Outdoor Journal

Tastes like chicken: The first segment of North Carolina’s dove-hunting season opens at noon on Sept. 1, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is urging safety. In light of high-profile small-game hunting incidents in recent years (a certain powerful vice president will not be named here), several precautions are in order.

The commission’s hunter safety coordinator, Capt. Chris Huebner, stresses the following: Be aware of others when hunting in a group. Never shoot at low-flying birds. Know your “field of fire” and “don’t pepper people, nearby buildings or vehicles with falling shot.” And don’t hunt over baited fields, which is illegal, and moreover, unsporting.

Dove season runs Sept. 1 through Oct. 6, Nov. 19 to 24, and Dec. 17 to Jan. 12, with a daily bag limit of 12 and a seasonal posssesion limit of 24. Shooting hours are noon to sunset from Sept. 1 to 8, then a half-hour before sunrise until sunset in the following periods.

Bear market: The nonprofit group Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park announces it’s raised record funds through its specialty-license-plate program, which will translate into needed help for the park’s black bear population.

Reportedly, now is a tough time for black bears in the park, with many underweight bears currently shambling about and predictions of a meager acorn crop this fall because of freezes last spring.

The North Carolina Smokies plate has now raised a grand total of $1,071,640 for the park, and a plate redesign in February bumped sales a whopping 46 percent.

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