Legislation to expand Sunday hunting opportunities in North Carolina was filed on April 4. Two bills, introduced in the House and Senate aim to broaden the Sunday hunting advancements made in the 2015 Outdoor Heritage Act, which repealed the state’s 145 year-old ban against hunting on Sunday with firearms on private property.
Senate Bill 624 is sponsored by North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Senator John Alexander and Caucus members Senator Tom McInnis and Senator Danny Britt, and House Bill 559 is sponsored by Caucus Co-Chair Representative John Bell and Caucus member Representative Chris Millis.
Sunday hunting with firearms in North Carolina is presently permitted on private lands, with the written permission of the landowner. Sunday hunting is prohibited between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. within 500 yards of a place of worship or within 500 yards of a residence not owned by the landowner, and within counties with populations larger than 700,000. Hunting of migratory birds and hunting deer with dogs is also not currently allowed. Bowhunting and falconry on private land has been legal since September 2010.
The companion bills, which are both titled “Outdoor Heritage Enhanced,” would permit, subject to rules adopted by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, hunting on public lands and public waters as well as migratory bird hunting. Additionally, hunting between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. would be prohibited only if hunting occurs within 500 yards of a residence not owned by the landowner. The bar against hunting in counties with populations larger than 700,000 would also be removed.
CSF is a member of the Sunday Hunting Coalition, which works to remove state restrictions on Sunday hunting. Sunday hunting restrictions negatively affect hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation and, as a consequence, negatively impact conservation funding. Expanding Sunday hunting opportunities is a priority for the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and local communities across the state would benefit from increased economic output and job creation.
Eleven states currently restrict Sunday hunting in some capacity. Adjacent states South Carolina and Virginia allow Sunday hunting on private lands whereas Georgia and Tennessee have no restrictions on Sunday hunting.
North Carolina’s 1.63 million sportsmen and women support more than 35,000 jobs in the state and contribute more than $3.7 billion to the state’s economy.
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?