Deer season comes to a close

Jan. 1 marks the last day in N.C.

CorrespondentDecember 26, 2012 

North Carolina’s deer hunting season ends in a few days, and New Year’s Day will be the last chance to put venison in the freezer.

Hunters who ventured out early in the season will find that now they’ll need to set aside thoughts of trophy bucks and instead focus on does.

“The bucks are pretty much done. All the rut is over with now,” said Greg Batts, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission wildlife biologist for District 3, which includes Wake, Johnston and Franklin among its 11 counties.

The end of the rut returns the bucks from hormone-driven boldness to their natural elusiveness.

“A lot of deer are becoming pretty much nocturnal this time of year,” Batts said. “If you do see deer, it’s extremely early in the morning or extremely late in the evening.”

The hunters with the best chances of bagging bucks usually will be hunters who use dogs, “obviously because they can run them with dogs and they will roust them out of their bedding spots,” Batts said.

Success still can come for any hunter.

“For the still hunters, most people will be bringing in does,” Batt said. “We’re going to be working check stations (over the weekend), and historically what we’ll see is mostly does and young deer.”

For hunters who get shut out, the number of deer won’t be an excuse. After all, North Carolina’s fields and forest are home to more than 1.3 million deer.

“The season’s running pretty normal this year,” Batts said. “We haven’t had any hemorrhagic disease problems in this area like we did last year, so our numbers are just what they would be in a normal year.”

The eastern, central and northwestern deer seasons end Jan. 1. The western season ended Dec. 8. Bear season has ended in many areas and will end Jan. 1 in the remaining eastern and western counties. Check the regulations digest at ncwildlife.org.

• Saltwater series returns: The Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series will return to the Wilmington area on Jan. 26.

The presentations at Brunswick Community College’s Odell Williamson Auditorium in Bolivia run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The headliner will be George Poveromo, host of “George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing” on the NBC Sports Network and editor-at-large for Salt Water Sportsman magazine.

Dozens of local and regional experts on inshore, nearshore and offshore fishing also will speak.

A children’s seminar and other activities are new additions. Adult tickets cost $55, and a child 15 or younger is admitted free with each adult. Call 800-448-7360, or go to www.nationalseminarseries.com.

• Season reopens: The recreational black sea bass fishery north of Cape Hatteras (35° 15’N latitude) will open at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and will run through midnight Feb. 28, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission said in a news release.

The minimum size is 12½ inches total length. The possession limit is 15 fish per person per day.

Learn more at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/home.

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