Wanna step outside? Two new cases of CWD in deer; duck season begins Saturday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 15, 2022

By Dan Kibler

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announced last week that two more deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, bringing to five the total number of whitetails confirmed with the always-fatal neurological disease.

The commission said that two deer in Surry County, killed this season by hunters, have tested positive for CWD. The first CWD-positive deer was a buck killed last December in northern Yadkin County. A doe, taken with a depredation permit this past summer close to the site of the first CWD-positive deer, also tested positive, along with a buck taken during archery season in southern Surry County.

The two most-recent cases came from the Secondary Surveillance Area, which includes all of Surry, Yadkin, Davie and Forsyth counties and portions of Wilkes, Alleghany and Iredell counties outside of the Primary Surveillance Area — a circle around the first kill site with a radius of approximately 5 miles.

Commission officials said that hunters may continue to drop off deer heads for sampling in the SSA, even though mandatory sampling ran out on Nov. 27. Hunters in the PSA are required to submit kills for sampling through the end of the season. Hunters in the SSA were required to submit kills for sampling during the 2-week blackpowder season and the first two weeks of gun season. A list of places to drop off samples is available at www.ncwildlife.org.

“Testing for CWD remains our No. 1 priority this deer season,” said Brad Howard, chief of the commission’s Wildlife Management Division. “It’s imperative that we continue to send samples to the lab so we can determine where in our state the disease is detected.”

Duck season returns to N.C. on Saturday

North Carolina duck hunters can return to their blinds for the third segment of the state’s three-part season on Saturday.

Hunters in both the coastal and inland zones will have from Dec. 17 through Jan. 31, 2023, to fill their daily bag limits around the Tarheel State. The first and second segments of the season were in late October and mid- through late November.

Hunters can take six ducks per day, with a few species restrictions: no more than 3 wood ducks, 2 mallards (1 hen), 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 2 black ducks, 1 pintail, 1 mottled duck and 1 fulvous whistling duck. Before Jan. 9, the bag limit on scaup (bluebills) is 1 per day; after Jan. 9 it is 2 per day.

Eight NC bass pros in BASS Elite Series

Eight pro bass fishermen from North Carolina will be among the 104-man fields for the BASS Elite Series in 2023, including two past Bassmaster Classic champions.

Hank Cherry of Maiden, who won the Classic in 2020 and 2021, and David Fritts of Lexington, who won in 1993, head the group. Other North Carolina bass pros fishing the Elite Series are: Matt Arey of Shelby, Shane LeHew and K.J. Queen of Catawba, Brandon Card of Salisbury, Jake Whitaker of Fairview and David Williams of Newton.

NC bear harvest looks good early

If harvest reports are any indication, bear hunters are having a good season in North Carolina.

Through Monday, Dec. 12, hunters had reported taking 3,127 bears, well above the pace of harvest the past two seasons — including the record 2020 season, when they tagged 3,667 bruins. The 2021 harvest was 3,607.

The great majority of the harvest has been, like most years, from coastal counties, with Hyde (211), Tyrrell (163), Beaufort (155) and Jones (124) leading the way. The top mountain counties have been Haywood (139), McDowell (112) Buncombe (104) and Madison (104).

Bear seasons in many areas have closed, but they remain open in a majority of the state.