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

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By NCWRC blogger on 5/17/2013 9:18 AM
Don’t be that guy.

You know the one. He (or she) ticks off everyone in line to use a boat ramp by skipping in line, using more space than needed and being unpleasant to be around.

During the summer, some of our Boating Access Areas (We’re looking at you, Wrightsville Beach and Cross Point Landing) can become awfully busy. It’s hot. It’s crowded. And folks just want to get on the water.

We’ve rounded up a few tips to make the boating experience pleasant for everyone.

Pre-Launch at Home

·       File a float plan with a responsible person.

·       Make sure you have all required safety equipment on board.

·       Check the charge on fire extinguisher(s).

·       Check that your registration anddecal are up-to-date and your registration card is on board.

·       Make...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/25/2013 3:01 PM
Baby, it’s cold outside. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside.

If the sky is clear and the sun is warm, winter boating can be sublime. The waters are quieter, with fewer fellow boaters.

The fresh air is a welcome respite from the indoors. And, of course, winter is the season of waterfowl hunting, a hobby often combined with boating.

But with the colder weather and colder water, boaters, hunters and anglers should take special precautions. While drowning is a potential hazard of boating any time of year, the often-frigid icy winter waters bring special dangers. Within two minutes of falling into cold water, a person can be essentially paralyzed, and unable to move to keep himself afloat. The person may gasp and hyperventilate,and have trouble holding his breath. His muscles may cramp, and he may have difficulty swimming.

Within 15 minutes, hypothermia can set in. More waterfowl hunters die from drowning and hypothermia — the loss of body heat — than gunshot wounds. Thrashing about in the water can increase heat loss and cause exhaustion, which may lead to drowning.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 6/27/2012 12:29 PM
Boating safety means being prepared. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is helping by offering pre-launch boat safety checks this summer to make sure the required equipment is onboard, and to answer any questions that could help prevent a citation or accident.

Here are some recent comments that wildlife officers have heard from boaters after four pre-launch boating safety checks in the Piedmont.

As one boater from Mooresville explained to Master Officer Kenneth Osborne, "This was extremely helpful as our family is fairly new to boating.  We'd much rather make sure that we have everything right before hitting the water than get a ticket and have to pay a fine.  Most importantly, we'll feel much safer on the water now, knowing that we have all the safety equipment that we need.”

Another boater, being assisted by Wildlife Officer Scott Strickland, said, "We were short two life jackets and had no idea.  If something had gone wrong, who knows what could have happened?"  The group went directly to a nearby marina and purchased two PFDs and hit the water.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 6/20/2012 9:47 AM

This weekend is Operation Dry Water 2012, an annual nationwide campaign with law enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies out in force June 22-24 to remind boaters that it is unsafe, as well as illegal, to operate a boat under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. In North Carolina, penalties upon conviction include a maximum $1,000 fine and possible jail time.

 

Alcohol consumption by boaters affects:

  • Peripheral vision and ability to focus
  • Judgment and rational decision-making
  • Balance and equilibrium
  • Coordination and reaction time

 

Wind and waves, combined with heat, glare, motor noise and vibration can create a condition known as “boater fatigue.”  It can magnify the effects of alcohol on some individuals up to three times.

By NCWRC blogger on 4/2/2012 11:50 AM
Fishing from a kayak takes a special set of skills that many anglers would like to develop. If you’re one of them, don’t miss out on the free “Kayak Fish and Float Workshop,” — a full-day workshop that combines the healthy activity of kayaking with the relaxing sport of fishing.

Spots are still open for the workshop, which will be held at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville on April 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

With the help of Mark Patterson, of the N.C. Kayak Fishing Association, and Capt. Jerry Dilsaver, participants will learn how to rig their gear while in a kayak and learn fishing basics for bass, mackerel and assorted panfishes. 

The workshop, which will also feature demonstrations of popular fishing kayaks, is a partnership between the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the Great Outdoor Provision Company and Get Outdoors of Greensboro.

Participants must pre-register and pay a refundable fee of $25. The fee is refunded in full after the participant...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/16/2012 9:29 AM
As warm weather returns, boating season begins. Before taking your boat or personal watercraft out for the first time this year, be prepared. Wildlife officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission say a few minutes inspecting equipment and getting familiar with regulations can help you avoid getting a ticket or, even more importantly, help prevent possible injury or hours of distress.

“We’re all anxious to get on the water and have fun,” said Maj. Chris Huebner, state boating safety coordinator. “But first, make sure the right gear is onboard and that everything works, especially if the boat has been in storage. And once you’re out there, be careful as you get into the swing of things. This time of year, air temperatures are warm but water temps are...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/16/2012 11:33 AM
The next time you’re fishing Lake Thom-a-Lex, a 650-acre reservoir located in Davidson County, look for white buoys with orange stripes to increase your chances of reeling in a nice catch. That’s because those white buoys mark the spots where staff with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently dropped fish attractors — in an effort to enhance underwater habitat, attract fish and improve fishing opportunities.

Leading the effort was Keith Hendrickson, a fisheries technician with the Division of Inland Fisheries. He and other division staff placed 20 Mossback fish attractors throughout the lake on Feb. 1, dropping several near the fishing pier, which should help anglers fishing from the bank and the pier catch more fish. 

Unlike Christmas trees or other woody structure often used as fish attractors, Mossback fish attractors are made of plastic so they won’t decompose and, Hendrickson added, they should last for years.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/11/2012 1:42 PM
As savvy visitors to western North Carolina know, a fishing rod and tackle box can be as essential as ski poles and a down jacket in the winter — a time when, if you know where to go and what to fish for, the fishing can be as good, if not better, than other times of the year.

We asked two fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to give us their recommendations for where to fish and what to use if you’re visiting the western part of our state this winter, or, if you’re lucky enough to call this area home year-round.

This week, we’ll talk about trout fishing with Kin Hodges, a fisheries biologist with the Commission. Hodges, who lives and works in the northwestern part of the state in Surry County, suggested that trout anglers try the Ararat River in Mt. Airy, between the N.C. 103 Bridge and Hwy. 52.

This 2-mile section...
By NCWRC blogger on 11/30/2011 10:35 AM
Here are three common violations for waterfowl hunting cited by Wildlife Officers and how you can avoid them.

      1.   Unplugged Shotguns The transition from small game hunting might be a contributing factor for this violation, but regardless of the excuse, waterfowl hunting requires a plug in your semi-auto or pump shotgun to limit the capacity to three. (Unplugged guns are allowed from Feb. 6 – March 10 for Light Geese, which includes snow and blue geese, and Ross’ geese.)

       2.   Shooting After Permissible Time While it’s important not to forget your federal duck stamp and approved shells rather than lead shot, don’t forget to stop hunting at sunset. “This happens, particularly over...
By NCWRC blogger on 11/30/2011 10:30 AM
Legislation has changed concealed carry rules in North Carolina. The general consideration is the law allows more, rather than less, and that is true for game lands, boating access areas, fishing access areas and wildlife conservation areas managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  I know the Castle Doctrine and Session Law 2011-268 have gotten lots of attention and generated questions. Learn more about rules for game lands, boating access areas, fishing access areas and wildlife conservation areas here.

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