Hunting News and Information

Straight Shootin
Coyotes are adaptable enough and are in enough places that wiping them out by trapping or hunting won’t happen. USDA trapper: coyotes cannot be eradicated

The assistant director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service said no state can eradicate coyotes.


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Prescribed burns and other normal forestry measures are seldom undertaken on national forests, to the detriment of many wildlife species. Forestry considerations

Due in part to pressure from environmental concerns, the U.S. Forest Service heavily curtailed timber harvest in national forests in the late 1980s. This has impacts a number of species, including a reduction in many game populations that are dependent on early successional growth for both protection and food supply.


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A 16- or 20-gauge double-barrel shotgun choked improved cylinder and modified is a perfect gun to carry all day in mountainous grouse country. Grouse hunting things to know

• Guns and shells - You will be walking long distances and hunting in tight quarters; depending on your personal preference, any good birding gun will do, but bigger is not necessarily better. A lightweight 16- or 20-gauge over/under or side-by-side double-barrel with 26- to 28-inch barrels is recommended. All you need is one shot, so a semi-automatic isn’t necessary. Chokes range from skeet to modified, and you’ll want a tighter choke on your second barrel for the longer second shot, if presented. Preferred shot size is No. 71/2, but a No. 6 will often be in the second barrel.


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Grouse will often fly uphill when pointed by dogs or flushed wild. Grouse hunting particulars

Follow these tips to improve your chances of having a productive grouse hunt:


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Chris House of Wilmington shot this drake ruddy duck or “butterball” on a New River diver hunt. Fill out a bag limit with oddballs, butterballs

While most of the ducks on the New River are lesser scaup, other oddball ducks can help fill out a daily bag limit of six that can only include two scaup.


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A good retriever can make a duck hunt on the New River even more enjoyable. Bumpers boost canine confidence

One of the most enjoyable aspects of hunting ducks on big, open waters like the New River is watching a trained retriever making a long, difficult retrieve.


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Holman Byrd’s scaup (left) and canvasback decoys were made from cedar and tupelo; he also uses cork, which he says is indestructible. Indestructible decoys? Make your own

Diving ducks come into the decoys flying extremely low, often barely above the surface of the water. When using large decoy spreads, low-flying waterfowl like scaup and canvasback can draw fire from hunters that riddles decoys with shot. That’s one reason Holman Byrd makes many of his own diving duck decoys.


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Trapping is a good way to control the number of  wild hogs on a piece of property — and put bacon and hams in the freezer — and January is a prime month to trap hogs because of limited natural food sources. Keep traps active for feral hogs

Trapping wild hogs an effective method for filling up the freezer with fresh pork, but trappers can often have trouble coaxing hogs into traps during the summer and fall when food resources are readily available. However, as January arrives and deer season ends, most natural foods are gone and hogs are out on the prowl looking for something to eat; that makes trapping much more effective than any other time of year.


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Members of North Carolina’s Twin Creeks Hunting Club have the habitat and resources to produce wall-hanger bucks like this one. Wildlife Habitat Improvement Series: Twin Creeks Hunting Club

Nestled between Big Fishing Creek and Little Fishing Creek in northeast North Carolina lies Twin Creeks Hunting Club. With more than 7,000 acres of swamps, timberland and a conglomeration of food plots under cultivation, Twin Creeks has the perfect mix of wilderness and prime wildlife habitat to produce a wide variety of game species. Beyond having a solid deer population, Twin Creeks has a huge flock of wild turkeys and just enough black bears for a member to fill a tag during the new season. But the whitetail deer reigns in these parts, and for good reason.


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Hunters Jefferson Boaz, Folger Boaz, Chase Harris, Jeremy Johnson and Frank Harris took these tundra swans hunting with guides Charles Haywood and Karl Helmkamp of Albemarle Outfitters. Swan Hunting Permits

Tundra swans do a tremendous amount of damage to winter field crops, in northeast North Carolina, so the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission issues 5,000 permits to hunt tundra swans each year.


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Staying hidden is much more important on late-season hunts, so building a blind from natural sources is often a good idea. Late-season dove tips

Andy Pope and Lowrie Beacham have developed habits in their pursuit of late-season doves that are worth sharing:


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Know your limits, regs, times

Every year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts aerial surveys to estimate the breeding population of waterfowl across Canada and the northern United States. Hunting seasons and regulations are set for all four flyways, with the population estimate taken in to account.


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