Conserve & Protect
The Blog of N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

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By NCWRC blogger on 3/9/2015 8:03 AM
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And where there’s fire, at least on a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission game land, there’s usually a prescribed burn — one of the best and most cost-effective methods of managing habitat for wildlife.

A prescribed burn, or an intentional burning of vegetation under strict and specific circumstances, helps restore and maintain wildlife habitat. It is a cost-effective tool that Commission staff uses to create and maintain suitable and ample wildlife habitat in old fields, native grasslands and open-canopy woodlands on game lands throughout the state.

The most common prescribed burns Commission staff conducts are restoration burns and maintenance burns. Restoration burns, as their name implies, are done on fire-dependent habitats that haven’t been burned in years. These habitats include longleaf,...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/20/2015 4:38 PM
Free turkey hunting seminars co-presented by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation are approaching capacity in Raleigh, but space still remains for seminars across the state.

“We often hear comments about how the introductory seminars are great, and how much hunters look forward to attending the advance seminars,” said Walter “Deet” James, the Commission’s hunting heritage biologist. “We enjoy the feedback — particularly the photos of turkeys harvested by individuals who attended our seminars.”

James offered five turkey hunting tips as a preview of the upcoming seminars:

·         NEVER move or reposition your firearm when you can see a gobbler’s eyes. Wait for the gobbler to pass behind a tree or brush then move quickly and deliberately.

·         When you think you’ve waited too long for a gobbler to come into range, wait 10 more minutes.

By NCWRC blogger on 1/21/2015 1:23 PM
Last week, we discussed a few different species of birds that winter in North Carolina. This week, we’re going to take a closer look at where to spot these wintering birds, as well as other birds that call the Tar Heel state home throughout the year.

Winter is an ideal time to go birding for several reasons. The leaves are off the trees, at least the deciduous trees anyway, which makes birds easier to spot. Food is scarcer so birds are more inclined to visit backyard feeders. It’s cold, which means less people are in the woods and in the field, making noise and disrupting birds.

But where to look for birds? Fortunately, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has a great website that provides information on 327 sites across the state that comprise the N.C. Birding Trail.

Perhaps the website’s best feature is a map that allows visitors to browse sites by location, using a Google map interface. When visitors click on a map site, they will see...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/15/2015 4:12 PM
It’s cold. It’s dreary. The days are short and the nights are long. In other words, it’s winter.

But even though it’s winter, you can still do some wildlife watching because, unlike other forms of wildlife (we’re looking at you, snakes, bears and bats), birds don’t mind the cold, the dreariness, the winter. In fact, several species of birds can be seen only in North Carolina in the winter. Today, let’s take a closer look at a few of the birds that are found in North Carolina only in the winter and how you can attract them to your backyards. And if you’re not backyard birder, check back with us next week when we’ll be looking at some good birding sites in North Carolina.  


Dark-Eyed Junco

Although they’re ground-feeding birds, dark-eyed juncos are frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders in the winter. You can usually spot dark-eyed juncos, which are dark grey or brown with a pink bill and white outer tail feathers, hopping on the ground, eating the seed that has fallen to the ground from the feeder. This medium-sized sparrow prefers black-oil sunflower seed, millet, safflower seed, among other seeds. Except in the mountains where they are found year-round in middle-to-higher elevations, black-eyed juncos usually show up in North Carolina in the fall and depart for colder climates to our north as the weather warms in the spring.

By NCWRC blogger on 12/8/2014 5:23 PM

Take a break from all the holiday shopping and head outdoors with your binoculars and bird ID guide to participate in the longest-running citizen-science survey in the world — the 115th Christmas Bird Count sponsored by the Audubon Society.  Starting Sunday, Dec. 14, through Jan. 5, the Christmas Bird Count

is a perfect way for you to make an enormous contribution to bird conservation in North Carolina, regardless if you’re a backyard birder or a serious field observer. Best of all, it’s free and pretty easy to do, too. Just visit Audubon’s website to sign up and find a count near you.

