Wanna step outside? Youth hunter-safety tournaments begin Saturday around NC

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 2, 2023

The District 7 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament kicks off a series of nine regional events this Saturday.

Hunter-ed teams from high schools and middle and elementary schools from the 11 northwestern counties that make up District 7 will compete at Hunting Creek Shooting Preserve in Harmony on March 4.

Competition is divided into senior and junior divisions, with overall team and individual awards available in a number of events, including shotgun, rimfire rifle, archery orienteering and a hunter-skills exam. Sixty teams in the nine districts will advance to the state tournament, April 29 at the Lentz Hunter Education Complex in Ellerbe. The sponsoring agency, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, expects more than 3,500 students to participate.

Other district tournaments are scheduled as follows:

March 4: District 5, Chatham County Wildlife Club, Bear Creek

March 11: District 2, New Hanover Law Enforcement Officer Range, Castle Hayne

March 18: District 3: Rose Hill Sporting Clays, Nashville; District 4, Falcon Community Range, Falcon; District 8, Catawba Valley Wildlife Club, Valey; District 9, Polk County Gun Club, Columbus

March 25: District 1, Eastern 4-H Center, Columbia; District 6, Lentz Hunter Education Complex, Ellerbe

Dixie Deer Classic returns March 3-5

The Wake County Wildlife Club’s incomparable Dixie Deer Classic returns to the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh this weekend, where outdoorsmen can shop, attend seminars and see where the biggest whitetails killed in North Carolina this past season came from.

Times for the show are: Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The show will be headquartered in the Exhibition Building, with activities in the Jim Graham Building and Dorton Arena.

The big draw is the big-buck contest, which runs Friday and Saturday, with the winners in a number of different categories (male, female, youth, typical, non-typical, gun, muzzleloader and archery) announced on Sunday.

Last season’s top buck was a 23-point non-typical killed in Avery County by Vince Clark of Newland that scored 203 points and earned a spot in the Boone & Crockett Club’s all-time record book. It was the fourth-largest non-typical ever taken in North Carolina.

In addition, Michael Waddell of the Bone Collector TV show will speak, and seminars will be held on turkey calling, coyote trapping, decoy carving and wildlife and fisheries management, along with a Chili Cook-off, two turkey calling contests and Carolina Dock Dogs competition.

Activities for kids include: Archery Alley, a BB gun shoot, face painting, a fishing pond, turkey call making and a wildlife scavenger hunt.

NCDMF wants speckled trout input

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries wants public input on how speckled trout should be managed. That’s supposed to be a good thing — a state agency taking public comment on how to run things — but it’s usually just a formality before the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission weighs in on the side of commercial fishing interests.

NCDMF will hold public “scoping” meetings between March 13 and March 24 to “solicit input on potential management strategies” and “discuss stakeholder priorities” surrounding a proposed Amendment 1 to the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan.

The 2022 benchmark stock assessment is finished, and now the agency is going to decide how to implement it. Will recreational fishermen still be managed with a puny 4-fish daily creel limit, or will it get smaller? Will commercial fishermen be spared any reductions in catch quotas?

Four public meetings will take place: March 14 at N.C. State’s McKimmon Center in Raleigh, March 16 at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Agency in Barco, March 21 at the New Bern-Craven County Public Library in New Bern, and March 23 at Cape Fear C.C. in Wilmington. The meetings begin at 6 p.m. and will run two hours.

The Raleigh meeting will be available for public participation by web conference. Also, public comments are being accepted online at the NCDMF’s website and via snail-male at NCDMF, Spotted Seatrout Scoping, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, 28557. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. on March 24.

Coyote hunters set record in Stanly County

Coyote hunters broke another record — killing 424 coyotes in last weekend’s 10th annual Carolina Coyote Classic, held out of Albemarle and Stanly County.

Leading the way as Team Red Lights — Ryan Borum, Nathaniel Brookbank and Jay Cox — who won the Coyote Derby by killing 27 songdogs, eight on Friday night and 19 on Saturday night. They won $2,500 in cash. 

Team Ranger — Kyle Crickenberger, Jamie Terry and Tom Fuller — won $1,500 for taking second place with 26 coyotes. Third place went to Team Logan — Josh and Alex Logan — with 24 coyotes, worth $1,000.

Team Huntersville Predator Control won the Fat Dog contest and $750 for taking the event’s heaviest coyote, a 44.86-pound specimen.