Out and About in North Carolina's Woods and Waters

Outdoor Notes

Barden Inlet Channel Markers Removed

The U.S. Coast Guard has removed the last pilings marking shoaling areas in Barden Inlet, a popular access from Harkers Island to the ocean between Core and Shackleford banks. During the first week in October the last five fixed aids to navigation were removed by contractors because the inlet has had additional shoaling, resulting in the waterway becoming unstable and too shallow to be considered safe for navigation for many boaters.

According to Coast Guard Chief Boatswain’s Mate Chris Winters, “Those users with shallow draft vessels and local knowledge are free (to) transit the area as they see fit. Barden Inlet Channel is still deep and stable up to Buoy 24; those buoys remain in place and mark a channel from Barden Inlet past Cape Lookout lighthouse, providing access to coastal recreational and fishing areas. The channel no longer connects to Back Sound.”

Dredging the channel will require a coordinated effort by the Coast Guard, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Carteret County. It will cost several million dollars and depend on the results of various required impact studies.

Wildlife Commission Asks For Help Monitoring Rabbits

Biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are asking the public to help them monitor the potential spread of a deadly rabbit disease that has not yet been observed in our state’s rabbit populations by reporting any sightings of dead rabbits to the agency. NCWRC personnel are working with other agencies to monitor the spread and impacts of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, a fatal disease that affects both domestic and wild rabbits. There is no cure for wild rabbits and a vaccine for domestic rabbits is not readily available in the U.S. The virus is classified as a foreign animal disease in this country and is primarily found in the southwestern United States. People can spread the virus indirectly by carrying it on their clothing and shoes, but it does not impact human health.

Wildlife Commission biologists are asking the public and hunters to report any sightings of one or more dead wild rabbits where the death is not readily apparent or those found with blood around their nose, mouth or rectum. Anyone who finds a dead rabbit should refrain from touching it unless necessary and call the Commission’s Helpline 866-318-3401, or email wildlifehelpline@ncwildlife.org. The NCWRC will rely on reports of rabbit mortality to document the disease’s occurrence and potential spread in North Carolina.

Hunting Seasons

Dove: Nov. 14-28; Dec. 12 – Jan. 30. Bag limit – 15 birds, including mourning doves or white-winged doves either singly or in the aggregate.

Rails (all species), Gallinule and Moorhen: through Nov. 20. Check NCWRC Regulations for bag limits.

Deer (NE & SE zones): through Jan. 1

Raccoon, opossum, rabbit, grouse, bobcat, gray squirrel: through Feb. 28

Fox squirrel: through Jan. 31

Common snipe: Oct. 27 – Feb. 27

Ducks: Nov. 7-28; Dec. 19 – Jan. 30

Tundra Swan (by permit only): Nov. 7 – Jan. 30

Light Geese (incl. Snow Geese & Ross’s Geese): through Feb. 13

Sea ducks: check the NCWRC Regulations Digest

Bear (Coastal Management Unit, Zone 3): Nov. 14-22; Dec. 12-27. Check NCWRC Regulations Digest for other zones.

Woodcock: Dec. 10 – Jan. 30

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