Published 10:18 am Monday, January 22, 2018

WINTON – In advance of what may prove as an emotionally-charged public hearing next week in Edenton, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners are taking a stand in opposition to changes in the deer hunting season as proposed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC).

At their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night, the commissioners, without objection, adopted a resolution that opposes the NCWRC’s proposal, which includes shortening the white-tailed deer hunting season.

The action taken Tuesday by the Hertford County Commissioners came exactly one week prior to a NCWRC public hearing slated for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23 in the auditorium of John A. Holmes High School in Edenton. There, NCWRC officials will take public comment on 35 agency regulations related to wildlife management, fisheries and game lands for the 2018-19 seasons.

As noted in the Hertford County resolution, the board is opposed to reducing the number of days by nine that hunters can harvest deer by regular guns. They are also opposed to reducing by seven the number of days that deer can be harvested by black powder guns.

“What has been recommended by the state is shortening the deer hunting season,” said Curtis Freeman, chairman of the Hertford County Commissioners. “I’ve had a few local hunters to talk to me about these changes and asked what this board was planning to do about it. I told them we had to pass a resolution to let the state know that we’re against those changes to the deer hunting season.”

Freeman noted that the Bertie County Board of Commissioners had approved a similar resolution last month.

“We contacted Bertie to get a copy of their resolution, and then worded it to fit Hertford County,” Freeman stated.

Key facts regarding the economic impact of deer hunting were included in the Hertford County resolution. Using statistics from 2011, the resolution noted that hunting statewide infused $525,281,000 into the economy, adding that dollar amount is significantly higher today.

Locally, many property owners benefit by leasing or renting their land for hunting purposes. There are several local businesses in the county that cater to deer hunting (guide services as an example).

“The reduction in the number of legal days for white-tailed deer hunting would have a significant impact on the local economy of northeastern North Carolina, to include Hertford County,” the adopted resolution read.

“The proposed rule changes do not account for the economic loss to the local economy, more specifically the loss of income brought about by a reduction of the number of the days available for guiding, lodging, and other tourism related to hunting white-tailed deer,” the resolution continued.

The resolution also cast doubt on the NCWRC’s claim that its proposed rule changes will better serve the deer herd.

“No empirical evidence is shown to substantiate said claim, and no study or evidence is referenced detailing a decline in [the] quality of the deer population in northeastern North Carolina or Hertford County,” the resolution stated.

The Jan. 23 meeting in Edenton (the school is located at 600 Woodard Street) is open to the public. Comments will also be taken on proposed changes to the black bear hunting season as they relate to the Coastal Region.

More information on all of the proposed regulations to the agency’s wildlife management, game lands, fishing and other agency regulations for the 2018-19 seasons can be found in the 2018-2019 Public Hearing Booklet. The comment period for the proposed regulation will run through Feb. 1, 2018. Comments on the proposed changes may be submitted online, at the public hearing, emailed (including full name and address) to regulations@ncwildlife.org or mailed to:

Rules Coordinator

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

1701 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1701

After collecting and considering all public comments, the wildlife commissioners will meet in February to decide whether to adopt the proposals. Approved proposals will take effect Aug. 1, 2018.




About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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