Friday, November 26, 2010

2010 Butner Hunt Report

Friday, November 26, 2010
2010 NCBA Member Hunt At Butner, NC

The “official” dates for the Butner hunt were October 16-24, 2010. Campers setup Saturday, October 16th and (campsites are 1st come, 1st served) hunted throughout the entire week. The Big Buck, Biggest Doe contest runs Oct.21-23. NCBA provided a free “Pig Pickin” Friday night at the Lake Butner Boat Launch Pavilion. The Butner Hunt ‘Shoot-Out’ was also be held for bragging rights, one-of-kind hat and a plaque for compound and traditional classes. This year’s Memorial was for the late Roger Duggins, long time supporter of the NCBA and NCBA Life Member. All proceeds will go toward the Memorial Fund in his name.

Kevin Dancy won the "Traditional" competition. David "Binky" Soots won the "Compound" competition in the 3rd annual "Butner Shootout".

Jeff Black won the "Big Doe" award and Scott Kazmierczak won the drawing for the "Big Buck" award, as no one shot a 6 point buck or larger.
Directions to Campground:

We will be at the same campground as last year. Signs are posted at entrance to campsite. An aerial map is shown below.
GPS Coordinates at GATE entrance off Old Hwy. 75 (Durham/Oxford Hwy.) are: N36-10’-101.4 and W78-45’-327.8

Camp Rules and Regulations:
1- No public display of alcohol.
2- Parking ONLY permitted in the field area. No parking/camping/blocking the flagged emergency access lane.
3- If the gate at the road is closed when you come in or go out, close it behind you.
4- All vehicles camping must display NCBA sign.
5- Please abide by all NCWRC game land regulations. If unsure, ASK!!
6- Campers, ALL GARBAGE MUST BE TAKEN WITH YOU! Leave campsites cleaner than you found it.
Big Buck and Biggest Doe Contest – Thurs thru Sat (Oct 22nd -23rd -24th )
2. Bucks must have 6 scorable points by Pope & Young system rules.
3. Does are live weight, do not field dress your doe. If tie, will take “Green’ Skull measurement score.
3. If no entries in either category, all “registered” hunters names will be placed in a drawing for the prizes.

Butner Hunt “Shoot-Out” Contest
Again there is will be bragging rights for best score in COMPOUND and TRADITIONAL.
Rules at registration area.. All proceeds go to NCBA Memorial Endowment Fund in memory of: Roger Duggins.

ANY Questions:contact Huntmaster: Wayne Smith; 336-362-9469.

Role of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

What "role" should the members of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission be fulfilling in the operation of our wildlife agency? Is the manner in which commissioners are chosen and appointed best for our wildlife resources?.. for wildlife constituents?.. and even for the overall health and well-being of the agency itself? Do we even need a wildlife resources commission?

These questions arise often, and specially in the past couple years as commissioners, agency staff and "We the People (outdoorsmen and women)" struggled with a number of issues concerning management of primarily deer, bear and wild turkey in N.C.

Currently, we have nineteen (19) politically appointed wildlife commissioners. Is this enough?.. too many?.. or is this number "just about right?" Seven or eight of the positions have been added within the last decade or so. All these new positions are "at large" appointments made by either the Governor, Speaker of the House or President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Politics being as it is, this makes sense to some extent. But, a few things really bother me about all these appointments.

First thing that pops out at me is that almost, if not all of these "at large" appointments are from the eastern area of the state, in and east of Raleigh. This creates a significant imbalance in representation for sportsmen/women in other areas of the state. And, it does make a difference in that the views of outdoorsmen/women in the east vastly differ from those of the central and western areas of the state.

The second thing that comes to mind is that none of our wildlife commissioners are wildlife biologists. Most, if not all are business men. This prepares them well for ruling on fiscal and budgetary issues, but when it comes to setting actual wildlife management rules, regulations and policies, they often seem to make decisions based on unpopular ideas that are often not recommended by the WRC's biological staff, or favored by a significant majority of their constituents. The WRC administration sometimes agrees with them for whatever reasons. Maybe just to keep peace, or rack up "brownie points" with commission leaders who possess the power to discipline them if they disagree too often, or disagree on the wrong issue.

I don't know what the annual payroll of our WRC biologist staff is. My guess is that it is in excess of 2 million dollars. I think that would be a very conservative number. It is public information, so we should be able to find out if we asked. Whatever it is, I'm sure our professional staff of biologists are paid a comfortable living wage. The amount really doesn't matter to me. What does matter is that these people are educated professionals in their field of endeavor, and when they spend a lot of valuable time preparing reports and making recommendations to the commissioners that could drastically effect the future of our wildlife resources, these recommendations sometime are not approved as recommended, or not approved at all. The majority of the time they are approved as submitted, or with minor changes, and that is good for all involved. Other times, it seems they approve, or have submited proposals themselves that conflict with those of the staff, possibly based on feedback they receive from some constituents, their own personal friends, or maybe from people in the business community.

Many sportmen/women feel that something must change. We have to get back to basics in the operation of our wildlife agency. We must pay more attention to what our wildlife professionals have to say about how to best manage our wildlife resources.

Many feel very strongly that we should also move back in the direction of electing our wildlife commissioners to office, rather than allowing the political party in power to appoint people for whatever reasons. It should be non-partisan. There's no place for politics in the management of our wildlife resources, or the agency itself. Possibly having a few former (retired?) wildlife biologists on the commission would be a good thing to consider too?

NCBA officers and members have been attending wildlife commission meetings for years. We hear questions and comments from commissioners time to time that clearly indicate their lack of knowledge about various issues. Some obviously come to meetings unprepared, having not read the material provided to them by the staff. If they don't have time to devote to their appointed duties, they should voluntarily resign and vacate their position on the commission to someone who has time and is willing to put forth the effort to serve.

Commissioners did recently approve a new proposal submitted by the staff that will establish a procedure for evaluating proposals for managing whitetail deer. On it's face, it looks very promising. Time will tell whether or not the commissioners choose to utilize it. There is one thing they removed from the proposal that we think should have been included. There was a three year "waiting period" for making new deer management proposed changes after any major changes were implemented. The staff would have preferred to have a five year period to observe and evaluate major management changes, but opted to reduce this to three years in hopes that the commissioners would agree. They didn't. It appears that some still want complete control over making any and all changes to deer management regulations, whether or not the staff recommends it, or it comes from some other source. This mentality must change to ensure that our wildlife resources and our agency is managed in the best possible manner.

So, what is in store in the immediate future? Politics being what it is, the tides change from time to time. For the first time in over one hundred years, a different political party will be in complete control of our state legislature. We will have a new Speaker of the House and a new President of the Senate. I've been told that these men will be making up to maybe eight new appointments to the wildlife commission in early 2011. Let's hope they choose their appointments wisely and make them in the best interest of the resource and the agency and staff that works so diligently to make it the best it can be.

Ramon Bell, President/NC Bowhunters Association