Western North Carolina hunters might be losing the treasured tradition of Thanksgiving week deer hunting.

The Asheville Citizen Times reports the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is proposing changes to hunting seasons for white-tailed deer and bear hunting that could allow longer periods for hunting with guns and allow bear and deer hunting seasons in the mountains to overlap.

Historically, gun season for deer has paused while bear hunters are out with guns and dogs. According to the report, the proposed rules would remove the traditional start of rifle hunting for deer on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

The proposed rules would move the opening season of black powder, also known as muzzle loading, from the beginning of October to the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and shorten the season from two weeks to one.

The opening of WNC gun season for deer would start the Saturday after Thanksgiving and last for six weeks.

The archery season would remain the same.

The proposed changes in the bear hunting season would add two weeks to the current seven weeks beginning on October 1st and run through November 17th. Bear season would then close for Thanksgiving week for black powder season. The last two weeks of bear season would overlap with gun season for deer.

According to the report, Mike Carraway, a state Wildlife Commission wildlife biologist said the proposed changes are based on data collected for more than five years and represent the best proposals biologically and to improve hunter satisfaction.

The Wildlife Commission will hold public hearings to take comment on the proposed rule changes throughout January for each of the nine districts. All of the proposed regulations can be found in the 2018-2019 Public Hearing Booklet at www.ncwildlife.org

The comment period for the proposed regulation runs through Feb. 1.