A Message From the Executive Director
Dear Wildlife Stakeholders,
In August 2020, I began my tenure as Executive Director of the Wildlife Commission. Assuming a leadership role in the midst of a worldwide pandemic certainly presented a unique set of challenges. Witnessing agency staff across the state work diligently towards our mission, in spite of these challenges, reinforced what a professional group of dedicated public servants I have the pleasure of working with and the honor of leading.
Numerous studies have shown that immersion in the great outdoors can be beneficial for one’s health and well-being. The pandemic fueled the desire to escape into nature and we aim to take advantage of this opportunity, along with our citizens renewed and newfound interest in wildlife-associated recreation, by continuing to actively promote the great and vast opportunities that abound in North Carolina.
Results of our most recent annual deer harvest survey indicate participation was up, with hunters across the state reporting 169,973 deer harvested during the 2020–21 season — a 9.1 percent increase over the average harvest the last three seasons. There was also a significant increase in new anglers during this season. The increase in hunting, fishing, and overall participation in wildlife-associated recreation is an encouraging trend that we hope will continue in the future.
In working towards our mission to providing programs and opportunities that enable sportsmen and women and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy and participate in wildlife-associated recreation, substantial renovations were recently completed at the John Lentz Hunter Education Complex in Ellerbe, using funding reserves from the Wildlife Restoration Program and the Wildlife Endowment Fund. The complex now features three rifle and pistol ranges (25-yard, 50-yard and 100-yard) with 10 shooting stations each. All three ranges are equipped with baffles and covered shooting positions to ensure optimal safety for all users. Additionally, the complex now offers a static archery range and tower, a redesigned five-stand shotgun field, two combination skeet/trap fields and a 3D archery course. These renovations created a safer range environment and a more accessible facility for people of all abilities to comfortably practice their favorite shooting sport.
The Commission has a steadfast commitment to continue actively pursuing ways to increase public access to the great outdoors, while focusing efforts on conservation practices that provide North Carolina’s wildlife resources critical habitats needed to flourish. As we expand access, I encourage you to visit ncwildlife.org to learn more about the opportunities we offer across the state and plan your next adventure.
Cameron N. Ingram