NC Wildlife October 2018 Update

Prohibition on Deer Carcass Importation Now in Place; Additional Restrictions on Carcass Parts 

The Wildlife Commission has implemented a new rule for 2018-19 prohibiting the importation of whole deer carcassess and restricting importation of specific carcass parts from anywhere outside of North Carolina to help prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, a transmissable, fatal neurological disease affecting cervids. Cervids include deer, elk, moose and reindeer/caribou. MORE

Wildlife Commission Announces New Striped Bass Size Limit in Inland Waters of the Tar, Neuse and Pungo Rivers

A new striped bass size limit is in place for inland waters within the Central-Southern Striped Bass Management Area. During the harvest season, which opened Oct. 1 and runs until April 30, 2019, the minimum size limit for striped bass is 26 inches and two fish can be kept per day/per angler. Inland waters in the Central-Southern Striped Bass Management Area covered by this new regulation include:

  • Tar-Pamlico River and tributaries from Rocky Mount Mill Dam downstream to Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge at Washington
  • Neuse River and tributaries from Falls Lake Dam downstream to Pitchkettle Creek
  • Pungo River upstream of the U.S. 264 bridge at Leechville
  • All other unlisted inland waters of coastal rivers and tributaries in the Central-Southern Management Area, except Cape Fear River and tributaries


Seeing — or Hearing — More Coyotes this Fall? Here’s Why. 

According to the Wildlife Commission, if you’re seeing — and hearing — coyotes more this fall, it’s probably because young “teenaged” coyotes are leaving their parents’ territories to find a mate and establish a territory of their own. Young coyotes can travel remarkable distances — upward of 300 miles — before settling into their own territory, so they’re more likely to be noticed by people. But seeing one is no reason to be alarmed.  What you should know about wary and wily coyotes.

See a Hellbender? Let Us Know!

The Wildlife Commission is asking the public, in particular anglers, to report any sightings of hellbenders (water dogs) to the agency. Hellbenders are found in fast-moving, clean mountain streams. Anglers fishing these streams are most likely to come across one of these giant, aquatic salamanders that average about 16 to 17 inches in length. Reported sightings help agency biologists understand better where they are located and how their populations are faring. MORE

Public Input Sought on Five Draft Species Conservation Plans 

The Wildlife Commission is seeking public input through Nov. 26, 2018 on draft species conservation plans for: the bog turtle; robust redhorse; brook floater; gopher frog; and five rare species found in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River basins. These plans will guide agency efforts to maintain and increase their populations. MORE

Wildlife Commission Investigating Widespread Fish Kills After Hurricane Florence

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Wildlife Commission fisheries biologists continued to document widespread fish kills in eastern North Carolina. The fish kills are the result of significant declines in dissolved oxygen. Fish kills have been reported in 14 coastal rivers and one coastal creek although many other rivers, streams, lakes, canals and private ponds in eastern North Carolina experienced dissolved oxygen declines, and smaller, isolated fish kills. MORE

Deer Hunters: Think Twice Before Pulling the Trigger

The Wildlife Commission’s Home From the Hunt campaign reminds hunters to be aware of their surroundings and positively identify their target before pulling the trigger. The four primary rules of firearms safety are:

  • Always point a firearm in a safe direction. 
  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded and never assume a firearm is unloaded.
  • Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target­—and what’s in front of and behind it. MORE

Grouse Hunter: We Need Your Help 

The Wildlife Commission is seeiking assistance from grouse hunters this hunting season with West Nile Virus Disease sampling and Avid Hunter Surveys. New this season, grouse hunters are asked to submit samples (blood and feathers) from their harvested birds to test for West Nile Virus. Recent research suggests that ruffed grouse are routinely exposed to West Nile Virus, and it appears this exposure could cause declines in ruffed grouse populations. MORE

Fish, Hunt or Boat on Harris Lake? Take our Habitat Enhancement Survey.  

Harris Lake is a source population for the spread of hydrilla, an invasive aquatic weed to other waterbodies in our state, where the long-term environmental and economic impacts can be substantial. With the goal of mitigating hydrilla’s impacts, the Division of Water Resources – Aquatic Weed Control Program will be implementing hydrilla control in Harris Lake. This effort will be conducted in collaboration with the Wildlife Commission, who is also initiating a substantial effort to enhance aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife, especially largemouth bass, black crappie, and waterfowl to utilize in the absence of hydrilla. We need your feedback on the habitat enhancement. MORE

Wild Animals Adapt to Hurricane After Effects 

After Hurricanes Florence and Michael blew through the state, wild animals may have been displaced, but that is typically a temporary situation. Given time and a wide berth, most animals will eventually return to their natural habitat. Wild animals are well adapted to surviving on their own and human intervention, whether providing food or shelter, is usually unnecessary and can be harmful to the animal, said Wildlife Commission biologists. MORE

Bear Hunters: Participate in our Bear Cooperator Program

The Wildlife Commission is asking hunters who harvest bears this season to participate in its Bear Cooperator Program by pulling both upper premolar teeth and mailing the teeth to the agency in an envelope mailed earlier this month to all bear e-stamp holders. Information from the teeth help agency biologist monitor bear populations, make management decisions and evaluate the impact of bear harvest. Teeth from all bear ages are needed. Those who participate receive a free bear cooperator hat and age report. MORE

Wildlife Commission Seeking Skulls and Carcasses

The Wildlife Commission’s Furbearer Team is seeking bobcat skulls and otter skulls, as well as spotted skunk carcasses from trappers this year. Data gleaned from skulls will help biologists determine the age structure of the harvest, while skunk carcasses will be used for genetics and locations to increase biologists’ knowledge of this elusive furbearer species. Cooperators will receive the ages of their animal and a cooperator patch. For more information, visit Furbearer Cooperator Program or email

What’s Scarier than Bats at Halloween? A World Without Bats. 

While bats may seem scary, the reality of a world without bats is scary — and all too real because of a fungus called White-nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States, including bats in North Carolina. Since 2011, Wildlife Commission biologists have documented dramatic declines in bat populations. Populations of the Northern long-eared bat have dropped so dramatically that it is now on the federal endangered species list. Learn more, including what you can do to help bat populations in North Carolina

BLOG: Fear Not These Animals of Halloween Lore

Bats, snakes, crows, ravens and black cats are animals most associated with Halloween. Instead of being scary, however, these animals are quite beneficial — not only to the environment but to humans as well, and the world would be a much scarier place without them. Take a closer look at these animals and some of their benefits on our NC Wildlife Blog.

2019 Wildlife Calendars Now Available. Get Yours Before They’re Gone!

The 2019 Wildlife Calendar is now on sale. The calendar, which makes an excellent holiday gift, features outstanding wildlife art with profiles of each artist, fishing days with moon phase information, and more. Only $9 each — get yours before they’re gone! Visit the Wildlife Commission’s N.C. Wild Store.

Other News and Events

Orphaned Otters Released into the Wild After Collaboration by Three N.C. Agencies

Free November Workshops in Brevard

Free November Fly-Tying Course for Beginners in Fayetteville

Free November Wildlife Programs in Corolla