Last week, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission voted to allow future elk hunting in the state.
You may be forgiven if you missed the meeting or the news. To find it you had to go to the Commission website, look at the public meeting link, find the agenda and look down through all the topics they were going to discuss. The meeting was held in Raleigh.
Here’s the link http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/About/documents/Agenda_Package/2016/2016-02-11-NCWRC-Commission-Meeting-Agenda-Package.pdf and look at Exhibit F, H6. Are you still with me? See a more read-friendly story here.
Now I can’t get too excited about the potential for elk hunting. Right now, the best estimate is that there are about 150 elk in Western North Carolina. Most are still in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They’d have to move en masse to Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. It may be a while. The pictures here are all from the park. I have yet to see an elk in our national forests.
You have to remember how these elk got here. The Smokies brought over elk in 2001 and 2002, all originally from Alberta, Canada. Some of the funding (most of the funding??) came from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It was no secret to anyone paying attention that an important purpose of bringing the elk back to the area was to eventually have a hunting season.
In addition, the Commission stated that there was an overwhelming amount of support for elk hunting in the forests. Of course there was. Hunting organizations are organized and they encouraged their members to write in comments.
So the bottom line is whether you can’t wait for the hunt or you dread it, it will be quite a while. Or maybe the bottom line is to pay attention to policies that affect the outdoors.