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Wednesday, 07 January 2015 17:01

Wildlife commission roles out proposed hunting and fishing regs

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A public hearing on proposed changes to hunting, fishing and wildlife management regulations will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, in the Enloe Multi-Purpose Room at Tri-County Community College in Murphy. 

Every year, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission makes changes to hunting and fishing rules throughout the state, after gathering public input.

Changes of interest to Western North Carolina sportsmen this year include:

• Classifying 2.2 miles of the Tuckasegee River in and around Bryson City as Delayed Harvest Trout Waters, from the U.S. 19 bridge to the Slope Street bridge. This section would be “catch-and-release” only for a part of the year. The catch-and-release designation for part of the year allows trout to grow bigger before being caught, and removes the risk of over-fishing. It would also be stocked under a Public Mountain Trout Waters designation.

• Allowing hunters to use electronic calls to take feral swine. This continues the trend in recent years to encourage the taking of feral swine in greater numbers.

• Allowing night fishing in Wild Trout Waters and Public Mountain Trout Waters on game lands.  

• Allowing trout harvest in undesignated waters from March 1 until 7 a.m. on the first Saturday in April.

• Allowing captive cervid license holders to sell antlers, antler velvet and hides from animals at their facilities. 

• Extending gun deer season through Jan. 1 in Cleveland, Polk and Rutherford counties. 

• Prohibiting use of dogs to take deer in portions of game lands posted as Restricted Deer Hunting Zones unless otherwise authorized by permit. 

• Creating a Youth Deer Hunting Day to coincide with National Hunting and Fishing Day, held annually on the fourth Saturday of September. 

Several proposed changes to hatchery supported waters would remove sections of waterway from the stocking program. The following stretches would no longer be stocked and would revert to wild trout waters:

• 1.8 miles on Stecoah Creek in Graham County, from the upper Nantahala Game Land boundary to Lake Fontana. 

• 5.5 miles in Jackson County, including 3.5 miles of Scott Creek from Dark Ridge Creek to the Tuckasegee River, 1 mile of the Tuckasegee River from John Brown Branch to the downstream N.C. 107 bridge and 1 mile of Savannah Creek from downstream of the S.R. 1300 bridge to Cagle Branch.

• 2.4 miles on the Nantahala River in Macon County from Dicks Creek to Whiteoak Creek. 

• 1 mile on the Middle Fork French Broad River in Transylvania County from the upstream U.S. 178 bridge to the French Broad River. 

The full list of proposed regulations is online at www.ncwildlife.org/Proposed Regulations.aspx. The comment period for captive cervid rules ends Jan. 23, while comments for all other regulations can be submitted through Feb. 8. The board of 19 Wildlife Commissioners will meet in March to decide whether to approve the proposed rules, which will take effect Aug. 1 if adopted. 

Comments can be submitted at the meeting or online at www.ncwildlife.org through the “Submit Comments” box at the bottom.

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