Sunday hunting laws loosen

A new state law will expand hunters’ ability to pursue their sport on Sundays.

The law, Outdoor Heritage Enhanced, increases opportunities to hunt wild animals and upland game birds on private lands and allows the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and other public land managers to implement new options for Sunday hunting on private lands. However, Sunday hunting for migratory birds such as waterfowl is still prohibited.

On private lands, Sunday hunters may now hunt within 500 yards of residences, but they may not hunt within 500 yards of a place of religious worship or hunt deer with dogs. Shooting hours are still 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., though controlled hunting preserves may have longer hours.

While Sunday hunting on Wildlife Commission game lands is still prohibited, the Commission now has the ability to authorize Sunday hunting on their lands from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at least 500 yards from a place of religious worship. As on private land, no hunting of deer with dogs would be allowed.

The Wildlife Commission plans to work with its governmental, private and corporate partners to determine the interest level in allowing Sunday hunting on its approximately 1.5 million acres of game lands.

Similarly, Sunday hunting of migratory birds on Wildlife Commission land is still prohibited but the rules are subject to change after March 1, 2018. To allow such hunting, the Wildlife Commission would have to conduct a study examining biological, resource management, economic and social impacts of hunting migratory birds on Sundays.

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