09/10/06 — Outdoors with Gene Price

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Outdoors with Gene Price

By Gene Price
Published in Sports on September 10, 2006 2:17 AM

NOTE TO READERS: This will be my last Outdoors column written for the News-Argus. However, I will be writing outdoors and other articles for my newly created "blog" -- www.wampuscatreport.com. I have advised News-Argus Publisher Hal Tanner that the newspaper is at liberty to pick up and print those columns, hopefully with the appropriate credit. Meanwhile, I remain on the Wildlife Resources Commission and am available for questions and comments at my home telephone, (919) 583-9292 or by e-mail at g2price@earthlink.net.The regular duck seasons in North Carolina again will be divided into three segments. The first will be Oct. 4-7, followed by Nov. 11 to Dec. 2, and Dec. 16 to Jan. 27.

The "regular" seasons were set by the Wildlife Resources Commission at its last meeting. Early seasons were announced in July, as were seasons for other migratory birds including doves.

While hunting of resident Canada geese is open across the state throughout September with a daily bag limit of eight (except in Dare County), the regular season in most counties will be Nov. 11 through Dec. 2 and Dec. 16 through Jan. 27. The daily bag limit will be five birds.

The season for light geese (snows, blues and Ross' geese) will be Oct. 18-28 and Nov. 11 to March 3.

Northeast Zone permits

Special rules apply to the taking of Canada geese during the regular season in the Northeast Hunt Zone. This includes all or parts of Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

The permit-only taking of Canada geese will be allowed in these counties where the "regular" season will be Dec. 25 through Jan. 27.

This season, 1,000 permits -- twice as many as last year -- will be issued.

Permit applications may be applied for through Wildlife licensing agents. The cutoff date is Dec. 1.

Duck bag limits

The bag limits for ducks is six with no more than one black or mottled duck (after Dec. 1), four mallards with no more than two hens, four scoters, two wood ducks, two redheads, two scaup, one canvasback, one pintail and one fulvous tree duck.

Hunters may take 15 coots, two brant and 15 light geese.

5,000 swan permits

The season for tundra swan this year will be Nov. 4 through Jan. 31. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed North Carolina 5,000 swan permits. Applications can be made through licensing agents.

Youth day

Feb. 3 has been designated as Youth Waterfowl Day in North Carolina. It applies to youngsters under 16 and accompanied by an adult of at least 21 years of age. The adult may not hunt. The youngster may take ducks, geese, mergansers and coots -- but not swan.

Good man!

Congratulations are in order for our own Wes Seegars, president of Seegars Fence Co. He was elected chairman of the Wildlife Resources Commission at its last meeting. Wes was serving his third term as vice chairman when then-Chairman John Pechmann died suddenly at his home in Fayetteville in July.

Seegars brings to the commission a wide experience as a hunter and fisherman as well as a reputation for his sound business insights. He is widely respected by his fellow commissioners and by sportsmen, conservationists and business people across the state.

He adheres to the principle: Whenever in doubt, come down on the side of the wildlife resources.

It was my pleasure to nominate Wes for the chairmanship. The vote was unanimous.

Murphy named

Wendell (Dell) Murphy, Jr., of Duplin County has been appointed to the Wildlife Commission as an at-large member to replace John Pechmann. He was named by Senate President Marc Basnight to serve a two-year term.

He is president of Murphy Family Ventures LLC and is involved in managing thousands of acres of wildlife tracts in Bladen and Duplin counties and in Missouri.

Good news from Marine Fisheries

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission has recommended a total moratorium on the taking of river herring in the waters over which it has jurisdiction. A moratorium in those waters has been strongly opposed by many commercial fishing interests.

The Wildlife Resources Commission last year adopted plans to close herring harvests in its waters and appealed to the Marine Fisheries Commission to do the same.

The MFC subsequently reduced the allowable harvest of herring but refused to adopt a moratorium.

Herring stocks have dropped precipitously in recent years -- to the point some marine biologists fear they may be beyond recovery.

MFC Chairman Mac Currin recently notified the Wildlife Commission that his board now favors a moratorium.

He said he feels "a prohibition of harvest is the only management measure that will meet the sustainability clause of the Fisheries Reform Act." That act, adopted by the General Assembly, requires measures that promise recovery and sustainability of the state's marine resources.

One of the greatest advocates of adherence to that approach has been Goldsboro insurance executive Ray Brown who serves on ad advisory committee to the Marine Fisheries Commission.

Final action on the MFC herring moratorium will be taken at a meeting Dec. 28-29.

As a personal footnote, I had the privilege of crafting the Wildlife Commission effort calling for our Commission to ban the harvest of herring and to urge the Marine Fisheries Commission to join us in that endeavor.