RALEIGH —Saturday was Youth Deer Hunting Day in North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper proclaimed the youth hunting day on Sept. 14, 2017, stating that “North Carolina’s sportsmen and women were among the first conservationists to support the establishment of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission — to conserve fish, wildlife and their habitat — and to help fund healthy and sustainable natural resources through their license fees.” Youth deer hunting day allows youths 17 and younger to use any legal weapon to hunt deer of either sex.
The state youth hunting day coincided with National Hunting and Fishing Day. On May 2, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation designating the fourth Saturday in September as National Hunting and Fishing Day. This year, N.C. native and racing legend Richard Childress is the honorary chairman of National Hunting and Fishing Day, joining two other Old North State sports legends — Arnold Palmer (1985) and Hertford native Jim “Catfish” Hunter (1976) — who have served in the same capacity.
Childress — who joins a national fraternity of chairmen that also includes Bill Dance, Hank Williams Jr., Travis Tritt, Jeff Foxworthy, Terry Bradshaw and Tony Stewart — said of the national day, “This is a very important day to reflect and participate in activities that celebrate conservation efforts by sportsmen around the country.”
Youth hunters along with archers and other hunters have already taken more than 6,300 deer across the North Carolina as of press time. Wake County leads the state with 106 antlered bucks and Stokes, Rockingham, Randolph, and Chatham counties all rank in the top five with more than 70 bucks taken. Chatham County leads the state with the most total deer taken at 193.
While deer hunting season moves into full swing, Childress, of Welcome, N.C., will likely be turning his focus to the NASCAR playoffs where his grandson Austin Dillon is still fighting to bring the famous No. 3 car back to the top of stockcar racing heap.
Deer season continues across the state for all hunters with the first gun season opening in eastern North Carolina on Oct. 14. The last day to hunt deer for this season is Jan. 1, 2018, for all regions.