Holly Shelter Game Land has changed

Deer hunting now open 6 days a week

On opening day of deer season in 2017, Steve Biszmaier, a 53-year-old heating and air conditioning parts salesman from Wilmington, N.C., was hunting at Holly Shelter Game Land in Pender County as he has for 30 years.

‘I watch areas where I can see several ways for long distances,” he said. “I usually hunt places where I see lots of tracks. I shoot a .270-caliber Mossberg bolt-action rifle and use a telescoping bipod to hold it steady for making long shots.”

Another hunter drove past in his pickup truck. Stopping, he climbed out to join the conversation.

“This place used to be crowded with hunters on opening day,” said Chris Lastinger, a 70-year-old retired FAA worker from Hampstead, N.C. “Today, you have to look as hard to find a hunter as you do to find a deer. I saw a doe this morning, but it was too far away for me to shoot.”

Lastinger has hunted Holly Shelter for 40 years. He and Biszmaier talked about the changes in deer-hunting regulations that could bring hunters back. Years ago, the game land was open only 14 days a year, including archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons. It eventually became a three-day-per-week game land. Two seasons ago, that Monday-Wednesday-Saturday regime changed. Now, deer and bear still-hunters can hunt Holly Shelter six days per week. Hound hunting for deer and bear is still restricted to the three-day-per-week schedule, but it is also legal on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years days.

Hunters should study Holly Shelter regulations carefully. Bear Garden is a permit-only area, and hound-hunting for deer and bear is a prohibited activity on Pender 4 and Greentree tracts.

“I like the new rules,” Lastinger said. “I only wish they had had been this liberal when I was younger and was able to hunt six days a week. Now, I am usually only good for hunting three days a week.”

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission introduced another regulations change aimed at reducing conflicts between still hunters and hound hunters at nearby Stones Creek Game Land, where hound-hunting for deer is restricted to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The schedule allows hound hunters to hunt deer at one of the two game lands on most days. For deer still-hunting, Stones Creek Game Land game land remains open six days per week.

About Mike Marsh 356 Articles
Mike Marsh is a freelance outdoor writer in Wilmington, N.C. His latest book, Fishing North Carolina, and other titles, are available at www.mikemarshoutdoors.com.

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