According to Audubon, which organizes the annual count, the count takes place within “count circles,” which focus on specific geographical areas. Each circle is led by a count compiler...
By NCWRC blogger on 12/2/2014 12:03 PM
Go “Wild” this Holiday Season with Gifts that Benefit Wildlife in North Carolina


Looking for affordable, wildlife-related gifts that will appeal to that special hunter, angler, birder or outdoor enthusiast on your holiday gift-giving list? Look no further than the Wildlife Commission’s Wild Store where cool gifts are just a click away.

Best of all, a portion of the proceeds from the products go to support the Wildlife Commission’s projects and programs that benefit wildlife. Place your order by Dec. 12 for Christmas delivery. A few must-have items include:


The 2015 Wildlife Calendar ($9), which combines outstanding wildlife art with useful information such as fishing days, moon phases and wildlife migration and rut peaks. Wildlife Diversity T-shirt, $15 for adults, $12 for youth. The shirt’s front features a tundra swan flying across the agency’s wildlife logo and the back features a large rendition of the tundra...
By NCWRC blogger on 12/1/2014 3:52 PM
By Bill Stancil


[Editor’s Note: Stancil, of Rocky Mount, is a long-time volunteer instructor in the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Hunter Education Program. This entry originally appeared as an article in the third quarter 2014 Hunter Education Program newsletter, published by the Wildlife Commission (PDF):]


As a hunter education instructor, have you ever asked yourself: “Why am I still doing this? Where is my reward for spending hours involved in teaching other people (mostly strangers) about hunting and how to do it safely? Where is the payday for the time and effort I put into the Hunter Education Program?”

If you have, rest assured that you are not alone.

Like you, I am a volunteer instructor and have been helping...
By NCWRC blogger on 11/10/2014 3:21 PM
On Thursday, Oct. 30, 13 Fly-Fishing volunteers at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education completed their training on the Wulff School of Fly-Fishing method.  These volunteers with utilize this training during the Basic Fly-Fishing Clinics that are held at the Pechmann Center during the months of January, February and March. 

The intensive training program was held every other Thursday for six weeks and challenged the volunteers to learn a new method of teaching.  Key components of the Wulff School Method include: hands-on teaching, correct casting form, and mechanics.  A few comments from participants are below:

 “Probably the single most important item I learned is the construction of a good cast. I have noticed that my casting has improved through this training.”   

-          Rod MacLean


“I have been able to pinpoint some of the flaws in my casting. I was never taught to cast. I began fly fishing 30 years ago. I developed my own cast and later had to modify it due to military-related injury. I do not have full range of motion in my right shoulder. Due to that injury, it is unlikely I will have a flawless, Joan Wulff style cast, but my cast has improved and my ability to teach others has definitely improved.” 

By NCWRC blogger on 11/4/2014 7:01 AM

[Editor’s Note: In the Twitterverse, David Cook (‏@davidco71875026) recently tweeted, “@NCWildlife  — Wish there were more brook trout in upper Tellico River.” We checked with Fisheries Biologists Powell Wheeler and Jake Rash in WNC who replied with information not only about the trout in the upper Tellico, but also the land management work being done by the U.S. Forest Service, and the aquatic habitat in the Tellico that portends better trout fishing in the future.]

david cook ‏@davidco71875026 — “Wish there were more brook trout in upper Tellico River.” 9:50 AM - 2 Nov 2014

Response from Powell Wheeler and Jake Rash: The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission does not stock the Tellico River because it contains wild trout. Also, because the Tellico River is on U.S. Forest Service property (Cherokee Co.), it “defaults” to Wild Trout...
By NCWRC blogger on 10/24/2014 9:14 AM
By Kacy Cook, Land Conservation Biologist

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission would like to give a big shout-out of thanks to Surry County and the Surry County Natural Resources Committee for hosting one of our latest Green Growth Toolbox workshops.  Debbie Garris with the Natural Resources Committee organized a lunch from the Lunch Room Coffee House of Pilot Mountain that was locally grown and delicious!  The Natural Resources Committee organized the venue at the Elkin Center of Surry Community College and provided everyone with a honey pot of locally harvested honey.

The Green Growth Toolbox and our workshop provide information, conservation mapping data and case studies regarding how to integrate conservation of declining priority wildlife habitat and...

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