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

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By NCWRC blogger on 7/29/2014 2:14 PM
The muzzleloader deer hunting season has been renamed the “blackpowder season.” (See page 41 of the 2014-2015 Regulations Digest.) The name change has prompted some questions. Here are some clarifying points:

During the blackpowder and archery deer season, the only lawful firearms are blackpowder shotguns, blackpowder rifles and blackpowder handguns.

This means that both blackpowder firearms and archery equipment are lawful methods of take during the blackpowder season, which is the same as it was under previous muzzleloading seasons. It does not indicate that blackpowder is lawful during the archery season. 

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission defines blackpowder firearms as any firearm — including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock,...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/6/2013 12:07 PM
Everyone is used to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission wildlife officers instructing hunting education, boating safety and the importance of conservation. But they get plenty of training themselves.

Last week, Col. Randy Stark of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources taught "The Importance of Adaptive Leadership" at the N.C. Public Safety Center in Raleigh.

Stark is Wisconsin’s chief conservation warden, responsible for supervision and administration of conservation law enforcement and environmental enforcement programs across that state. He is the president of the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs.

Captain Jon Evans, Training Director for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement said, 

“This leadership training is a reflection of the Division of Law Enforcement’s vision to strive for an atmosphere of continuous improvement and develop all of its employees, a persistent focus on gaining compliance of both statutes and rules through...
By NCWRC blogger on 11/19/2012 4:05 PM

This time of year is a season for tradition and heritage. People will gather with families and friends reminiscing about old times,enjoying the present and making memories for the future — from eating turkey,watching football, drinking eggnog, hanging greenery and hunting. The N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission through its Home From The Hunt™ campaign urges everyone not to overlook the safety aspects of your hunting outings with family and friends.

By NCWRC blogger on 10/24/2012 2:03 PM

Hunters are required to wear a cap, hat or an outer garment in blaze orange that is visible from all sides whenever they are hunting bear, feral hogs, deer,rabbit, squirrel, grouse, pheasant or quail with a firearm. Archery hunters hunting deer during the muzzleloading or gun season also must wear blaze orange anytime during that season. 

Blaze orange, also known as hunter orange for obvious reasons, isn’t a color found in nature, making it instantly recognizable as a human presence. 

More information here

By NCWRC blogger on 9/11/2012 12:11 PM
With archery season for deer opening on Saturday in most of the state and on Monday in the western counties, the Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign lists the following recommendations:
• Always point your crossbow, longbow, compound bow in a safe direction.
• Only release an arrow after positively identifying your target and what’s beyond it.
• Know your equipment’s capabilities and limitations.
• Never carry a bow with a notched arrow.
• Keep your fingers and thumb below the rail of a crossbow at all times.
• Never “dry-fire” any archery equipment, because releasing without an arrow can cause sudden breakage.

For more information on deer seasons and required hunting education, go to www.ncwildlife.org or call 919-707-0031.
By NCWRC blogger on 8/30/2012 12:52 PM
Bill Stancil is a hunter education instructor who lives in Rocky Mount. A retired newspaperman and a regular contributor to the Hunter Education Program newsletter, this is an article from the Summer 2012 issue about a particularly adventurous hunting trip last season, and a different perspective from his bird dog’s viewpoint.  The headshot photo shows Stancil. The other photo shows Ginger and a friend. A Hunting Trip, a Bird Dog, Women’s Intuition and a Game Warden The season for quail hunting ended Wednesday, so before the rains came, Frank and I took my bird dog, “Ginger,” to the Tillery Game Lands last Wednesday. Since Ginger has a penchant for wanting to hunt on her own, without the benefit of my company (a trait blamed on her owner and trainer by someone else in this household), I bought a new battery for her training collar. The weather...
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 4/28/2012 9:07 AM

On Saturday morning, teams from schools across the state arrived at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s 34th Hunter Education Tournament.

Here’s how it breaks down, by the numbers:

High school students: 341

Middle school students: 259

Tents in staging area: 36

Rain: None yet

Port-a-johns: 16

Shuttle buses from parking lot: 3

Boxes of skeet: 50

Skeet per box: 135

Bows: About 300

Parents and coaches gathered around the scoreboard at 10 a.m.: 12

By NCWRC blogger on 4/27/2012 7:23 PM
It’s 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and the shooting range is quiet.

So’s the archery range, orienteering course and parking lot, for that matter.

But come 7 a.m. Saturday morning, the situation will change. Here at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will host the 34th annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament.

