The holiday season is a time for traditions, including hunting trips for gathered family and friends, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission through its Home From The Hunt™ campaign urges everyone to prioritize the safety aspects of an outing.
“Time off from work and time with family and friends make the holidays a wonderful time for hunting,” said Travis Casper, the state hunter safety coordinator with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “But in the excitement of a holiday hunt, don’t overlook the safety aspect. Communicate with your fellow hunters and stress the importance of everyone being careful.”
Go back to basics — review hunter education training and equipment instructions.
Know the rules — read all applicable regulations before going afield.
Identify the target — remain cautious and be absolutely sure before firing.
Inspect all equipment — repair or replace equipment, as needed, before use.
“If your hunting party is using tree stands, we recommend that you use a full-body safety harness,” Casper said. “Maintain three points of contact when climbing up and down, and never carry anything — use a haul line.”
Blaze orange that is visible from all sides must be worn when hunting bear, feral hogs, deer, rabbit, squirrel, grouse, pheasant or quail with a firearm. Hunters are also required to wear blaze orange while hunting during a gun season.
The Wildlife Commission reminds North Carolina’s military personnel coming home for the holidays that they can hunt and fish — in both fresh and coastal waters — without obtaining a license as long as they meet certain criteria.
To be exempted from fishing and hunting license requirements, military personnel must:
be a North Carolina resident,
be serving full-time active military duty outside of the state in the Armed Forces or a reserve component of the Armed Forces, and
be home on leave for 30 days or less.
In addition, when hunting or fishing, they must have with them a military identification card and a copy of the official document issued by their service unit confirming that they are on authorized leave from their duty station outside of North Carolina.
Military personnel also must comply with all reporting, regulatory and hunter safety requirements, including registering big game harvests, as mandated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and purchasing any federal migratory waterfowl stamps as required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Big Game Harvest Report Cards for license-exempt hunters can be obtained from wildlife service agents or by calling 1-888-248-6834.
In North Carolina, all first-time hunting license buyers must successfully complete a Hunter Education Course, offered free across the state. Go to www.ncwildlife.org to consult the online version of the 2012-2013 N.C. Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest or call 919-707-0031 for more information.