Back in January, a public hearing was held to allow comments concerning changes that could be coming the North Carolina's hunting and fishing rules.
The proposed changes outlined at the hearing would affect the 2014-2015 fishing, hunting and trapping seasons. Though the meeting took place a month ago, public comment will be accepted through February 14 before any decisions are made by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC).
“In February 2014, after considering comments from the public and consulting with staff, the Wildlife Resources Commission will make final decisions on the proposed regulations,” said James Cogdell, chairman of the commission. “The rules that are adopted will then be available in the N.C. Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest 2014-2015.The Regulations Digest will be available on Aug. 1, 2014 from your licensing agent and on the NCWRC website at www.ncwildlife.org.”
According to Cogdell, all state regulatory agencies must follow certain procedures that govern how rules are adopted under the Administration Procedure Act. Public notice is required and proposed regulations are published in the North Carolina Register. A comment period then follows much like the January meeting that was held in Murphy for district nine which includes Macon County.
“These procedures are designed to give the proposed regulations wide public exposure and to offer the public opportunities to respond with support, opposition or suggestions,” he said. “For fish and wildlife regulations, this process begins at the previous year's hearings and continues throughout the year. We consider all suggestions presented to us during the past year as starting points for these proposed regulations.”
Under the proposed regulations specific to Macon County, there is a suggestion to reclassify 0.5 mile of Skitty Creek from Hatchery Supported Trout Waters to Wild Trout Waters with the justification being that the creek is located on Nantahala Game Land and not supported by trout stockings.
Under game animal regulations, some of the proposed changes are as follows:
Change the opening day of the Western Deer Archery Season from the Monday on or nearest to Sept. 10 to the Saturday on or nearest to Sept. 10.
Change the closing day of the first segment of the Western Deer Archery Season from a Saturday to a Sunday. Open and close the second segment of the Western Deer Archery Season on Sundays.
Allow bears to be taken with the aid or use of unprocessed foods (such as corn, raw peanuts, apples, etc.) but not while actually consuming the unprocessed foods, on private lands from the first open Monday of the bear hunting season to the following Saturday only in counties comprising the Coastal Bear Management Unit and Mountain Bear Management Unit (this includes Macon).
Remove the restriction on hunting raccoons during daylight hours west of U.S. 1.
Reduce the minimum draw weight for crossbows from 150 to 100 pounds.
Allow deer and bears to be taken with any type of handgun and ammunition, except that body armor-piercing projectiles would be prohibited.
Remove the mandatory time requirements for the Hunter Education Course.
Create a Wildlife Poacher Reward Fund to pay rewards to persons who provide information that results in the arrest and conviction of persons who have committed wildlife offenses.
To learn more about the proposals and their justifications or commenting on these changes can go to https://ncpaws.org/PAWS/WRC/PublicComments/PublicEntry/PublicComments.aspx