DAN KIBLER COLUMN: Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program scheduled

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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Women from across North Carolina have a unique opportunity to become more acquainted with outdoor pursuits thanks to a program run by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission that’s visiting northwest North Carolina next month.

Dan Kibler

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman is a program the Commission has operated for the past dozen or so years to teach women a number of outdoor skills while learning to have a deeper appreciation of the outdoors.

This year’s BOW weekend will be April 14-16 at YMCA Camp Harrison in the Wilkes County community of Boomer. BOW enrollment is limited to the first 110 women who register at the www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Courses-Seminars-Workshops/BOW. The cost is $275, which includes all instruction, program materials, use of equipment, meals and lodging. Some partial scholarships are available; applications are on the Commission website.

Demonstration equipment is provided, but participants can bring their own fishing and archery gear, along with any other equipment except firearms. Classes are outdoors and involve hands-on training; tennis shoes and hiking boots are appropriate footwear, along with long pants to protect against brush and insects, rain gear, insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses and a flashlight. Linens are not provided.

Instruction in the following subjects is featured: archery, fishing, game and outdoor cooking, hunting, wilderness survival, handling guns, canoeing and kayaking, operating a boat, decoy carving, bird watching, backcountry skills, tracking and trapping, orienteering and nature journal writing.

Camp Harrison is off N.C. 18 in Boomer, north of North Wilkesboro. It covers 2,000 acres in the Brushy Mountains, including 140-acre Lake Broyhill. Campers will stay in cabins with bunk-style beds, bathrooms and hot showers.

For more info, contact B.B. Gillen at bb.gillen@ncwildlife.org.

Shelby bass pro wins $300,000

A professional bass fisherman from North Carolina has won one of the nation’s biggest prizes – on his home lake.

Bryan Thrift of Shelby finished three days on Lake Norman this past Sunday with a catch of 15 bass that weighed 46 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the Major League Fishing REDCREST championship and the $300,000 first-prize money.

Thrift’s final day catch of five bass weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces, left him 4 pounds, 6 ounces ahead of runner up Alton Jones of Texas. Edwin Evers of Oklahoma was another 6 ounces back in third.

A move up the Catawba River around 1 p.m. made the difference for Thrift, who caught six bass on a ChatterBait, improving his limit by more than 6 pounds.

Thrift is the first bass pro in history to win both a REDCREST (the MLF Bass Pro Tour championship) and the Forest Wood Cup.

Albemarle Sound striper season closed

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has closed the 2023 recreational season on striped bass in the Albemarle Sound Management Area as of this past Sunday night, as the spring harvest allocation has been filled.

NCDMF judged last week that the recreational segment of the 51,216-pound allocation would be filled over last weekend. The spring commercial season opened March 3 and will close when the allocation has been met.

The recreational season for stripers in the Roanoke River and its tributaries will open for five days next month: April 14-17 and April 22-23. The creel limit will be one fish per day, with an 18-inch minimum size and a 22- to 27-inch slot limit in which no fish may be possessed.

State expands either-sex deer seasons in 9 counties

At its Feb. 23 meeting in Raleigh, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission voted to change either-sex seasons in a handful of counties in the Western and Northwestern deer zones.

The Commission vetoed to increase the either-sex season in Madison County from 1 to 6 days, expand it from 6 to 13 days in Burke, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery and Caldwell counties, and increase it from 2 to 4 weeks in Polk, Rutherford and Cleveland counties.

Comment on waterfowl season, bag limit changes sought

The Commission is also accepting public comment on 2023-24 hunting seasons for waterfowl and webless migratory birds.

The Commission will accept comments through March 20 at 5 p.m. on season frameworks for migratory species, plus Canada goose and duck-hunting zones, at www.ncwildlife.org.

A key proposal from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is to change bag limits on mallards on the eastern flyway. Proposals include a 4-bird daily limit (no more than two hens), a 2-bird daily limit (no more than one hen), or one bird of either sex, as part of the overall daily duck limit of six birds.

The USFWS sets a basic framework for waterfowl and migratory bird hunting seasons in which states can select their exact dates. After review of hunter participation and harvest trends over the past 10 years, the USFWS’s framework allows for 30 total hunting days in the Northeast Hunt Zone. The daily bag limit could remain at one goose per day or move to two geese per day.

In addition, USFWS proposes decreasing the season on brant from 50 to 30 days due to a continued decline in brant populations.

Dan Kibler has covered the outdoors since 1985 as outdoors editor of the Winston-Salem Journal and later as managing editor of Carolina Sportsman until his retirement in 2021.