09/11/09 — Archery season opens Saturday

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Archery season opens Saturday

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on September 11, 2009 1:47 PM

It's time to put in the peep sights.

Archery season in eastern North Carolina opens on Saturday and across the piedmont potential sportsmen are chomping at the bit.

With temperatures expected to hover in the mid-80s, it is likely to be a hot start to what should be a hot-and-heavy season.

"All indications are that it will be a good season," said Chris Magera, an archery specialist at The Hunting Lodge. "It isn't supposed to rain at all Saturday and the morning shouldn't be too hot."

Coming off a serious drought in 2007, the hunting picked up in 2008 as conditions improved. Last year North Carolina hunters killed a record 176,297 deer, a mark that could be in danger this year as near-perfect circumstances have prefaced the opening day of archery.

Last year, 1,647 deer were taken in Wayne County.

"Business here has really picked up over the last few days," said Magera. "We have sold four or five bows in the last two weeks and we have a couple more waiting to be picked up. It seems like everyone is waiting to the last minute this year, but I think it will be busy today and Saturday."

Throughout hunting season, archers of all experience levels will be able to keep their skills in check by entering the Iron Buck Challenge at The Hunting Lodge.

The challenge consists of shooting arrows through a steel deer target that has the "kill zone" cut out from varying distances.

"I saw this in the Mathews Challenge and thought it was something we could do here on a smaller scale," said Magera. "The target is quarter-inch thick steel, so any missed shot is going to cost the person an arrow, but it's a great way to judge accuracy."

Before taking to the field on Saturday morning, hunters are encouraged to review the rules for bow hunting.

Sportsmen should be aware that the means of taking by bow and arrow has several stipulations. Anyone hunting with a longbow or a recurve bow must have at least 40 pounds of draw weight. Hunters using a compound bow must have it set at a minimum of 35 pounds.

While hunting deer all broadhead tips must be a minimum of 7/8 of an inch wide and all mechanical broadheads must be 7/8 inches wide when engaged.

Saturday will also mark the opening day of a season in transition.

Several new regulations could potentially change archery season forever in the Tar Heel state beginning next year. In March the N.C. Wildlife Commission adopted several new rules that will be put into effect in 2010 if approved by the N.C. General Assembly. The biggest potential change would eliminate the daily bag limit for deer. The current daily limit for deer is two and the season limit is six.

Another possible change the state may adopt would shorten the archery season by one week in 2010, but allow archery hunters to use a bow and arrow during the entire muzzle-loader season.

Archery may also be opened on Sundays across the state beginning next year. Cross bows, which are only legal if used by disabled hunters, would become a legal weapon for any hunter during any open archery season.