A resolution before the Watauga County Board of Commissioners to ban Sunday hunting with firearms failed on February 21. During a public hearing on the proposed resolution, many county residents spoke against the ban.
Additionally, a letter from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Safari Club International was sent to the county commissioners in support of Sunday hunting with firearms on private property. No county commissioner ultimately supported the ban, and the resolution failed due to lack of motion and second.
In 2015, the Outdoor Heritage Act repealed North Carolina’s 145 year-old ban against hunting on Sunday with firearms on private property. The Outdoor Heritage Act was a priority for the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and since October 1, 2015, North Carolinians have hunted on private property on Sunday with various restrictions. Currently, hunting is prohibited between 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., within 500 yards of house of worship or residence not owned by the landowner, and within counties with populations larger than 700,000. Hunting migratory birds and hunting deer with dogs is also currently not allowed. A provision in the Outdoor Heritage Act allows counties to prohibit Sunday hunting beginning October 1, 2017.
Bow hunting and falconry on private land has been legal in North Carolina since September 2010. Any county resolution to prohibit Sunday hunting would not apply to archery or falconry. Sunday hunting by all methods of take is prohibited on public land in North Carolina.
Expanding Sunday hunting opportunities supports hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation efforts, increases conservation funding, and benefits local communities by increasing economic output and job creation. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is a member of the Sunday Hunting Coalition, which works to remove state restrictions on Sunday hunting.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?