Outdoor Briefs

Nov. 21, 2012 @ 04:36 PM

Hurricane Bass Stocking

 The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission coordinated with bass clubs and a private fish hatchery on Nov. 3 to tag and release 153 adult largemouth bass in the Northeast Cape Fear River.

 Members of Topsail Bassmasters and Burgaw Hawg Hunters, working with fisheries biologists, released the fish in the river near Holly Shelter in Pender County to help bolster the existing population, which had been hit especially hard by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Club members purchased the fish from Southeast Pond Stocking with money from fundraisers and other donations from Team Bassmasters and Northeast Bass Anglers.

 Although recent Commission surveys confirm that most coastal river fish populations appear to be recovering naturally from Hurricane Irene, previous Commission studies suggest that releases of largemouth bass greater than 8 inches may enhance local populations where natural recovery is slow. Biologists hope that this supplemental stocking of fish, which range between 10 and 14 inches in length, will help speed the population’s natural recovery.

 To evaluate the effectiveness of the stocking, biologists clipped a pelvic fin and injected a small magnetic chip in the cheek of each fish before release. They will sample the river periodically, and coordinate with tournament directors, to check largemouth bass for magnetic chips and determine the contribution of these released fish to the local population as well as tournament weigh-ins.

 This stocking in the Northeast CapeFear River is the second where fisheries biologists have teamed with local bassclubs and other stakeholders to help supplement a fishery impacted by Hurricane Irene. In late September, almost 200 largemouth bass, ranging from 8 to 12 inches in length, were collected from a private lake in Edgecombe County and stocked in the lower Roanoke River near Plymouth.

 Each stocking will be evaluated to provide additional insight on management options following hurricane-induced fish kills.

 “We appreciate the opportunity to work with Topsail Bassmasters, Burgaw Hawg Hunters and other coastal region angling groups as we explore responsible stocking options in efforts to supplement natural recovery following extensive hurricane-induced fish kills,”said Kevin Dockendorf, the Commission’s coastal fisheries research coordinator.“We continue to update our response plan as we learn more about management actions that may enhance sport fisheries with wise use of available resources.”

Pisgah Center Recognized for Excellence

 The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, located alongside the Davidson River in Transylvania County, has been recognized for excellence in environmental education.

The Environmental Educators of North Carolina named the wildlife education center as its 2012 Exceptional Environmental Education Program. The award was presented in October as a part of an annual conference in Washington, N.C.

The award recognizes a program, education center or organization that exemplifies excellence in environmental education. The recipient must reach beyond the“usual scope and scale” to create a sustainable commitment to environmentaleducation, a more environmentally literate public, a stronger profession for environmental educators and otherwise support the mission and objectives of theEnvironmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC).

 “The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is an ideal example of what an ExceptionalEnvironmental Education Program can be,” said Keith Bamberger, EENC boardmember. “It is a bridge between traditional hunting and fishing, environmental management for the common good, and education using the outdoors as aclassroom. Their scope and scale reach tourists through the center, teachersthrough workshops, and into the classroom with direct programming.”

 “I think the Pisgah Center stood out because we have about 13,000 program participants a year, more than a 100,000 visitors every year and we are free,” said Melinda Patterson, center director. “A great way to help sustain conservation is to learn more about North Carolina’s wildlife and habitats. And that’s as easy as visiting an education center like ours, or signing up for classes or workshops or checking out our videos and publications.

  In-Season

 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 provided that the Sunday occurs during the normal season dates for that species of wildlife. This would mean that the season for archery hunting of deer would be closed on Sunday prior to the opening of the regular gun season.

 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.

 (Some game lands hunting in these areas may be different so check the current regulations digest for more specific information)