The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has approved changes to the state’s hunting, fishing and trapping regulations for 2013-14. These new fishing and hunting regulations will take effect Aug. 1, 2013, with the exception of changes to the Spring Youth-Only Wild Turkey Season that will become effective April 1, 2013.

Following a process of reviewing public comments on the proposed changes, the Commission voted to adopt the regulation changes at its Nov. 8 meeting in Raleigh.

The proposals were approved as presented at the public hearings with several key exceptions.

The Commission modified a proposal to change restrictions for taking an animal in the act of depredation. The Commission did not adopt the provision that would allow the use of artificial lights without a permit for taking wildlife in the act of depredation.

The language of a proposal regarding Perkins Game Land in Davie County was changed slightly to prohibit equestrian use Nov. 1 through Jan. 1. This change was made at the landowner’s request to reduce potential conflicts between horseback riders and hunters.

Also, beginning spring 2013, turkey season will have two changes under the Commission’s adopted proposals. The new regulations will allow an adult to accompany more than one youth during the Spring Youth-Only Wild Turkey Season. Also, the proposals create a one-week Spring Youth-Only Wild Turkey Season from the first Saturday in April through the following Friday. The bag limit for this entire week will be one bird.

The Commission disapproved a fishing proposal to reclassify the portion of the upper Nantahala River and its tributaries on Commission game lands from Wild Trout Waters to Wild/Natural Bait Waters, so that the current regulation classifications will remain in effect. A proposal to remove 6.8 miles of Yellow Creek in Graham County on private land from Public Mountain Trout Waters was amended to maintain the lower 1.8 miles of the creek as Hatchery Supported Trout Waters based upon input received from the landowner during the public hearing process.

The Commission tabled proposed changes to captive cervid regulations that would have expanded importation of deer and licensing of deer farming operations in North Carolina. Instead, the Commission will form a cervid disease task force composed of agency staff, representatives from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the captive cervid farming industry, hunting groups, taxidermists, a public health representative and other groups to examine rules pertaining to captive deer operations as well as regulations concerning the threat of importation of exotic wildlife diseases, including imports of hunter-harvested animals.

“The recent detection of Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania exemplifies how difficult it can be to safeguard the health of our valuable wildlife resources,” said Gordon Myers, executive director of the Commission. “The board’s charge to establish a cervid disease task force reinforces its commitment to continually examine all potential risks to wildlife health.”

The task force will report back to the Commission in May.

For a complete list of the 2013-14 proposals as presented at the public hearings, see this document.

Logo courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

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