Bill seeks to prevent new bear sanctuary hunts

A bill seeking to strike down an N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rule allowing bear hunting in three Western North Carolina bear sanctuaries was filed in the N.C. General Assembly yesterday.

Bear sanctuary hunting rule now up to legislators

A new rule allowing bear hunting in three Western North Carolina sanctuary areas currently off-limits to the practice might not take effect following an April 21 vote from the N.C. Rules Review Commission.

Balance of bear country: Wildlife Commission takes input on future of WNC bear sanctuaries

Nearly 40 people weighed in on a controversial proposal to allow bear hunting in three mountain sanctuary areas during a Jan. 20 virtual public hearing  before the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

A shift for sanctuaries: Wildlife Commission considers opening new areas to bear hunting

With already record-high bear populations continuing robust growth in Western North Carolina, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is proposing a controversial measure to control them: allowing bear hunting in three bear sanctuaries where it’s currently off-limits. 

Woman injured in bear encounter

A Swannanoa woman sustained serious, though non-life-threatening, injuries Tuesday, Sept. 18, after an encounter with a black bear. 

Elk hearing draws a crowd

A minor adjustment to elk depredation rules brought 70 people — about 40 of them college students — out to Haywood Community College last week for a public hearing with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

To hunt or not to hunt: Elk season proposal debated at public hearing

out frShould North Carolina start thinking about a hunting season for elk? 

If the crowd that turned out to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s public hearing last week is any indication, it depends who you ask. Farmers, hunters, biologists, wildlife enthusiasts and everyone in between filled the seats at Haywood Community College’s auditorium, waiting for the chance to give their two cents on the Wildlife Commission’s proposal to pave the way for an elk hunting season in the future.

Charting the future: Wildlife Commission proposes hunting season on elk

coverFifteen years ago, a herd of 52 elk set foot in their new home — the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — for the first time, the start of an experimental attempt to restore the long-absent species to its rightful place in the North Carolina mountains. 

These days, the elk herd is quite a bit larger, with groups of the animals pinching off the original herd in the Cataloochee area and even taking up residence outside park boundaries. In anticipation of the herd’s continued growth, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has come out with a proposal to pave the way for an elk season, putting up the legal framework to make hunting possible once it deems population levels high enough. Often, proposals related to hunting and wildlife management are controversial, but this one appears to have support from a broad spectrum of people representing a range of wildlife and conservation interests.

Elk hunting by permit being debated by wildlife commission

elkAs the elk herd in Western North Carolina continues to grow, an elk-hunting season could become a possibility under a proposal being considered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

House hunting for elk: Conservation project seeks to attract elk, tourism

out frThings have gone well for the Smokies elk, and they’ve risen from reintroduction experiment to established population. But meanwhile, they’ve outgrown Great Smoky Mountains National Park, spilling over into private lands to find pasture on agricultural fields not intended as gifts to the elk. A land protection project by The Conservation Fund seeks to provide some more suitable places for the elk to go. 

“The reason the elk have come out of the park is there are now more elk than there is habitat to sustain them, so the [N.C.] Wildlife [Resources] Commission is going to need to work to create some habitat that both elk and people will enjoy,” said Bill Holman, state director of The Conservation Fund. 

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