Is Mecklenburg County one of the more productive places in the state to hunt deer?
Sounds counter-intuitive, as Mecklenburg is North Carolinas most urbanized county, with an estimated human population of more than 900,000.
But last year Mecklenburg's deer harvest reached a record 792 animals and the number of antlered bucks per square mile was a robust 2.97 (the statewide average was 1.90 bucks).
The harvest compares to 672 deer in 2010, 684 in 2009 and 723 in 2008, according to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Thirty years ago, in 1981, Mecklenburg hunters killed 37 deer.
Further, Mecklenburg County ranked 12th in deer taken with a bow or a crossbow with 326 bucks and does.
The top county for bow/crossbow kills? Wake, home to Raleigh. Wake non-gun hunters bagged 606 deer out of a total of 2,639. Wake ranked fourth of the 100 counties in terms of antlered bucks per square mile with 3.39. Hunting restrictions in urban areas can produce high deer densities.
No. 1 was Northampton County with 4.37 bucks per square mile and a total harvest of 5,289 deer. Jack Horan
Saltwater, freshwater agencies could merge
The N.C. legislature directed state saltwater and freshwater fisheries officials to study whether their agencies might be reorganized and possibly merged. To that end, public comment will be sought at two meetings this month in Raleigh.
The public can comment before the Marine Fisheries Commission at 6 p.m. Aug. 22 and 9 a.m. Aug. 23 at the Brownstone Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, 1707 Hillsborough St. The Wildlife Resources Commission will receive public comments Aug. 29 at commission headquarters conference room, 1751 Varsity Drive, N.C. State University Centennial Campus.
Two other meetings will be held Sept. 5 in New Bern and Sept. 6 in Manteo.
The comments will apply to the marine fisheries division (which regulates saltwater fish), wildlife commission (freshwater fish) and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which promotes the marketing of seafood, licenses aquaculture operations but doesn't regulate fisheries.
Senate bill 851, signed into law this summer, tells fisheries agencies to look at whether they might be reorganized for greater efficiency and to report the findings to the Legislative Research Commission's Committee on Marine Fisheries by Oct. 1. Observer News Services
Wildlife Commission welcomes 19 officers
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission welcomed 19 wildlife officers into service at graduation ceremonies on Aug. 2.
The group, which completed more than 800 hours of training over 19 weeks, includes Jarret C. Culbreth of Tryon in Polk County; Joshua L. Freeborn, Salisbury, Rowan County; Brody A. Green, Boone, Watauga County; Michael G. Gunn, Gastonia, Gaston County; Daniel R. Kennedy, Robbins, Moore County; Brandson S. Lyon, Ronda, Wilkes County; Zachary J. Smith, Harmony, Iredell County; and Jesse F. Weicker, Columbus, Polk County.
They now begin six months of on-the-job training.
A booklet on careers in wildlife enforcement is available online or by calling 919-707-0101. ONS
Public hearings set on regulation changes
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has scheduled a series of public hearings in September on 68 proposed changes to the states wildlife management and fishing regulations for the 2013-2014 seasons. An online comment form also will be available starting in early August.
The proposals include creating a one-week, youth-only wild turkey season in April; removing restrictions on carrying firearms during the deer bow-and-arrow season and pistols during the muzzleloader season, and allowing hunting with muzzleloading pistols; adding bighead and silver carp to the list of species that are unlawful to transport, purchase, possess, sell or stock into public or private waters.
A hearing will be held in each of the Wildlife Commissions nine districts. The schedule includes: District 6, South Stanly High in Norwood, on Sept. 13; District 7, Wilkes Community College on Sept. 20; and District 8, at Morgantons Municipal Auditorium on Sept. 19. All meetings begin at 7 p.m. ONS
Catches of the week
• A 7-pound, 14-ounce sheepshead at Bogue Inlet Pier bv Jeff Hall of Kinston.
• A Meat Fish Slam, plus one, by a party fishing aboard the Christy II out of Georgetown Landing Marina on the S.C. Coast. The anglers caught dolphin, wahoo and yellowfin tuna for the slam, and added a king mackerel.
• A blue marlin and sailfish boated and released by anglers fishing from the Big Kahuna out of Georgetown Landing.
• A 70-pound wahoo by Jordan Packer of Zuni, Va., while trolling from the Marlin Mania out of Teachs Lair at Hatteras Village.
• A 9-pound flounder at Kill Devil Hills by spearfisherman Dough Roughton.