North Carolina sportsmen look for 2016 to be a banner year. Plans range from fishing in Cuba to an exotic deer hunt in Hawaii. Also on the agenda are monthly fishing trips and quail hunts in west Texas and pheasants in South Dakota.
One Tar Heel sportsman plans to climb a mountain and another to unearth buried treasure. Others look to build a duck impoundment and a state maintained retriever facility.
The News & Observer sought outdoor goals from sportsmen in the Triangle, Piedmont and Coastal Plains. Here are samples of what they will be perusing during the new year:
Jim Elam of Warrenton, a professional retriever handler and trainer: “One of the aspects of my profession that I enjoy the most is seeing the teamwork develop between handler and retriever. My goal for 2016 is to foster this teamwork and appreciation in my teenage nephew…”
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Jim Dean of Raleigh, retired editor of North Carolina Wildlife Magazine: “I would love to go back to Cuba. Fished for bonefish and Tarpon last March…Fishing was outstanding…”
Robert Dance, an artist in Kinston: “My goal now is to possibly acquire some of those old wood stock rifles by going to gun shows and looking for the classic designs of John Browning. Winchester, Henry and Marlin…”
Patty McEwen of Cary, recently retired from Cary Chamber of Commerce: “Take my golden retriever Jack to the next level of field training…I will also be getting a puppy this spring and will be introducing her to the outdoors…”
Bryan Dick, an environmental engineer from Graham: “I will continue my rediscovery of myself and what matters the most, spending more time with my dad, my wife and my friends in the field and on the water…It’s Amy’s (wife) turn to pick her dream hunt so it looks like…us doing a week long pursuit of axis deer …on Lenai Island, Hi…”
Jay Wright, a computer guru in Greensboro: “I would love to actually go fresh water fishing this spring and summer instead of always talking about it…”
John Thomas of Rocky Point, longtime retriever enthusiast: “Number one is final approval of the WRC of a state owned and maintained grounds for retriever performance events which will ensure the future of our sport…”
Bob Rudolph of Southern Pines, a textile sale manager: “Try to pull my boat to the coast at least once each month of 2016…and learn to tie five new flies.”
Thad Lewallen of Winston-Salem, a YMCA executive: “Run Gunner, my then to be four year old Lab in master hunt tests…and hike to the top of YMCA Camp Hanes Sauratown Mountain.”
Chris McCool of Raleigh, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Pepsi Bottling: “to go pheasant hunting in South Dakota with my son next October. We have never gone together.”
C. Bryan Pennington of Burlington, yarn salesman: “Figure out the breed I want and get a new puppy for bird hunting, either another Ryman type setter or another griffon…Then take my new friend to grouse and woodcock hunt late October in New Brunswick.”
John Shipley of Winston-Salem, owner of a wildlife and forestry business: “My long-term goal, which I have been able to keep for five years, is mentoring someone new to hunting…”
Melissa A. McGaw of Cary, photographer for Wildlife in North Carolina magazine: “With every new month of the calendar year comes new opportunities to get out and capture the changes occurring around us. From the deer in rut and migrating waterfowl in the fall to tiger salamanders breeding in late winter…Even in our backyards there are opportunities for photographing. You just have to get outside and explore.”
Tom Bobo, retired industrialist from Guilford County: “To search for buried treasure and artifacts with metal detector before the ticks re-emerge in force.”
Donald Stroud of Winston-Salem, gundog trainer: “My goal is to charter three additional Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation chapters…also to add 250 members to QUWF in North Carolina.”