A Message From the Executive Director
Dear Wildlife Partners,
On July 1, 2023, the Wildlife Commission began using gooutdoorsnorthcarolina.com, a new online system for purchasing hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; registering and renewing vessels; registering big game harvests and more. We are excited to offer you new services and features, including digital access to licenses, the Go Outdoors North Carolina mobile app available for iOS and Android devices and the option to upgrade your paper license to a collectable hard card.
The Commission continues with its steadfast commitment to pursue ways to increase public access to the great outdoors, while focusing on conservation practices that provide North Carolina’s wildlife resources critical habitats needed to flourish. Two recent noteworthy conservation accomplishments are:
- The acquisition of 2,420 acres added to the Yadkin River Game Land near Tuckertown Reservoir, an impoundment of the Yadkin River known for its recreational opportunities and as a vital water resource for North Carolinians. The Wildlife Commission, Three Rivers Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, Ducks Unlimited and Foundation for the Carolinas worked together to permanently conserve these game lands for future generations.
- The recent opening of the Worthville Boating Access Area (BAA) in Randolph County, the 250th BAA. With more than 300,000 registered vessels in North Carolina, boating is one of the state’s most popular activities year-round. The Wildlife Commission works tirelessly to provide and maintain free boating access for residents and visitors. An interactive map of these 250 BAAs that offer access to over 100 different bodies of water in North Carolina can be found at ncwildlife.org/wheretoboat.
But despite our accomplishments, much work is left to be done. Few traditions are as meaningful to North Carolinians as white-tailed deer hunting, which is one reason why we are taking the detection of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in our state so seriously. North Carolina’s first CWD-positive deer was harvested in Yadkin County during the 2021-22 hunting season. Last season, Commission staff increased surveillance statewide, more than doubling the number of samples collected and tested compared to the previous season. At the time this digest was printed, CWD-positive deer had been found in Cumberland, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin, and Wilkes counties.
As the geographical range of CWD-positive deer expands, the agency needs deer hunters to help with the monitoring effort by donating a sample from your harvested deer for testing. Testing locations are conveniently located across the state and are searchable on an interactive map at ncwildlife.org/CWD. It takes several weeks for a sample to be processed after we receive it, and the test results are made available to the hunter on the agency’s website.
Continued testing is imperative to understanding the spread of CWD and ensuring informed management decisions for our deer herd, as it is nearly impossible to tell if a deer has CWD by observation alone. CWD is always fatal, and the ease of transmission, and absence of a vaccine, treatment or cure make this disease a looming threat to our white-tailed deer population and deer hunting traditions. As a lifelong deer hunter, born and raised in North Carolina, I want to assure you that our goal is to preserve our deer herd and the tradition of deer hunting in this great state, and we need your help. Dispose of your deer carcasses responsibly, and Don’t Give CWD a Ride. We will keep you updated on our progress.
Yours in conservation,
Cameron N. Ingram