By Dan Kibler
Statewide teams fell short of entries from Stanly and Surry counties at the North Carolina Young Hunter Education Skills Tournament held April 30 at the John Lentz Hunter Education Center at Ellerbe. Misenheimer’s Gray Stone Day School “Garnet” team won the senior division with a score of 3,625 out of a possible 4,000 points in the competitions of archery, rimfire rifle, shotgun hunting and hunter. Second was Elkin High School Wapiti with 3,609, followed by Northeast High School with 3,607, Team Princeton Blue with 3,563, and Pisgah High School with 3,552. In the junior division for college and below , Wapiti of Elkin Junior High won with 3420, followed by Northeast Randolph Middle with 3343, Southern Alamance Middle Black with 3290, Bethel Middle Blue with 3271 and North Stanly Shooting Sports Junior with 3261. Additionally, Gray’s Garnet team Stone Middle finished sixth with 3,261. Schools entered students in each of the four disciplines, with a possible 1,000 points earned in each. Gray Stone Garnet finished first in the senior division in archery with 978×1,000, first in hunter skills with 859, and first in rimfire rifle with 928. Elkin’s junior team was first in archery with 944 and hunter safety with 783. Northeast Randolph runners-up Team finished first in shotgun with 920. Sixty teams – 34 from the senior division and 26 from the junior division – qualified for the state championship among 3,500 students on 300 teams from 193 public and private schools, homeschool associations and 4-H clubs who competed at the district level.
BASS founder Scott has passed away
Ray Scott, the founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and the father of modern professional bass fishing, died last Sunday at his home in Alabama of natural causes, according to BASS. He was 88 years old. Scott founded the nation’s first professional bass fishing circuit, the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, in 1967, and founded BASS the following year. A former insurance salesman, Scott launched Bassmaster magazine, which had a circulation of over 600,000 copies at its peak, helped create The Bassmasters television series on the Nashville network in the mid-1980s, and he has pushed the catch-and-release mantra that a huge percentage of bass anglers follow to this day. A graduate of Auburn University, Scott sold BASS in 1986 but remained the organization’s figurehead for another decade.
The Black Bar opens on OBX
North Carolina anglers heading to the Outer Banks over the next few weeks will have an additional focus, with recreational black bass season opening on Sunday, May 15. The popular groundfish is protected north of Cape Hatteras much of the year, but fishing in state and federal waters opens in May; it will close on December 11. The recreational season south of Cape Hatteras opened April 1. The creel limit north of Cape Hatteras will be 15 per person, per day, with a minimum size of 13 inches in total length. South of Hatteras, anglers can only keep seven fish a day.
Scheduled fishing education courses
Fishing and aquatic education classes will be held this month at two locations in western North Carolina. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will host a “Gone Fishin’” class on May 14 at Marion State Hatchery for ages 5 and up, followed by Fly Casting 101 lessons for ages 12 and more at the hatchery on May 17 and Dupont State Recreational Forest on May 19. An introductory fly fishing class will be held May 24 at the Marion State Fish Hatchery for ages 12 and up. The final class, “A Trout’s Perspective, River Snorkeling,” is scheduled for May 31 for ages 10 and up. Classes are open to the public and free. More details are available at www.ncwildlife.org.
The latest battle along the coast between conservation organizations and the commercial fishing industry is over shellfish, and for a change, not shrimp. The commercial shellfish industry has requested that the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management draft amendments to change laws prohibiting floating structures in public waters. The floating structures in question would be structures built on commercial shellfish leases in public waters. Commercial oyster farmers used the structures primarily for shade, as workplaces for cleaning equipment, pressure washing, grading and bagging shellfish for market. Structures are limited to 450 square feet and can be one story with a roof. Coastal regulations do not currently allow floating structures above public waters. Opponents of the regulatory changes cite state regulations that use of public trust waters for private and commercial purposes should be limited to those that depend on the water. Sorting, picking, washing, grading and bagging of oysters are usually done on land. The prospect of user conflicts caused by the structures was also raised.
Dan Kibler is a Clemmons-based outdoor writer.