By Don Mallicoat- Many of our local families have been waiting on this. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, along with Neuse Sport Shop and the U.S. Forest Service, will sponsor more than 30 kids’ fishing events across the state in May and early June.
The events are being held in support of National Fishing and Boating Week. Kids can fish for free and register to win prizes at each event, including a statewide drawing for a unified lifetime license. The license, donated by Neuse Sport Shop in Kinston, includes both fishing and hunting privileges. I don’t know how many years they have been doing this, but I suspect long enough for folks to take their kids and then grandkids out to catch some fish.
The Commission will donate an additional 100 prizes, such as fishing rod and reel combos, towels, playing cards and mini-tackle boxes. A final drawing for the prizes will be conducted at the end of June with a list of winners published on ncwildlife.org in July. Local sponsors may also provide prizes and gifts at fishing events to registered participants. The Commission will also stock fish at many sites before the events to give participants a better chance of catching fish.
Here are the events in our area. The next on the schedule is May 22nd, There are three events on the calendar for June 1st. Buncombe County will have two of those, one of those the regular Kids Fishing Day at Lake Powhatan starting at 9 a.m. Contact is Lorie Stroup, 828.877.3265.
The next appears to be a new event this year, a Fishing Derby at Charles D. Owen Pond in Swannanoa. This one starts at 8 a.m. and contact for questions is Lynn Pegg at 828.250.4369. Both have on-site registration. The third event on June 1st will be the long-standing Carolina Hemlocks Campground in Yancey County also starting at 9 a.m. The contact for this one is also Brandon Jones. The last in our area is June 8th, 9 – 11 a.m. at the Haywood County Test Farm Pond. Pre-registration is required by calling Tanya Poole at 828.329.3472. So mark your calendar, grab the kids and grandkids, and have some fun fishing!
At its regular meeting in April the WRC set the season dates and bag limits for migratory birds within the Federal framework. Let’s look at some of the more popular in our region. First up is dove starting on Labor Day, Monday, September 2nd. That’s right, September 1st falls on a Sunday, and no migratory bird hunting is allowed on that day. That first split of the season continues until October 6th, with additional seasons from November 16 -30 and December 9th through January 31.
The resident Canada Goose season also starts on September 2nd and continues through September 30th. This is the special conservation season with extended shooting hours, unplugged shotguns, and use of electronic calls. The regular goose season has three splits, October 2 – 12, November 16 – December 7, and December 14, 2019 – February 8, 2020.
The general duck season will also open October 2 – 5 for the first split. Two additional seasons will be November 16 – December 2, and the final from December 14, 2019 – January 31, 2020. Also this year the WRC has added Veteran’s Waterfowl days on the same days at the Youth Waterfowl hunts on February 1st and 8th.
There’s not much good news coming out of our nation’s capital but here’s some for sportsmen, particularly shooters. Both the House and Senate passed bills, and the President signed, titled the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. Pittman-Robertson funds use came with some restrictions.
First, it required a 25% match by non-federal funding for range construction, operation, and maintenance. That amount has been reduced to 10%. Existing law also requires P-R funds for shooting ranges to be used within two years. Due to construction planning and budget cycles this was sometimes difficult to accomplish. The new law will extend that time to five years.
The regular turkey season ended in grand fashion with a frog choking rain. It didn’t matter to me. My season was already a bust. Early season success eluded me and it seems that once the hens went to next the toms stopped calling and strutting. Neither the farm owners where I hunt, nor I, saw or heard a tom the last two weeks of the season. Other hunters report similar experiences. I was there when my son harvested his tom. Which made my season!