, Animal Behavior, Outdoor Recreation, Wild Landscapes, Wild Plants and Fungi. In addition, there are special categories for photographers age 12 and younger, and those age 13-17.
Information about the competition, including rules and how to enter is available online at www.ncwildlife.org. Click on the Photo Competition scrolling tab at the bottom of the home page.