North Carolina Bear Hunters Association

North Carolina Bear Hunters Association

News


Bear Hunting News & Bulletin Board

Keep informed of the latest news and information about North Carolina bear hunting.

APA 2019 Breed Days Event

The NCBHA will be attending the American Plott Association (APA) Breed Days in Greenville, TN, on March 14, 15 and 16, in Greenville, TN.  The event will be held at 265 Camp Joshua Lane, Greenville, TN.   We look forward to visiting with everyone, NCBHA will have our merchandise store (hats, hoodies, tee shirts, tags, etc.). This is always a fine event and a great opportunity to meet with old and new friends. See you there.

Daniel Boone Bear Club Event

Be sure to attend the Daniel Boone Bear Club event on April 27 held at the Newland Volunteer Fire Department.  The NCBHA will be attending and bringing our bear hunter merchandise. This is a great event and fund raiser for an organization that does a super job supporting the local community. 

Southeastern Treeing Walker Days 2019

The NCBHA will be attending the 4614th Annual Southeastern Treeing Walker Days at the Union County Fairgrounds on February 23rd .   The Union County Fairground is at 120 Kirby Street, Union SC.  This is a wonderful regional event and we always see a lot of our NCBHA members and dog hunting friends.  

2019 Board of Directors - Resignations and Appointments

Resignation - The NCBHA Board has reluctantly received and accepted a notice of resignation from David E. Winberry our long standing Board member from Swansboro, NC. David has served our board since 2005 and has been long time bear hunter and NCBHA advocate. David served on our legislative team  from 2006 through 2009 and traveled to Raleigh on several occasions to supporting NCBHA positions on Training Bear Dogs during the off season and meeting with the NCWRC regarding discussions over the legal definition of "Take" .  We will miss David and his knowledge and experience, as we move forward.

Appointment - The Board of Directors announced on February 14th, 2019, the appointment of Reed Sheffield to the NC Bear Hunters Association Board of Directors. Reed will assume the eastern chair and manage the magazine newsletter and communications. Our Board is familiar with Reed and his unwavoring support of bear hunting and hunting with dogs. The Board having a motion, second and majority approval, appointed Reed to the Board of Directors. We are excited to have Reed in this position, his skills as a speaker and writer are unique and represents the future of the NCBHA organization. We look forward to his contributions and support.  

Reed Sheffield's response to the Board:

I consider it an honor to be considered for this position, and it is my intent to serve with a level of integrity and activeness that does it justice.

My relationship with bear hunting is a lifelong one, and it is a driving passion of my life. Anyone who knows me can attest to this. My father, Ralph Sheffield, has been a bear hunter since the 1970s, and was in fact a member of this same board of directors for 6 years. He has owned a pack of bear hounds continuously for 40 years, and so there literally hasn’t been a single day of my life on this earth that I haven’t owned a bear dog. I’ve been actively going bear hunting since I was carried to bear trees in diapers, and ever since I got my driver’s license I’ve raised, trained, hunted, and managed our pack of bear hounds. I’ve hunted the mountains, all over my coastal home, and as far as West Virginia for bear. I’ve pursued the sport with a relentless passion, and aim to apply that same drive to conserving it for future generations to enjoy.

 I’ve been involved with the proactive and association side of bear hunting and hunting in general in many ways already. I’ve been featured in Full Cry magazine, have written for the American Plott Association’s Brindle Book, as well as being a recipient of their National Youth and Young Big Game Hunter of the Year awards. I’ve been a board of directors member for a large hunting club, was active in the NC Sporting Dog Association, and I am currently a board of directors and founding member of the East Carolina Houndsmen Alliance, through which I’ve written an article for the Southern Hound Hunter magazine, in addition to other board duties.

Outside of my hunting life, I’ve got a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a master’s in business management from Northumbria University in England, where I studied abroad, as well as an exchange semester in Germany. My love for hunting and hounds followed me abroad, as I actively enjoyed fox hunting and other types of hunting while I was in England.

 I’m a firm believer in being proactive in the role of preservation of all types of hunting, and in portraying ourselves in the right light. I’ve enjoyed sharing my hunting experiences with others, and have been fortunate enough to do so by taking lots of people (men, women, and children) on their first bear hunts, including such a diverse group as some of my international friends from England, Scotland, and Australia. I even had the wonderful opportunity to host the managing editor of Field & Stream magazine this past hunting season and was able to get him to harvest his first ever bear in front of my hounds. I say all this to show how important this sport is to me, that I am willing to work actively to ensure it’s alive and healthy to be shared with others. I feel that the NCBHA is a great avenue to make these positive influences for the future of our heritage.

 I am first and foremost a bear hunter, and always will be. But as a houndsman that has participated in such hound pursuits as bird hunting, deer hunting, squirrel hunting, rabbit hunting, fox hunting, bobcat hunting, and owning my own coon dogs in addition my bear hounds, I deeply understand the threat our hunting heritage is under in a rapidly growing and modernizing society. We are largely misunderstood by the population at large, and so it is organizations like the NCBHA that are so important in the quest for continued bear conservation, management, and preservation of the resource. The NCBHA is vital to keeping the tradition of bear hunting in NC alive, as well ensuring that the right steps and regulations are in place to continue conservation of our bear population. I believe these goals can be achieved in the NCBHA as long as we remain an active, present, and approachable organization that is connected to its members and community. I accepted this position because of how passionate I feel that this is important, and that the NCBHA is a terrific vehicle for having a positive effect on bear hunting.

