Biologist Honored for Quail Work
Benjy Strope, a technical assistance biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, has been given the Wildlife Management Excellence Award from the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society. The award recognizes his work in establishing and managing early-successional habitat on corporate-owned swine farms and private lands in southeastern North Carolina.
Strope, who has worked at the Commission for 11 years, received the award during the recent annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Strope has been instrumental in securing and managing $566,000 in grants to improve more than 1,000 acres of quail habitat. This year, the area in which he worked demonstrated what is likely the highest density of quail populations in North Carolina.
“Integrating natural resource management strategies into the management of large farms will continue to be a challenging but necessary process if agricultural producers are to address wildlife and environmental quality,” said Commission Wildlife Management Chief David Cobb. “This is a model that can be replicated in other areas of the state and on corporate farms across the nation. The Wildlife Management Excellence Award is fitting recognition of his hard work, dedication and leadership.”
Strope mainly works with corporate farmers, successfully convincing farmers that making a profit can be accomplished while providing wildlife habitat and improving water quality. He monitors nutrients and pollutants in ditches and waterways on his project farms to improve water quality, and conducts spring bird counts to monitor quail and other early-successional bird species. He also coordinates surveys to determine wildlife response to habitat improvements.
As a direct result of his habitat improvements, there are frequent observations of high-priority and shrinking populations of songbirds, such as blue grosbeaks, indigo buntings and dicksissels. In addition to conducting field days and workshops for local farmers, Strope is sought out by farmers for his expertise. Strope also coordinates with scientists from local universities to study habitat improvement methods.
Wildlife Officer Receives Governors Award for Excellence
Sgt. Anthony Sharum, a wildlife officer with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, received the 2012 Governor’s Award for Excellence for Outstanding Service on Nov. 27.
Sgt. Sharum, who is stationed in Rowan County, received the honor for exhibiting service and initiative far above the normal requirements of his job. He has contributed significantly to promoting the public image of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and of state employees as a whole.
The Governor’s Award for Excellence is the highest honor a state employee may receive. The award acknowledges and expresses appreciation for outstanding accomplishments that do not fall entirely within the scope of normal duties. The meritorious service is so singularly outstanding that special recognition is justified.
One example of Sgt. Sharum going above and beyond the call of duty happened last December. While charging a hunter for not having a hunting license, he learned the man was an unemployed single father with a 9-year-old daughter at home. They were living in a rented trailer without much furniture beyond a couch, a mattress and kerosene heater. Food was just as scarce. Sgt. Sharum recognized that the holidays looked rather bleak for them and he had just issued the father a ticket.
After processing the case, Sgt. Sharum initiated a project to help the family through his network of professional colleagues and on social media. A local businessman donated a hunting license. Local churches, civic groups and neighbors provided clothes, household items and food. A fund was established to assist with immediate utility bills, fuel costs and other financial needs.
Then, Sgt. Sharum began collecting gifts for the little girl. On Christmas morning, a pickup truck was needed to deliver all the presents.
Sgt. Sharum has stayed in touch with the family. He says the father is now employed and self-sufficient, and the daughter is doing well.
That story exemplifies the character of Sgt. Sharum, according to his supervisor, Lt. Perry Smith.
The states crow season is now open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Designated delayed harvest trout waters have now reverted back to the single hook artificial lure status. Some of these streams include portions of Jacobs Fork in Burke County, Wilson Creek in Caldwell County, Curtis Creek, Mill Creek and the Catawba River adjacent to the Marion Greenway in McDowell County, East Prong of Roaring River, Stone Mountain Creek and Reddies Creek all in Wilkes County.
The states dove season is now closed.
In the states Western Zone, the firearm season is now open through December 8.
Deer hunters should keep in mind that Sunday hunting on private lands is allowed for deer and other wildlife with archery equipment provided that the Sunday occurs during the normal season dates for that species of wildlife. The firearm season for deer is now open in the Northwestern Deer Zone through January 1. In the Central and Eastern Deer Zones, the regular gun season is now open through January 1.
The states bear season will open back up in many areas of the state on December 10.
(Some game lands hunting in these areas may be different so check the current regulations digest for more specific information)