Public hearing scheduled on wildlife rule changes

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ROCKY MOUNT — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will conduct a public hearing in at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 to take comments on proposed changes to 35 agency regulations related to wildlife management, fisheries and game lands for the 2018-19 seasons.

The public hearing will be held at Nash Community College’s Brown Auditorium, 522 N. Old Carriage Road.

Three proposed changes of interest to deer hunters statewide will:

• Establish five deer season zones by separating the Eastern Zone into two zones — the Northeastern Zone and the Southeastern Zone. This regulation would also move Polk and Rutherford counties to the Western Zone and Cleveland County to the Northwest Zone.

• Change season length and time frames; establish a statewide antlered deer bag limit of two and a statewide antlerless deer bag limit of four; and restrict the use of bonus antlerless deer tags to the Urban Archery Season. There would be no changes in the season opening dates for archery; however, where other seasons begin later, archery seasons would be longer than currently established seasons.

• Shift the either-sex season to the beginning of the Introductory, Conservative and Moderate Antlerless Deer seasons.

Proposed regulations of interest to bear hunters will:

• Modify the bear hunting season in the Coastal Bear Management Unit to align hunting seasons in five bear hunting zones.

• Modify the bear hunting season in the Mountain Bear Unit to add two weeks to the beginning of the current season.

Another proposed hunting regulation would allow limited taking of American alligators by permit only as prescribed in the recently approved Alligator Management Plan. The proposed regulation would also establish a one-month season with a bag limit of one per permit and a season limit of one per person as well as manner of take.

More information on all of the proposed regulations to the agency’s wildlife management, game lands, fishing and other agency regulations for the 2018-19 seasons can be found in the 2018-2019 Public Hearing Booklet.

The comment period for the proposed regulation will run through Feb. 1. Comments on the proposed changes may be submitted online, at the public hearing, emailed (including full name and address) to regulations@ncwildlife.org or mailed to

Rules Coordinator, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 1701 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-1701.

After collecting and considering all public comments, the wildlife commissioners will meet in February to decide whether to adopt the proposals. Approved proposals will take effect Aug. 1.