STATE: Wildlife Commission adopts proposed rules for 2022-23

Published 4:50 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission voted at its business meeting on Feb. 25 to adopt all proposed rules related to wildlife management, fisheries, game lands and other regulated activities for the 2022-23 seasons, although a few were modified based on public comments prior to adoption.

The proposals adopted were presented at the virtual public hearing in January. During the public comment period, Dec. 1, 2021-Jan. 31, 2022, the Wildlife Commission received input from constituents via email, an online comment portal, mail and at the virtual public hearing. Commissioners carefully reviewed each comment, no matter in what manner it was received, prior to taking their vote.

A notable rule that was amended based on public comment concerned exotic species, specifically the Tegu. The rule that ultimately passed restricts the import, transport, export, purchase, sell, transfer or release of Argentine Black and White Tegu (Salvator merianae or Tupinambis merianae) only. Anyone possessing an Argentine Black and White Tegu prior to the effective date of the rule can apply for a permit to retain, transport, transfer, or export the animal(s) in their possession. Applications for the permit to possess grandfathered Argentine Black and White Tegus will be available when the rule becomes effective. All other tegu species are not restricted; however, the release of any exotic species into the wild remains illegal.

Another rule that received significant public comment involved limited permit-only bear hunts in Panthertown-Bonas Retreat, Standing Indian and Pisgah bear sanctuaries. After careful consideration, the rule passed unanimously. The Commission also voted to amend the name of these areas from Designated Bear Sanctuaries to Designated Bear Management Areas. Both changes are consistent with the N.C. Black Bear Management Plan.

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 March 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.