The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission staff is proposing first-ever hunting seasons for elk in the mountains and alligators in the coastal plain in 2016. Hunting would be by permit only.
The proposals will go to public hearings for comments in January and will be subject to commission approval next year.
The elk herd has grown from 52 animals reintroduced in 2001-2002 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to about 150-200, including those living outside the park, primarily in Haywood County.
An elk season would run from Oct. 1-Nov. 1 on private lands and would be limited to one elk per permit. An alligator season would run Sept. 1-Oct. 1 and would be limited to one gator per permit. Jack Horan
Hickory men join wildlife commission
Dean Proctor and Mike Johnson, both of Hickory, have been appointed to the 19-member board that oversees the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and approves its policies and regulations.
Johnson, named by Gov. Pat McCrory, will represent District 8, an area of 11 counties immediately to the west and northwest of Mecklenburg County. He has been a hunter education instructor for 13 years and avidly hunts wild turkeys. He will serve a six-year term.
Proctor was appointed to an at-large post by House Speaker Tom Moore. Other new appointees are Landon Zimmer of Wilmington and John Stone of Jackson Springs.
Garry Spence of Charlotte is among six reappointed commissioners. ONS
▪ As approved by the N.C. legislature, short-barreled rifles now may be used legally to hunt across the state. These are defined as any rifle with a barrel of less than 16 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches. A hunter or trapper must meet federal requirements to own a short-barreled rifle. These include registering the firearm, paying a federal tax and undergoing a criminal background check by the sheriff’s office in the applicant’s county of residence. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireams administers the procedures.
▪ The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a 59-year-old man Saturday from a 60-foot yacht as it sank in Masonboro Inlet. The “Somewhere In Time” began taking on water after striking a rock jetty. A 29-foot Coast Guard boat responded to a mayday call from the Sundancer-built yacht, recently valued at $700,000.
▪ John Goodwin of the hit A&E television show Duck Dynasty is scheduled to sign autographs March 19-20 during the 32nd Annual Palmetto Sportsman’s Classic in Columbia. The wide-ranging outdoors expo is held at the state fairgrounds. Goodwin will meet fans from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday.
▪ A 698-acre tract named Rainbow Ranch has been added to the Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve in Lancaster County, S.C. The area now covers 2,965 acres. The Rainbow Ranch portion protects 1.5-miles of the Flat Creek floodplain, which is critical habitat for the endangered Carolina Heelsplitter mussel, one of the rarest animals in the world. Only about 150 remain in the wild.
▪ Authorities in North Webster, Ind., say a local woman is recovering after being shot in the foot by her dog. Indiana Conservation Officer Jonathon Boyd said the 25-year-old woman put her 12-gauge shotgun on the ground without the safety on during a waterfowl hunt. Her Labrador retriever stepped on top of the shotgun and depressed the trigger. The woman was shot in the left foot at point-blank range. She was treated at two hospitals and released. The dog’s name? Trigger. Associated Press
Catches of the week
▪ A 72-pound wahoo offshore of Hatteras Village by Edwin Ware of Gaffney, S.C.
▪ A 22-pound blackfin tuna off Hatteras by Anne Benne of Mt. Gilead.
▪ A 46-inch red drum in Pamlico Sound near Hatteras Village by Caroline Gray of Rodanthe.
▪ A 28-pound blackfin tuna off Hatteras by Russell Piland of Conway in Northhampton County.
▪ An 11-pound triggerfish off Charleston by Brian Gulski.
▪ A 12-pound sheepshead near Charleston by local angler Tucker Blythe.
▪ A 30-pound blue catfish at Lake Norman by Drew Goins.