Bear hunting is a major part of my life, and as an honored member of the board, I look forward to working with you all towards the common goal of preserving the great and time-honored tradition of bear hunting in this state.

Sincerely,

Reed Sheffield


Bear Tracks

Background

Beginning in the mid-1980s, whenever NCBHA wanted to discuss changes or modifications to bear hunting regulations or bear management, we were forced to take our requests to the North Carolina legislature and enact laws both on statewide and local law levels to effect such changes.

Early in the 90s, the NCWRC expressed interest in working with NCBHA to modify and develop a bear strategy through existing agency regulatory authority and not through the legislature. With hopes of good intentions by everyone involved, the NCWRC and NCBHA began an interactive process that endured many achievements and disappointments while trying to find solutions for better bear management. Notwithstanding regular attempts to align and regionalize hunting seasons, the NCWRC showed reluctance to move forward despite the dialog with hunters. In 2009 after much bureaucratic stonewalling on the part of NCWRC, NCBHA determined that until there was a bear management plan that set forth specific goals and approaches for achieving them, we could not gain the traction required to move bear management forward.

In 2011 and 2012, the very nature of NCWRC changed. Most observers recognized that the commission changed from an amicable and respected group of commissioners who had genuine interest and expertise in some matters of fishing and hunting and provided competent advice, consent, and oversight to a commission that could often be described as a heavy-handed management group. During this uneasy period, the NCWRC spent no time or effort developing the needed bear management plan.

Over the past six years, NCWRC and NCBHA have held some 36 statewide meetings. The basis of these meetings initially centered around hunting seasons, feeding bears, and problems between hunters and agency law enforcement regarding feeding-related issues. NCWRC would not change seasons and modify methods of take because they still didn't have a bear management plan. Finally, after 22 years without one, Chairman Hoyle demanded that the bear management plan be prioritized and finalized. Quickly after that, we had a good plan.

It wasn't long before many of the commissioners wanted to allow hunting with the aid of bait. There was huge disagreement between bear hunters, agency biologists, agency executives, and commissioners. After three years of intense disagreement and a majority rejection by bear hunters during the district public hearings, the NCWRC decided to incrementally permit bear hunting with the aid of bait for three years. During that time, time neither hunters nor the agency would attempt to modify the bear regulations in any manner until we had a scientific understanding of the effects of baiting on bear populations.


U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Plans To End Common Access To North Carolina National Forests

USFS is proposing to designate 362,000 acres and 53 river segments in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests as Wilderness Areas. It is a designation that would always severely limit access to these public lands by the average person and especially our youngest, oldest, and disabled citizens.

NCBHA expressed the strongest opposition to this plan to add any more Forest Service lands in North Carolina to the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is unlikely that any other group of Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest users knows these lands better than our bear hunting members do. For hundreds of years, our families have hunted and traveled these lands as a tradition that predates the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest itself. Consequently, we understand well, the life-altering impact that this plan presents.

Congressional Hearing: Operation Something Bruin

The US House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a Congressional Field Hearing on June 19th at the Haywood County Courthouse, to investigate possible government waste, fraud, and abuse, as related to the federal and state investigation called Operation Something Bruin. US House Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) chaired the hearing with Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC) and Rep. Doug Collins (GA). Operation Something Bruin, was a 58 month undercover operation into alleged bear poaching and Lacey Act offenses in the Smokey Mountain region conducted by the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission and Georgia state wildlife agencies. Despite the drama generated by all the federal and state agency press releases citing 81 hunters being charged with 980 violations, the results have been astonishing with numerous felony charges being reduced, and even more misdemeanor charges being dropped altogether.

What’s more, its entirely possible that the most inexcusable and criminal acts were committed not by hunters, but rather by the undercover agents who illegally killed 6 of 10 bears themselves, for the purpose of entrapping or entangling hunters after the fact, as a result undercover agents actions.

The following documents provide information and/or testimony in advance of during the Friday hearings.

• Written Testimony Of L. Allyn Stockton
• Written Testimony Of Charles Anthony Smith
• Statement Of Tony Tooke Regional Forester Southern Region Forest Service
• Testimony Of Luis Santiago, Special Agent-In-Charge, Southeast Region
• Testimony Of Gordon S. Myers Executive Director North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Bear Hunting Magazine

It's our privilege to announce that the NCBHA will continue our relationship with Bear Hunting Magazine. We consider Bear Hunting Magazine the only true forum dedicated to bear hunting in North America. As you probably already know, the NCBHA will be providing a full subscription to each of our members as part of your standard membership. We believe that Bear Hunting Magazine is an effective medium for communicating with members while also providing quality bear hunting articles.