Pocosin bears, OLF, Wilks joins NCS


When a reporter covers one story, other newsworthy topics often pop up on the radar screen.

Here’s one we ran across while keeping abreast of the Navy OLF battle in Washington and Beaufort counties — too many bears at the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and the need for a bear season to trim some of their numbers.

Hunters told us when they use archery equipment to hunt deer at the refuge’s lands (the only big-game that can be hunted legally there), they have to recover whitetails quickly or a bear likely will charge out of the brush to claim their deer.

“This is where the next bear mauling of a human or bear killing of a person is gonna occur,” one bow hunter told us. “There’s more bears at Pungo than deer.”


The OLF situation keeps getting crazier, and the U.S. Navy and political moves in Virginia apparently are making it so.

The Navy (read more in Newsbreakers in this issue) dropped, then reinstituted a claim of national security as an OLF reason. In its second Environmental Impact Statement released Feb. 23, the Navy doesn’t mention national security but admits an OLF will cause “adverse impacts” to waterfowl at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Moreover, a SEIS map diagram (Fig. 3-46), purporting to count Pungo Lake snow geese during 2005-06, shows the Navy didn’t observe any snow geese in the area that year.

Visitors for years (including this observer) have watched tens of thousands of snow geese and tundra swans in flight each day during the winter months, flying off Pungo Lake and Lake Phelps. In fact, the sights and sounds of that many birds overhead and landing at agricultural fields are absolutely stunning.

This region is a national wildlife treasure, and anything that would threaten it borders on being a criminal enterprise.

Virginia residents and politicians near Chesapeake and Virginia Beach want the OLF in North Carolina so jet noise will be reduced in suburban neighborhoods, and major real-estate deals can be struck. Simply put, the Virginians are fed up with the noise of Navy jets screeching over their homes to the point they can’t carry on conversations inside with their doors and windows closed.

They don’t care where the OLF is relocated, as long as it’s not their backyards, and Virginia politicians support them.

The NO-OLF group insist it’s not against an OLF in North Carolina. It points out other areas (Open Grounds Farm, for instance) where an OLF would be welcome and cause no problems.

Why the Navy keeps insisting on “Site C” is making everyone doubt the service branch’s — and Bush Administration’s — sanity.


We’re adding a new columnist this month, Dustin Wilks of Rocky Mount (see his first “Fish Like a Pro” column).

Bass anglers will recognize Wilks’ name. Sidelined from the pro bass circuit for the second straight year by an elbow injury, he’s a terrific writer, and will offer readers more ideas about how to be successful. David Fritts has our other bass-fishing column.

Improve your catch results by reading their commentaries.

About Craig Holt 1382 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.

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