RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission accepted 40 rule changes related to wildlife management, inland fisheries and game lands for the 2021-22 seasons at its business meeting on Feb. 25. The effective date for these regulations is Aug. 1.
During the open comment period, the commission received input from constituents regarding the proposed changes, including over 1,500 comments about Sunday hunting on game lands. Commissioners carefully weighed all comments before voting on the rules.
Highlights of the rules adopted by commissioners include:
• Sunday Hunting on Game Lands: Forty-five six days per week game lands, which includes the Thurmond Chatham area in northern Wilkes, 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: Allow for the use of remote trap checking systems in lieu of a physical trap check under specified conditions.
• Wild Quail Management Areas: Creates a new private land program called Wild Quail Management Areas that allows qualified property owners enrolled in the program to implement specific management actions for bobwhite quail.
• Public Mountain Trout Waters: Reduced regulatory complexity by 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.
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: Changed contiguous acreage requirement from 1,500 acres to 500 acres. Added that a minimum of 225 acres or 15% 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.