Hunting season arrives, state celebrates
Justin Grimes / (firstname.lastname@example.org)
N.C. Sportsman Magazine claims that it should be a good season for deer and that “bears are increasing in numbers in the mountains. Western North Carolina is coming on strong to challenge the east in numbers, if not overall size, of bears. The nine western bear sanctuaries have helped increase bear numbers.”
Hope Teaster, co-owner of Personal Touch gun shop in Linville, agreed. “Our business is up this time of year and we sure do have a lot of bear hunters in Avery,” she said.
According to the wildlife commission, during 2011, hunters harvested 1,170 bears in Western North Carolina.
Avery bear hunters don’t have to go far to engage a black bear – the Linville Gorge region near Grandfather Mountain has good bear hunting and the proximity of Pisgah and Nantahala national forests and nearby bear sanctuaries eliminates the need to travel long distances.
The Pisgah and Nantahala national forests are favorite places for still-hunters, although dogging dominates. Some bear sanctuaries offer permit-only hunts. Mount Mitchell Bear Sanctuary has still hunts or dog hunts. Daniel Boone Bear Sanctuary offers 16 two-day permit bear hunts and two-year-old Pond Mountain Game Land in the northwest corner of Ashe County has five permit-only bear hunts. To learn more about the permit hunts, click to http://www.ncwildlife.org.
National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to celebrate conservation successes of hunters and anglers. Hunting, fishing and related activities directly support upwards of 29,000 jobs and $818 million in income in North Carolina.
This year’s National Hunting and Fishing Day is noteworthy because it is the culmination of a yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. WSFR uses the excise taxes paid by hunters, anglers and boaters to improve hunting, fishing and boating opportunities in North Carolina.
“National Hunting and Fishing Day is our chance to thank sportsmen for their contributions to conservation, and an opportunity to invite others, especially youth, to join us,” said Travis Casper, the state hunter education coordinator. “The future of fish and wildlife depends upon tomorrow’s stewards.”
In the west, the event takes place at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, located at 1401 Fish Hatchery Road, Pisgah Forest near Brevard. The event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 22. Hands-on and family-oriented interactive exhibits and demonstrations include fishing, outdoor cooking, archery and pellet rifle range. For more information, contact Lee Sherrill at (828) 877-4423.
Through interactive activities and demonstrations, participants can connect with nature and test their outdoor skills. Some of the activities, which vary for each event, include:
• Fishing (with bait and tackle provided);
• Shooting a bow and arrow and pellet guns with a qualified instructor;
• Seeing live animals, such as reptiles, amphibians and raptors;
• Outdoor cooking over a fire — and tasting the results; and
• Learning about North Carolina’s hunting heritage.