Contact: John Culclasure, Southeastern States Assistant Director
On October 21, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources (WRC) Commission (Commission) voted to move forward with rulemaking to allow Sunday hunting on 55 Game Lands.
After undertaking a comprehensive public input process over the course of this year, Commissioners supported staff recommendations to present the rule proposal to the public during the upcoming rulemaking cycle. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and partners submitted a letter earlier this month supporting the proposal.
The public comment period will run from December 1, 2020 to February 1, 2021. Public meetings will be held in January, and the Commission will consider the rule for final adoption in February. If approved, Sunday hunting would be allowed in time for the fall hunting seasons on more than 1.6 million acres enrolled in the Game Lands System across the state.
Opening Sunday hunting on public lands has been a top priority for CSF in the Tar Heel State.
Following the success of private lands Sunday hunting enabled through the Outdoor Heritage Act in 2015, CSF and members of the Sunday Hunting Coalition worked with the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to pass the Outdoor Heritage Enhanced Act of 2017 which transferred regulatory authority for public lands Sunday hunting from the legislature to the WRC. No Game Lands are currently open for Sunday hunting.
CSF is grateful for the work of the WRC Commissioners and staff in advancing the rule proposal and is excited about the prospect of increased opportunities for hunters in 2021 to support conservation funding; recruitment, retention and reactivation efforts; and access parity with other Game Lands users.
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?