WILDLIFE HEARINGS IMPORTANT TO WNC COMING IN THE NEW YEAR

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will conduct nine public hearings in January on proposed changes to the state’s wildlife management, game lands and fishing regulations for the 2015-16 seasons.

Among the wildlife management-related proposed changes are temporary rules regulating the holding of deer in captivity. The proposals meet the General Assembly’s directive and follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Chronic Wasting Disease Program standards when regulating deer, elk and other ruminants in the cervid family. The temporary rules would allow captive cervid licensees to sell antlers, antler velvet and hides from the animals held at their facilities.

There are 36 proposals regarding fishing, including additions to Public Mountain Trout Waters and modification of size and creel limits for reservoir striped bass and Bodie bass (hybrid striped bass).

The comment period for the captive cervid temporary rules ends Jan. 23. The commission will consider comments and consider a vote to adopt these temporary rules at its Jan. 29 meeting. The temporary rules will become effective after approval by the Rules Review Commission in late February.

The comment period for all other proposed regulations ends Feb. 8. After considering public comments, the 19 wildlife commissioners will meet in March to vote on the proposals. Approved proposals will take effect Aug. 1.

Public hearings begin at 7 p.m. The hearing for District 9 will be Jan. 13 at Murphy Tri-County Community College, Enloe Multi-purpose Room, 21 Campus Circle, in Murphy. The hearing for District 8 will be Jan. 14 in the Municipal Auditorium, 401 S. College St., in Morganton.

For more information on all of the proposed regulations, visit www.ncwildlife.org.