Out and About in North Carolina's Woods and Waters

Outdoor Notes

New Kayak Launch Opens

According to a release from Sound Rivers, a conservation organization dedicated to protecting and improving our state’s waterways, a new kayak/canoe launch has been opened at Mason’s Landing on Tranter’s Creek, a short distance upstream from Washington, N.C. The site, which features an ADA accessible dock, provides a separate space for launching paddle craft, away from a nearby powerboat ramp. The facility is the second of three kayak/canoe launches being built to increase access to the Tar-Pamlico Water Trail. The first of those was opened on Runyon Creek at Havens Garden in Washington; the third will be located on the Tar River at Port Terminal in Greenville.

Migratory Game Bird Seasons Approved

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently approved season dates, bag limits and other regulations for the 2021-22 waterfowl, webless migratory game bird (including doves) and extended falconry season. Among the changes is one where duck season dates are now established within two duck hunting zones, Coastal and Inland with Interstate 95 forming the boundary between the two. Up to three season segments are allowed within each zone and daily bag limits will be the same in both.

The season dates for mourning doves and white-winged doves will be Sept. 4 – Oct. 2; Nov. 6-27 and Dec. 9 – Jan. 31 in both zones. The open season exclusively for teal will be Sept. 11-29 (east of U.S. 17 only.) The early season for Canada Geese will be Sept. 1-30 statewide. However, there will be special rules regarding extended shooting hours, unplugged guns and electronic calls for hunting geese west of U.S. 17. The regular season for Canada Geese in the Resident Population Hunt Zone will be Oct. 21-30; Nov. 6-29 and Dec. 18 – Feb. 12.

The open season for ducks, mergansers and coots in the Inland Duck Zone will be Oct. 21-23; Nov. 6-27 and Dec. 18 – Jan. 31. The season for black and mottled ducks will be closed until Nov. 20. The total bag limit for ducks will remain at six with no more than 3 wood ducks, 2 mallards with no more than 1 hen mallard, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks and 1 pintail. The bag limit for scaup will be one of those birds daily from Oct. 21 – Jan. 7, and two scaup daily from Jan. 8-31. Additional bag limits and other regulations are available online at http://www.ncwildlife.org.

Anglers Reminded of Special Bluefish Regulations

Saltwater fishermen should make note that there new regulations regarding the harvest of one our state’s most popular game fish – bluefish. There is no minimum length requirement for that species but the recreational bag limit is now 3 bluefish of any size per person per day if fishing from shore or on a private boat. Anglers on for-hire vessels may each possess up to 5 bluefish per day.

Record Bear Harvest

Results from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s (NCWRC’s) 2020 annual bear harvest summary show that hunters statewide recorded the highest harvest on record at 3,748 bears – an 8% increase compared to the previous season. Record breaking harvest totals were recorded in the Coastal and Piedmont Bear Management Units, 2,238 and 81 respectively.

“The increase in harvest likely reflects the ‘COVID effect’ that several states, including North Carolina, have experienced,” stated Colleen Olfenbuttel, black bear and furbearer biologist with the Wildlife Commission. “During 2020, many North Carolinians reconnected with the outdoors, including participating in regulated hunting. We set a record for the number of bear e-stamps issued – 88,411 – which was also an 8% increase.”

Bear hunting seasons are highly regulated and play a key role in managing local bear populations, resolving agricultural damage, providing wild game meat to communities and families, and helping to reinforce bears’ natural fear of people. The reestablishment of black bears in areas of the state where their numbers had declined over the years is testament to the success of the NCWRC’s management efforts and the cooperation of sportsmen.

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