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KING: Sport hunting season getting into full gear for the area
By Kent King, Rocky Mount Telegram
With the arrival of September, many outdoorsmen turn their attention toward the sport of hunting. This month ushers in the fall with shorter days, cooler nights, and the persuit of game in the forecast.

North Carolina is richly blessed with wild game of many different species. While our natural habitat is dwindling with much new development, there are still plenty of unspoiled areas of our state where hunters can take to the field.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recently posted the dates for hunting season 2004-2005. The proclamation includes the daily limit for each species, as well as the possession limit and season limits.

Already doves are flying over our little neck of the woods. The Saturday before Labor Day ushered in that season.

For the past several years, farmers near our house plant cucumbers in the spring. During the heat of summer they harvest the crop and plow the rest into the field. The old cucumbers produce seeds the doves cannot resist in the fall. Hunters in the area had a good afternoon.

The dove season is separated into three parts. After Saturday, shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise until sunset. This segment lasts until Oct. 9.

Hours remain the same during the second segments from Nov. 22-27 and Dec. 20 until Jan. 15.

The daily limit for doves has been set at 12, with a possession limit of 24. There is no season limit established.

Hunters have been gearing up for weeks in anticipation of the upcoming hunting season for white tailed deer. The bow and arrow segment began Saturday and runs through Oct. 8 in the eastern portion of the state.

Muzzleloading season for deer lasts one week from Oct. 9-15. The eastern gun season kicks off October 16 and lasts until January 1.

Many counties in the state will have a one week wild turkey season during the winter, lasting from Jan. 17-22. During this time a hen or gobbler may be legally taken. Bearded turkeys can be harvested from April 9-May 7 next year.

Squirrel season begins on Oct. 18 and runs until Jan. 31. The daily limit is eight, with a possession limit of 16. Hunters are allowed to harvest 75 squirrels during this season.

Rabbit and quail season begins on Nov. 20 and lasts until Feb. 28. Please be conservation-minded when taking these species. They are in short supply in eastern North Carolina.

The daily bag limit for rabbits is established at five, with possession limit of 10. A season limit has been set at 75.

The daily limit of quail is six birds, with a possession limit of 12. There is no season limit, just the endurance of your dogs, as well as your ability to negotiate briar patches.

I have a friend who has been wanting to shoot crows all summer. They are destroying his watermelons and pumpkins. Crows have a hunting season also, running from June 1-Feb. 28.

While there are no restrictions on daily limits, they can only be harvested on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of each week.

I have got to call my friend about this rule. I would hate to see him locked up for taking one of those pesky crows before hump day.

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