BEAUFORT — With hunting season just around the corner, Rachel Carson Reserve is reminding the public that hunting is no longer allowed on Carrot Island.
Before House Bill 204, “An Act Adding Certain Described Navigable Waters And The Unincorporated Portion Of The Rachel Carson Reserve To The Corporate Limits Of The Town Of Beaufort,” was approved July 8, hunting was open on the east end of Carrot Island.
When the law took effect June 30, Beaufort’s town limits were expanded to include the previously unincorporated area of the Rachel Carson Reserve and nearby waterways, as previously reported.
The measure put Carrot Island under the town’s jurisdiction, meaning hunting is not allowed. The Beaufort Police Department is to provide enforcement.
“The east end of Carrot Island was outside of town boundaries and that is the area that used to be open to hunting,” said central sites manager Paula Gillikin, who oversees Rachel Carson and Permuda Island reserves.
In 2017, the east end of Carrot Island was put into a hunting permit system. “However, because of the annexation, the area was taken out of the Wildlife Resources Commission permit hunting opportunities program,” she said, adding that the Wildlife Resources Commission, or WRC, refunded permit fees that had already been paid for Carrot Island.
Gillikin said that hunting is still allowed on Middle Marsh and it is not a part of the WRC Permit Hunt system.
The 2,315-acre Rachel Carson Reserve is a state-owned nature preserve across Taylors Creek from the historic town of Beaufort and is made up of a handful of undeveloped islands and is one of 10 protected sites of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve, a program of the state Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management.