October hunting, fishing startups

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

October is the start of several seasons here in our area. Both fishers and hunters will have opportunities to begin pursuing many types of wildlife.

There are several small game animals whose season runs from Oct. 14 2013, until Feb. 28, 2014. Those include gray squirrel, grouse, bobcat, raccoon and possum.

The popular gray squirrel season is a great time to get youngsters into the woods searching treetops for the illusive critter. Gray squirrels are well populated in our area, and some folks see them as a nuisance. This is a great time to teach kids safety. Handling a gun, the range of your gun, knowing what’s beyond your target, not killing for sport, but making use of the animal – these valuable lessons and many more are well learned in a “hands on” environment. Many of us still have memories of squirrel hunts with parents or grandparents when we were young.

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Grouse and bobcats can be very hard to come by. The thoughts of grouse hunting to me make finding needles in haystacks a “gimme.” I don’t guess I have ever met someone who grouse hunts; it would truly be a challenge in most of our area. The select times I have even seen any grouse was high in the mountains in rugged remote terrain. If you’ve never jumped a grouse, you don’t know what you are missing. If you do, you may want to have some toiletries with you.

The first part of black bear season opens Oct. 14 thru Nov. 23. This is one big game animal that is increasing in numbers in our area. Sightings used to be rare, but now are commonplace. Many are showing up year round instead of passing thru occasionally.

The muzzle loader deer season opens Sept. 30, and runs thru Oct. 12. Deer of either sex may be taken the entire muzzle loading season. This was always one of my favorite times to hunt. I have seen more big deer in muzzle loading season than any other season.

And last but not least, the delayed harvest sections of trout streams start Oct. 1 2013, and run till June 2014. I still feel the delayed harvest sections are one of the best ideas the NCWRC has launched. There are many nice sections to fish in WNC, like Nantahala, Tuckaseegee and others, but the Green River Cove section fishes as good as any. The catch and release artificial lure restrictions help to insure fish are available to catch the entire season.

As always, check your current regulations digest for seasons, complete regulations and license requirements.

Blaze orange requirements and recommendations for North Carolina

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Home From The Hunt ™ safety campaign is reminding hunters to follow blaze orange requirements.

In North Carolina, hunters are required to wear a cap, hat or an outer garment in blaze orange that is visible from all sides when hunting bear, feral hogs, deer, rabbit, squirrel, grouse, pheasant or quail with a firearm. Hunters are also required to wear blaze orange while hunting with a bow on Sunday during the muzzleloader or gun season.

Blaze orange, sometimes known as hunter orange or fluorescent orange, is instantly recognizable and signals caution to the viewer.