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Wildlife Commission approves rule changes

During its business meeting Feb. 25, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reviewed proposed rule changes and accepted 40 of them. 

The Commission received more than 1,500 comments regarding Sunday hunting on game lands during the comment period. The approved regulations will go into effect Aug. 1. 

Adopted rules include: 

  • Sunday Hunting on Game Lands: Forty-five “Six Days per week Game Lands” were approved as “Seven Days per Week Game Lands” where hunting is allowed Monday through Sunday during open seasons. Six “Three Days per Week Game Lands” will become “Four Days per Week Game Lands,” where hunting is allowed Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday during open seasons. The statutory limitations for Sunday hunting, prohibiting hunting with a firearm between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., using firearms to hunt deer with the use of dogs, and hunting with a firearm within 500 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure thereof will also apply on game lands. Additionally, hunting migratory game birds on Sunday is prohibited statewide. 
  • Remote Trap Checking. Remote trap checking systems will be allowed in lieu of a physical trap check under specified conditions. 
  • Wild Quail Management Areas. A new private land program called Wild Quail Management Areas will allow qualified property owners enrolled in the program to implement specific management actions for bobwhite quail. 
  • Public Mountain Trout Waters. Combining the two existing Public Mountain Trout Waters catch-and-release classifications into a single classification, Catch and Release/Artificial Flies and Lures Only Trout Waters, aims to reduce regulatory complexity. 

Rules that changed from what was noticed and presented at the virtual public hearing include:

  • Public Mountain Trout Waters: Proposed boundary changes for Hatchery Supported Trout Waters on Big Pine Creek and Meadow Fork in Alleghany County were removed from consideration at the request of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Remote Trap Checking: Rule was edited for clarification about when and how traps must be checked.
  • Wild Quail Management Areas: The contiguous acreage requirement changed from 1,500 acres to 500 acres, and a minimum of 225 acres or 15 percent of the land, whichever is greater, must be maintained in a year-round bobwhite quail habitat.
  • Trapping on Game Lands: Clarified that food used by trappers may not be processed food products as defined in GS 113-294(r) and that certain feathers, hair and bones do not need to be covered.
  • Goose Creek Game Land: The rule was changed to prohibit the pursing or chasing of deer or bear with dogs for the purposes of training or hunting on the Beaufort County portion of Goose Creek Game Land except for that portion east of Smith Creek and south of Campbell Creek.
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