Farmers want help reducing crop damage by deer. Hunters want more land for hunting. A multi-organization project is making that happen.
A two-year program called Farmers Manage Deer will allow farmers who lose money because of crop damage to host special hunts starting this fall and gain back lost income.
Targets are to complete farmland recruitment by late July, post opportunities for hunters by early September and announce hunt opportunities in October, said Judy Gardner, who with husband Guy helps manage the program for the N.C. Wildlife Federation.
Farmers are enrolling property, and deer harvest plans will be created by N.C. State students. At test sites, students measure damage and use cameras to monitor deer visits.
The goal will be reducing crop loss, which exceeds $30 million per year, and managing the state’s 1.35 million deer.
The program is sponsored by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission with support from the N.C. Soybean Producers Association, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Hunters for the Hungry and the Quality Deer Management Association.
Landowners, farmers leasing property and hunting clubs that hunt on farmland may participate. The program pays $2 per acre for hosting a 15-day hunt. Visit http://www.ncagr.gov/hunt/Farmers_Manage_Deer.asp. Or contact Guy and Judy Gardner at 919-552-9449.
Hunters can connect with farmers on the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ website Hunt N.C. Farmland at www.ncagr.gov/Hunt/. The antlerless deer taken on these properties can be kept or donated to Hunters for the Hungry, a nonprofit that provides venison to organizations that feed people in need.
Archery season begins Sept. 7 in most of the state. For seasons, visit www.ncwildlife.org.
Last-minute gift idea: Dads who enjoy the outdoors will enjoy a subscription to Wildlife in North Carolina magazine for Father’s Day. The full-color glossy magazine, the official educational publication of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, is available for $12 for one year or $30 for three years. Learn more at www.ncwildstore.com/magazine.
Harvest report: If you ever wonder what recreational fishermen catch most along the coast, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has answers.
Dolphinfish remain in the top spot, with a recreational harvest of 2.6 million pounds (327,042 fish) in 2012, a 27.8 percent decrease from 2011.
Yellowfin tuna was second at 1.6 million pounds (57,085 fish), followed by bluefish at 1 million pounds (888,852 fish), wahoo at 854,361 pounds (30,877 fish) and spotted seatrout at 817,445 pounds (500,518 fish).
Red drum releases reached 1.5 million in 2012, three times higher than the highest seen in the state. Many of the released fish will grow into the slot size limit this year, allowing harvest, the DMF said.
The state’s harvest dropped in 2012, likely because of environmental, economic and regulatory factors, including the shoaling of Oregon Inlet.
Commercial fishermen harvested 56.7 million pounds of finfish and shellfish from North Carolina waters in 2012, a 16 percent drop from 2011, according to the N.C. Trip Ticket Program.
Recreational anglers harvested 12 million pounds of finfish (8.1 million fish), a 9 percent decrease from 2011, according to the N.C. Coastal Angling Program.
For a landings report, click on the Annual Fisheries Bulletin link at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/marine-fisheries-catch-statistics
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