North Carolina Studies Sunday Hunting Issue

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The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is wrapping up a comprehensive study of the Sunday hunting issue and at the direction of the General Assembly will immediately begin a second, specific study of allowing Sunday hunting on a limited number of state game lands.

Currently in North Carolina, hunting on Sunday is prohibited by state statute except on some military installations where the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction. The ban has been in effect since 1869.

"At the request of Gov. Mike Easley, our agency has been coordinating a study to evaluate the attitudes and opinions of North Carolina citizens regarding hunting on Sundays," said Richard B. Hamilton, executive director of the Wildlife Resources Commission. "Our objective is to gather information that will assist the Governor and the General Assembly in determining whether any change in the Sunday hunting law is appropriate."

Any changes to the law restricting Sunday hunting must be made by the General Assembly; the Wildlife Resources Commission does not have the authority to legislate changes.

The public comment phase on Sunday hunting, as an overall issue, concludes Aug. 31. To include your viewpoints:

  • Comments may be registered online.
  • Written comments may be sent to Sunday Hunting Comments, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 1722 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1722

Responsive Management, Inc., in conjunction with Virginia Tech, was contracted by the Commission to gather input about Sunday hunting. The nationally recognized research firm, which specializes in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, met with citizens throughout North Carolina and conducted a statewide phone survey of the general public and a mail survey of hunters.

>"Because we realize that many citizens would like to express their views on Sunday hunting, in addition to the scientific public opinion study by Responsive Management and Virginia Tech, the Commission has also been collecting public comments," said Dain Palmer, human dimensions biologist with the Commission.

Among findings that will be presented to lawmakers are the potential impacts on state and local economies and management of game populations, and how hunting on Sundays could affect Commission operations.

At the direction of the General Assembly from action taken Thursday (July 27), the Commission will now conduct an additional study on allowing hunting on Sundays at a limited number of game lands.

The Commission will include the issue in January public hearings in each of its nine districts across the state. The issues to be evaluated include:

  • The suitability of individual game lands for Sunday hunting, including the status of its wildlife species, the proximity to population centers and the range of recreational opportunities available.
  • Methods of hunting, including the use of dogs.
  • Limiting hunting privileges to avoid possible interference with religious services.
  • Other non-hunting recreational uses, including horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, birding and biking, among others.

The study of Sunday hunting on select game lands will gather input from a wide variety of groups and individuals, including conservation organizations, businesses and private landowners.