08/29/04 — Outdoor col. Aug. 29

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Outdoor col. Aug. 29

By Gene Price
Published in Sports on August 29, 2004 2:00 AM

Quail, small game Program promising

A program initiated by the Wildlife Resources Commission to restore bobwhite quail and other small game and nongame species has attracted national and international interest. And early results are encouraging.

That was the report of the commission's Game Management Division on the status of the Cooperative Upland habitat Restoration and Enhancement (CURE) program.

Thousands of acres of private and public land in the western, central and eastern regions of the state are involved. Under the program, private landowners are compensated for devoting portions of their property to provide enhanced cover and feeding areas for wildlife, especially small game such as quail and rabbits -- but also for songbirds.

To establish the program, the Wildlife Commission in August of 2000 appropriated an initial $1 million and reorganized and expanded its Game Management Division.

Quail surveys this past spring showed increases in coveys in all CURE areas.

The project has been featured in articles in Progressive Farmer and American Farmland Trust magazines, as well as in numerous newspaper articles and television programs.

Quail Unlimited chapters across the state played a significant role in establishment of the CURE program.

While the Wildlife Commission had enjoyed marked success in restoring deer, bear and turkey populations and in managing its fisheries programs, quail populations in this state -- and many others -- were declining steadily.

Field research by wildlife biologists showed modern agricultural practices, compromising wildlife habitat was a big part of the problem.

Waterfowl seasons set

Waterfowl seasons and bag limits will be essentially the same as last year. The Wildlife Resources Commission this past week approved -- with one adjustment -- staff recommendations based on a framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Commissioners voted to begin the first segment a week earlier than the original staff recommendation.

Options were outlined earlier this month at public hearings held across the state.

Early season and regular season rules now are in place.

Waterfowlers can take Canada geese during all of September with daily bag limits of five birds except in Dare and Currituck counties where a two-bird bag is in effect.

Hunters can take teal from September 9 through September 18 east of U.S. 17. Four teal can be taken daily. The regular duck season will be in three segments: September 29 - October 2, November 6-27 and December 11- January 22.

The daily bag can include six ducks with no more than four mallards (only two hen mallards), two wood ducks, two redheads, three scaup, four scoters, one pintail, one canvasback and one black duck.

Black ducks cannot be taken before December 11. Pintails and canvasbacks cannot be taken until December 20.

The regular Canada goose season will be November 6-27 and December 11-January 22 in the resident population zone.

A Youth Waterfowl Day will be observed January 29 for youngsters 15 and under.

Gigging license?

The N.C. Fisheries Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday on proposed changes in rules concerning commercial and recreational catches of southern flounder. Also on the agenda will be consideration of a proposal to require flounder giggers to be licensed.

The hearing will be held at the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources at 943 Washington Square Mall in Washington. It begins at 6 p.m.