Wildlife Commission opens public comment period for proposed regulation changes

Staff Report

RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has opened the public comment period for proposed changes to agency regulations related to wildlife management, inland fisheries and game lands for the 2018-19 seasons.

The comment period will be open from Dec. 1 until Feb. 1, 2018. Comments may be submitted online, emailed to regulations@ncwildlife.org (must include name, phone number and mailing address in e-mail) or mailed to: Rules Coordinator, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1701.

The public can also provide comments at one of nine public hearings the Commission is conducting across the state in January. One of those hearings will be held in Elkin at Elkin High School, 334 Elk Spur St., on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.

Three proposed changes of interest to deer hunters statewide will:

• Establish five deer season zones by separating the Eastern Zone into two zones — the Northeastern Zone and the Southeastern Zone. This regulation would also move Polk and Rutherford counties to the Western Zone and Cleveland County to the Northwest Zone (see proposed deer seasons zone map)

•Change season length and time frames; establish a statewide antlered deer bag limit of two and a statewide antlerless deer bag limit of four; and restrict the use of bonus antlerless deer tags to the Urban Archery Season. There would be no changes in the season opening dates for archery; however, where other seasons begin later, archery seasons would be longer than currently established seasons.

• Shift the either-sex season to the beginning of the Introductory, Conservative and Moderate Antlerless Deer seasons (see chart for affected counties).

Proposed regulations of interest to bear hunters will:

• Modify the bear hunting season in the Coastal Bear Management Unit (CBMU) to align hunting seasons in five bear hunting zones (see chart).

• Modify the bear hunting season in the Mountain Bear Unit to add two weeks to the beginning of the current season.

Another proposed hunting regulation would allow limited take of American alligators by permit only as prescribed in the recently approved Alligator Management Plan. The proposed regulation would also establish a one-month season with a bag limit of one per permit and a season limit of one per person as well as manner of take.

For justifications on the above proposed regulations, as well as a complete list of all 35 proposed changes to the agency’s wildlife management, inland fisheries and game lands regulations for the 2018-19 seasons, download the Public Hearings Applying to 2018-2019 Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Seasons information booklet. Visit the Commission’s blog for more detailed information about the proposed deer regulations and bear regulations.

One hearing set in Elkin

Staff Report