Wanna step outside? North Carolina Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2022

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By Dan Kibler

Teams from around the state were no match for entries from Stanly and Surry counties at the North Carolina Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament held April 30 at the John Lentz Hunter Education Center in Ellerbe.

The “Garnet” team from Gray Stone Day School in Misenheimer won the Senior Division with a score of 3,625 out of a possible 4,000 points in archery, rimfire rifle, shotgun and hunter skills competitions. Second was the Elkin High School Wapiti with 3,609, followed by Northeast High School with 3,607, the Princeton Blue team with 3,563 and Pisgah High School with 3,552.

In the Junior Division for middle school and below, Elkin Junior High’s Wapiti won with 3,420, followed by Northeast Randolph Middle with 3,343, Southern Alamance Middle Black with 3,290, Bethel Middle Blue with 3,271 and North Stanly Shooting Sports Junior with 3,261. In addition, Gray Stone Middle’s Garnet team was sixth with 3,261.

Schools entered students in each of the four disciplines, with a possible 1,000 points earned in each. Gray Stone Garnet finished first in the Senior Division in archery with 978×1,000, first in hunter skills with 859 and first in rimfire rifle with 928.

Elkin’s junior team was first in archery with 944 and hunter safety with 783. Northeast Randolph’s runner-up team finished first in shotgun with 920.

Sixty teams — 34 in the Senior Division and 26 from the Junior Division — qualified for the state championship from among 3,500 students on 300 teams from 193 public and private schools, homeschool associations and 4-H clubs that participated at the district level.

BASS founder Scott dies

Ray Scott, the founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and the father of modern professional bass fishing, died at his Alabama home this past Sunday of natural causes, according to BASS. He was 88.

Scott founded the nation’s first professional bass-fishing circuit, the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, in 1967, and founded BASS the next year.

A former insurance salesman, Scott launched Bassmaster magazine, which had a circulation of more than 600,000 at its peak, helped create The Bassmasters TV series on the Nashville Network in the mid 1980s, and he pushed the catch-and-release mantra that a huge percentage of bass fishermen follow to this day.

A graduate of Auburn University, Scott sold BASS in 1986 but remained as the organization’s figurehead for another decade.

Black sea bass opens on OBX

North Carolina anglers heading to the Outer Banks in the next few weeks will have an additional target, with the recreation season on black sea bass opening on Sunday, May 15.

The popular bottomfish is protected north of Cape Hatteras much of the year, but fishing in state and federal waters opens in May; it will close Dec. 11. The recreational season south of Cape Hatteras opened on April 1.

The creel limit north of Cape Hatteras will be 15 per person, per day, with a minimum size of 13 inches total length. South of Hatteras, anglers can keep only seven fish per day.

Fishing education classes scheduled

Fishing and aquatic education classes will be held at two sites in western North Carolina this month.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will hold a “Gone Fishin’” class May 14 at the Marion State Fish Hatchery for ages 5 and older, followed by Fly Casting 101 classes for ages 12 and older at the hatchery on May 17 and Dupont State Recreational Forest on May 19. An Introduction to Fly Fishing class will be held May 24 at the Marion State Fish Hatchery for ages 12 and older. The final class, “A Trout’s Perspective, River Snorkeling,” is scheduled for May 31 for ages 10 and older.

Classes are open to the public and free of charge. More details are available at www.ncwildlife.org.

Just floating along….

The latest battle along the coast between conservation organizations and the commercial fishing industry concerns shellfish, and for a change, not shrimp.

The commercial shellfish industry has requested that the N.C. Division of Coastal Management draft amendments to change laws that outlaw floating structures in public waters. The floating structures in question would be structures built over commercial shellfish leases in public waters.

Commercial oystermen, primarily, would use the structures for shade, as workplaces for cleaning gear, pressure washing and grading and bagging shellfish for market. The structures are limited to 450 square feet, and they can be one story tall with a roof.

Coastal regulations do not currently allow floating structures over public waters. Opponents of the changes to regulations cite state regulations that the use of public trust waters for private, commercial purposes should be limited to those that are dependent on the water. Sorting, picking, washing, grading and bagging of oysters are typically done on land. The prospect of user conflicts caused by the structures have also been mentioned.