As part of its annual deer management program, Duke Forest, in coordination with the state Wildlife Resources Commission, will close three of its divisions during weekdays through the fall for hunting.
The Durham, Korstian and Blackwood divisions of the forest will be closed to all public access Monday to Friday from Sept. 26 to Dec. 16. All divisions of the forest will be open on Saturdays and Sundays and on Nov. 24 and 25 for Thanksgiving. The Edeburn (formerly Eno), Hillsboro and Dailey divisions are not part of this program and will remain open throughout the fall.
Overgrazing is affecting the forest’s overall health, changing the ecosystem and disturbing research experiments, said Sara Childs, director of Duke Forest.
She added that hunting is still a necessary tool for reducing the negative effects of overabundant deer in Duke Forest.
Results from a 2016 deer population survey showed a decrease in total deer spotted when compared to 2015. However, rainy weather prevented completion of the full survey, Childs said.
This is the ninth hunting season for Duke Forest. During the season, signs will be posted at all gated entrances to the forest and staff will issue citations to any unauthorized visitors.
Hunting is only allowed by two selected groups; it isn’t open to the general public. The Durham and Korstian divisions will be hunted with bow and arrow only while the Blackwood Division will have both bow and gun hunting. For safety reasons, visitors need to observe all posted signs and seek alternate locations for recreation.
Duke community members with upcoming or ongoing work in the forest should contact Duke Forest staff to discuss arrangements. Staff can be contacted by phone at (919) 613-8013 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.