This popular state championship for pre-collegiate shooting sports annually draws participants and spectators from across North Carolina. An estimated 3,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event.

The parking lot will fill with teams from 54 schools across North Carolina, proud parents, siblings and picnic lunches in tow. Students will be ready to take aim with shotguns and bows, and test their wildlife knowledge and orienteering skills.

Long before the students arrive, however, the several dozen volunteers, Hunter Education Instructors, Hunter Education Specialists, officers from the Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement and other agency staff have shown up to make sure the camp is ready for the students. Ranges have been set up. Archery targets sit in a stack, waiting to be used. Sunscreen, water and television scoreboards are readied.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/26/2012 8:28 AM
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will host the 34th annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament on Saturday, April 28, at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe. This popular state championship for pre-collegiate shooting sports annually draws participants and spectators from across North Carolina. An estimated 3,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event. “This is the highest level of shooting sports competition of its kind in the state,” said Travis Casper, state hunter education coordinator. “Besides the hundreds of participants who qualified to get here at a district level, several hundred more spectators typically show up. We invite anyone with an interest in shooting sports to attend and there’s no admission charge.”

Competition is conducted on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels, with overall team...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/18/2012 11:09 AM
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will host the 34th annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament on Saturday, April 28, at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe. This popular state championship for pre-collegiate shooting sports annually draws participants and spectators from across North Carolina. An estimated 3,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event.

“This is the highest level of shooting sports competition of its kind in the state,” said Travis Casper, state hunter education coordinator. “Besides the hundreds of participants who qualified to get here at a district level, several hundred more spectators typically show up. We invite anyone with an interest in shooting sports to attend and there’s no admission charge.”

Competition is conducted on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/4/2012 8:47 AM

Lt. Matt Long, a wildlife officer with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, recently completed FBI National Academy training in law enforcement techniques. He is stationed in Columbus County.

The FBI National Academy at Quantico, Va., is considered to be the premier law enforcement learning and research center worldwide.  Lt. Long spent 10 weeks there, training in forensics, computer crimes, leadership, interpersonal communications, physical fitness and managing death investigations,.

“It was an incredible learning experience,” Lt. Long said. “There were 257 students from 48 states and 28 countries. There is no place in the world to assemble that amount of experience in law enforcement.”

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 2/21/2012 1:25 PM
A Georgia man apprehended in North Carolina was sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine, and ordered to serve six months’ probation for attempting to transport deer illegally from Pennsylvania to Georgia.

Donald Lee Vaughn, 48, of Villa Rica, Ga., had been apprehended in Yadkin County, where wildlife officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission determined that there were no transport permits of veterinary health certificates accompanying the deer. He pleaded guilty in federal court in Atlanta on Nov. 30, 2011.

“Shipping wildlife across state lines without testing for illness and disease potentially threatens the health of our wild deer population,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. “Experts tell us that once diseases spread, they are almost impossible to eradicate.”

Federal law requires that any deer shipped out of state must be tested for tuberculosis and accompanied by proper ear tags and a veterinarian’s certificate. In North Carolina, it is illegal for anyone to possess deer unless they have a proper license or permit and comply with its conditions. Otherwise, the animals are considered contraband and their continued possession is illegal.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/10/2012 3:09 PM
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has set the schedule for the 2012 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournaments, marking the 34th year for the popular statewide shooting sports events.  Hundreds of middle school and high school students will participate in this incentive component of Hunter Education Program.

The past 10 years have witnessed a tremendous growth. For example, in 2001 there were 12 teams competing in my district, D-7, and there were 42 teams last year. In 2011, there were 218 teams total in the nine district tournaments.

I recently met with a couple of schools that had inquired on how to start a team. This has become a rather common inquiry this time of year. Here are a few of the more common questions asked by school administrators, potential coaches and community leaders.

How do we get started? Generally, I send the administrator a copy of the rules and schedule a meeting to discuss eligibility requirements, general safety rules, and the basic competition structure. I...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/13/2012 9:05 AM
Some of the most important people for the outdoors work indoors.

Dispatchers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission spend their careers in an insulated, security-sealed room on the fourth floor of headquarters in Raleigh, but the work they do enables Wildlife Officers in the field to do their job more effectively and safely.  Dispatchers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for the Wildlife Commission.  The dispatch center holds phones, radios for a statewide network, computers that link to licenses files, criminal records and boating registration.  They receive hundreds of calls a day from the public, other agencies and with wildlife officers.

Telecommunications supervisor Kelvin Moses says when it comes to watching out for conservation and sportsmen, “you can’t underestimate the role of the general public....
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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