New accessible hunt blind and wildlife viewing platform opened
Published 9:55 am Saturday, December 21, 2019
On Dec. 3, a new accessible hunt blind and wildlife viewing platform called Bodie Island Marsh Blind opened.
On Dec. 14, the blind became available for the waterfowl hunting season that lasts through January.
Hunters with limited mobility and the able-bodied can access the registration process on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore website at nps.gov/caha, under plan your visit, things to do.
The facility has a concrete walkway to a blind structure which is roofed and includes a door with access to steps to the water for placing decoys and retrieving waterfowl.
During hunting season, when the blind is in use, two safety features will hopefully eliminate surprise visits. Hunters are responsible for closing a gate at the entrance to the walkway and putting in place a chain across the walkway. Both features have signs warning of hunting.
The facility was built by LSI Marine Construction from Powells Point under a contract issued to Green Dream International in Erie, Pa. The project cost $171,000.
The Bodie Island Marsh Blind is the first marsh access for mobility-impaired citizens in the national seashore.
At the ribbon cutting, David Hallac, superintendent of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and other national parks in eastern North Carolina, acknowledged the advocacy of Bodie Island District Ranger Lynne Edwards for creating the accessible waterfowl hunting blind.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is one of 41 national parks where hunting is allowed. Total number of parks in the system is 419. Over the last decade, 8,100 hunters have used the 20 blinds on Bodie Island.
The waterfowl hunting page gives this information: Currently, the NPS-maintained blinds are unavailable, except for Hunt Area 15, so hunters should bring man-made materials for constructing temporary blinds each hunt day. All temporary blind material must be removed by the hunter each day. Blind material consisting of natural vegetation is not allowed. The blind structures were destroyed by a hurricane.
The 20 blinds including the new accessible blind are available without charge. To hunt in the national seashore, hunters must have a valid North Carolina hunting license with North Carolina waterfowl privilege, a Federal Harvest Program (HIP) certification, and a Federal Duck Stamp.
Hunting areas are administered by the National Park Service with assistance and cooperation of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. All federal and state regulations are applicable and are enforced by National Park Service Rangers, US Fish and Wildlife Service Officers, and North Carolina Wildlife Officers.
A beach access facility is available at Ramp 25. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore has one beach wheelchair available at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse complex. Chicamacomico Banks Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department in Rodanthe has three beach wheelchairs available.
The bathhouses at Coquina Beach, Salvo Day Use Area, Haulover Day Use Area and Frisco have ramps and accessible bathrooms. Accessible bathrooms are available Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Centers. The bathrooms at the Ocracoke Visitor Center were heavily damaged during Hurricane Dorian.
Bodie Island Marsh Blind opens at CHNS
Hunters with limited mobility will be able to reserve the Bodie Island Marsh Blind for up to six days total during the hunt season (maximum three consecutive days).
Procedures for Reserving the Bodie Island Marsh Blind as reported on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore website are:
- Hunters with limited mobility must email reservation request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
– The reservation request must be emailed 48 hours prior to 5 a.m. the day requested. Example: a request must be submitted for a Wednesday morning hunt by Monday at 5 a.m.
– The title of the email should be “ABA Hunt Reservation Request.” It must also include full name, contact phone number, hunt dates requested, and acknowledgement of mobility impairment. For self-registration dates, hunters must identify any additional hunters and/or observers who will be accompanying them (provide full names and roles, ex. Jim Smith – Hunter).
– Requests will not be accepted via mail or phone.
- Hunters with limited mobility will receive a confirmation email back if their reservation request is approved. The confirmation email will include the approved hunt dates.
- Like other hunters, those who have reserved the Bodie Island Marsh Blind during the regular duck season must show up to the drawing and register prior to 5 a.m. on the day of their registration. If proper credentials are not provided, the reservation will be canceled, and the blind will be available for the general drawing.
- During self-registration hunt dates, the Bodie Island Marsh Blind will be reserved via the email request process described above. The hunter with a reservation must still self-register at the Whalebone Junction Information Station and occupy the hunt blind one hour before sunrise. If the Bodie Island Marsh Blind is not reserved, then any hunter can self-register and occupy the blind one hour before sunrise. If already reserved, the Bodie Island Marsh Blind will be identified as reserved at the registration location during the self-registration period.
- Hunters using the Bodie Island Marsh Blind will be provided a card indicating procedures for closing the hunt blind gates and hanging chains for the purpose of preventing the general public from entering the area. Hunters will also be responsible for reopening the gates once their hunt is completed.
- The legal hunting times for use of the Bodie Island Marsh Blind, and all other blinds, are from half an hour before sunrise to sunset.
These rules are found along with general hunting rules online at nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/ under Things To Do, look for waterfowl hunting.