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CoastLine is a variety news show, which airs Wednesdays from 12pm - 1pm on WHQR.Every week, we’ll look into issues that matter in the Cape Fear Region. Host Rachel Lewis Hilburn will interview expert guests and invite you to join the conversation.

CoastLine: Alligator And Coyote Management Plans Change; Alligator Hunting Season Still Uncertain

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Richard Scearce / NC Wildlife Resources Commission
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Alligator hunting in North Carolina is now legal in North Carolina after a 44-year ban.  Last October, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission updated its Alligator Management Plan and defined a potential hunting season:  from September 1 to October 1. 

Hunting is only allowed in designated counties, and municipalities within those counties must apply for permits before hunting can commence.  So far, only one town has approved sending in an application:  Lake Waccamaw.  As of Wednesday, the Wildlife Resources Commission had not received anything from the town.  Belville, also in Brunswick County, went so far as to ban alligator hunting; officials there say they want to remain an alligator sanctuary.

The state Wildlife Commission also updated its Coyote Management Plan earlier this year.

On this edition of CoastLine, we’ll learn about the changes to these two management plans.  We’ll also hear why two state officials say it’s critically important that residents learn to peacefully co-exist with wild animals – since they’re here to stay.  

Guests:

Chris Kent, Wildlife Biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in District 2 – which covers twelve southeastern counties including New Hanover, Pender, Duplin, and Onslow counties.  He has also served as the hunter education specialist for the southeastern region.

 John Henry Harrelson, Wildlife Biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in District 4 – which covers nine other counties -- including Brunswick and Columbus.  Before that, he served as the technical assistance biologist for coastal North Carolina.

Resources:

Coexisting with Alligators: 

http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Learning/documents/Profiles/Coexist-AmAlligator-V5.pdf

NC Wildlife Commission Hotline:  866.318.2401

The hotline is staffed by biologists who can answer wildlife questions.  Officials are reminding people that more fawns are around in the spring, and even if you see a fawn by itself, it's likely the mother has gone off momentarily and will return.  Please do not try to touch or capture the fawn.  Leave wild babies alone.

NC Wildlife Commission website:  http://www.ncwildlife.org/default.aspx

From Coexisting with Alligators:

Common Sense Safety Tips:
 

Do not intentionally feed an alligator no matter
what its size.
 

Do not throw food into waters where alligators
may be found.
 

Fishermen should dispose of fish scraps in garbage
cans, and not throw them into the water.
 

Do not feed ducks, geese, other waterfowl or fish in
areas where alligators have been seen.
 

Follow local leash laws or otherwise keep pets on a
leash in areas where alligators could potentially occur.
 

Never leave children unattended near any body of water.
 

Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or
near waters that may contain alligators.
 

Be particularly cautious between dusk and dawn
when alligators are most active.
 

Do not harass or provoke any alligator.
 

Children and adults should never approach an
alligator or any other large wild animal.
 

If the alligator is in a residence or place of business,
or interrupting traffic on a public road, call WRC at
800-662-7137.
 
Long-term Exclusion and
Environment Options:
 

Install a fence with a minimum height of 4.5 feet
around retention ponds, lakes, or other bodies of
water that might attract alligators
 

Install bulkhead along edges of lakes and waterways
 

Add grates to culvert pipes
 

Fence causeways between ponds
 

Minimize vegetation growing in water or near the
water’s edge
 
For technical assistance with exclusion or habitat modification
call 866-318-2401 or 919-707-4011.
 
Alligator hunting or otherwise killing an alligator is prohibited
in North Carolina.
 
Only authorized wildlife biologists and wildlife officers can remove problem alligators