NCWRC approves hunts at 3 bear sanctuaries


Bear sanctuaries will be renamed as bear management areas

At its business meeting on Feb. 25, 2022, the NCWRC voted to implement several rules changes. One of these includes holding limited bear hunts on three Designated Bear Management Areas.

A limited number of permit-only bear hunts will now be allowed in Panthertown-Bonas Retreat, Standing Indian, and Pisgah bear sanctuaries. The rule passed unanimously, but it wasn’t without significant comments from the public, many of whom were mistaken about the function of a bear sanctuary.

The NCWRC also voted to change the names of these areas from sanctuaries to bear management areas, hoping to avoid confusion in the future about the role of these lands.

Another new rule involves exotic pets. The Tegu is a lizard that made the news last year when many were found roaming the woods in South Carolina and Georgia. This invasive species is harmful to native game bird populations because they feast on bird eggs.

The new rule involving Tegu restricts the import, transport, export, purchase, sale, transfer or release of Argentine Black and White Tegu. Anyone currently possessing one of these reptiles prior to the rule’s effective date can continue to own them. They must file for a permit when the rule becomes effective. As always, releasing any exotic species into the wild is and will remain illegal.

Other highlights of the rules adopted by Commissioners include:

Jordan Game Land Camping Area: Create a designated camping area (location to be determined) on the Jordan Game Land to allow hunter camping during open hunting seasons. Camping will be restricted to Sept. 1 through the last day of February and Mar. 31 through May 14.

Striped Bass on Lake Norman: Minimum size limit for striped bass and its hybrids increased from 16 inches to 20 inches in Lake Norman.

Snapping Turtles: A snapping turtle collection license will be required for persons taking more than four snapping turtles.  The license is limited to North Carolina residents. Turtles must have a minimum length of 13 inches and no more than 15 trapping devices can be used per license.

All rules adopted at the February Commissions meeting have an anticipated effective date of Aug. 1. To view the full text of all adopted rules, view the exhibits within the Feb. 24 Commission meeting agenda package.

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