08/07/05 — Outdoors -- Hall's property gets wildlife certification

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Outdoors -- Hall's property gets wildlife certification

By Gene Price
Published in Sports on August 7, 2005 2:07 AM

The Linda and Gerald Hall property on Airport Road has been certified as an official National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat site.

It became one of some 45,000 habitats nationwide recognized by the Wildlife Federation for commitment to attracting a variety of birds, butterflies and other insects while helping protect the local environment.

Mrs. Hall said around five areas of their 25-acre farm has selected plants designed to attract wildlife. A small pond also has been stocked with colorful koi carp.

Among interesting birds attracted to the habitat have been loggerhead shrikes -- or butcher birds. She said they have been known to catch small mice and impale them on vines in her yard, apparently for subsequent consumption.

Clover was planted to attract bees that in turn pollinate the family's vineyard. Nectar-bearing and deep-throated flowers attract humming birds and butterflies.

Mrs. Hall, who grew up across the street from where she now lives, says she always has been interested in wild plants and animals. She was particularly concerned about the potential adverse effects of some chemicals on plant and animal life.

"Chemicals seem to help some things but harm others," she observed.

The Wildlife Federation habitat program began in 1973. Since then it has certified projects in more than 2,000 schools and hundreds of business and community sites in addition to the thousands at individual properties.

The habitats have been created across the U.S. and in Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Peru and Puerto Rico.

"Any habitat enthusiast can create a backyard habitat and learn the rewards of gardening for wildlife," said NWF communications director Mary Burnette.

Certification carries with it a one-year membership in the Wildlife Federation and a year's issues of National Wildlife magazine.

The federation has produced a 128-page guide to gardening for wildlife: Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife.

More information on the federation and its programs is available at www.ncwf.org and www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat. The North Carolina headquarters can be reached by telephone toll-free at 1-800-264-NCWF.

Time is short

You have until Wednesday to take advantage of the "early bird" drawing offered by the Longbeard's Chapter of the Wild Turkey Federation. Folks buying tickets for the Aug. 26 banquet by Wednesday will have their names "in the hat" for a shotgun drawing at the banquet.

A total of 15 guns, in addition to sporting art, knives, calls and other equipment will be offered at the function.

The Super Fund Auction and dinner will be held at the Big Barn Theater at 2253 US 13 South in Grantham. The social hour begins at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for individuals, $75 for couples and $275 for sponsors. They are available from Jeff Butler at (919) 658-0365, or on line at info@wildturkeys.org.

For more information about the affair: Brent Hood at (919)920-5079.

The Wild Turkey Federation has spent more than $186 million to restore and improve wild turkey populations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The projects have been particularly effective in North Carolina.

When the Wild Turkey Federation was founded 31 years ago, there were no wild turkeys in almost all counties in our state. Since then, through a cooperative effort between the federation, the Wildlife Resources Commission and private landowners, wild turkeys are abundant enough in every county of the state to allow a spring gobbler hunting season. Some western counties also have a short fall season.

Public hearing

A public hearing is scheduled Monday on a proposal to disallow centerfire rifles on the Tar River Game Land in Edgecombe County. All legal weapons now are allowed for hunting on the 134-acre tract six days a week during most of the hunting seasons. Special restrictions apply for waterfowl.

The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at the Edgecombe County Administrative Building, 201 Andrews St., Tarboro.

'Great' fishing

The state Marine Fisheries Commission reports "great" fishing from headboats, charter boats and private vessels operating along and off the coast. Close in, Spanish were reported being taken by private boaters around Beaufort Inlet. Kings were reported plentiful around and off the lower coast.

Flounder and sheepshead fishing has been picking up.


Ray Brown serves our marine resources and the public well as a member of one of the Marine Fisheries Commission's advisory committee members. It is a non-paying, often thankless and frequently frustrating role. But Ray perseveres out of a sense of dedication to our resources.

Recently he called with a question. He had just noticed that in our Wildlife Commission's Regulations Digest the recreational limit on flounder is 13 inches -- with no creel limit.

This year, the Division of Marine Fisheries set a 14-inch, eight-fish limit on flounder.

That applies to flounder taken in joint and salt water. The Wildlife Commission rules apply only to fresh water fishermen.

Ray was concerned not only for the flounder resource, but over the confusion that could be created.

A point well-taken.

Unlike the Marine Fisheries Commission, the Wildlife Commission has no proclamation authority to change the rules on anything but striped bass. And to set size and bag limits, we have to take a number of time-consuming steps.

When the Wildlife Commission approved its fishing regulations for 2005-2006, it was not aware of the changes that would be made by the Marine Fisheries Commission. The Wildlife Commission will review this at its August meeting but there appears little chance of making a change since the Digest already has been distributed.

But the issue tends to be moot. Very few flounder are caught in fresh water and those that are usually are smaller than either limit, commented WRC Executive Director Richard Hamilton.