Asheville – Without a doubt, the most popular here in the mountains is for Sandy Mush Game Lands dove season opener. With the annual shift in the calendar, Labor Day is later than normal falling on September 6. That means the dove season opens Saturday, September 4. Ninety-five permits will be issued each day at Sandy Mush for the first week of the season: September 4, 6, 8 and 11. After September 11 no permit is required for dove hunting at Sandy Mush.
Another popular permit hunt opportunity among some mountain hunters is for Tundra Swan hunts in the coastal region primarily because of their uniqueness. The state only issues a limited number of permits each year (4895 in 2021-2022) with a limit of one bird. That sounds like a lot but believe me the competition is stiff for the permits. The season this year is from November 1, 2021 through January 31, 2022. If you are interested in any permit hunts you can apply at a local license agent or online. Remember some permit hunts have a cutoff date for application. Don’t miss out.
My wife and I walk in the neighborhood each morning and evening. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had at least four daytime sightings of red foxes within 100 yards of our house. That means there’s a den nearby. This reminder from the WRC is good info on how to deal with foxes in your neighborhood. Foxes are known to be sly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean not seen. It’s breeding season and young foxes, called kits or pups, and their parents are spending more time outside of the den, making sightings more likely. What does this mean if you see one, or if you find a den near your property?
To reduce potential conflict between people and foxes, the Commission offers these tips: close off crawl spaces under buildings, porches, and decks so foxes and other wildlife can’t use those areas for resting or raising young. Feed pets indoors or remove all food and dishes when your pet is finished eating outside. Install sturdy fencing around dog runs, chicken coops and rabbit pens to protect domestic pets and poultry. Walk your pets on a leash. Use bird feeders that keep spilled seed off the ground, or feed birds naturally by planting native flowers, shrubs and trees in your yard. Clear fallen fruit from around trees.
The WRC published results from last year’s bear hunting season. Hunter success is up, and like a lot of hunting success it is partially attributed to more time outdoors because of Covid. Results from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s 2020 annual bear harvest summary shows that hunters statewide recorded the highest harvest total on record at 3,748 bears — an 8 percent increase compared to the previous season. Record-breaking harvest totals were recorded in the Coastal and Piedmont Bear Management Units (BMU), 2,238 and 81 respectively. The Mountain BMU experienced its second-highest recorded harvest of 1,429 bears.
The WRC has also published final numbers for this past turkey season. Hunters recorded the second highest wild turkey harvest on record in 2021 with 21,974 birds. The total falls just short of the all-time record set last year of 23,341 birds. Last year’s record was probably driven by Covid 19 restrictions that left many people with more time to hunt than normal. This year’s numbers indicate that despite the record harvest last year we had a good hatch and poult survival rate from last year. In Buncombe County 279 bearded turkeys were harvested. The large majority, 249, were mature birds with only 30 being jakes. All but 9 of them were taken on private land.