Proposal Would Allow Sunday Hunting
Special Report - December 18, 2008
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) has proposed a new rule change that would roll back portions of a longstanding prohibition against Sunday hunting in North Carolina. A 140-year-old state law directs, “If any person shall, except in defense of his own property, hunt on Sunday, having with him a shotgun, rifle, or pistol, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.” Although the law seemingly prohibits hunting with a gun on Sunday, it has been applied generally to all forms of hunting. In the December 1, 2008 issue of the North Carolina Register, however, the WRC put forth an administrative rule change that would authorize bow hunting and falconry on Sunday.
North Carolina Family Policy Council director of government relations John Rustin expressed concerns that the WRC’s proposal could represent the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent.” “The Wildlife Resources Commission has been pushing for years to repeal the ban on Sunday hunting, and this proposal may be an incremental step in that direction. If certain forms of hunting are allowed on Sunday, a precedent is set,” Rustin said, “and then it becomes much easier to come back later to repeal the ban altogether.”
Despite reservations about the proposal, Rustin was quick to point out that the Council does not oppose hunting. “The North Carolina Family Policy Council fully supports the right of citizens to hunt, but we also believe the ban on Sunday hunting serves a valuable purpose,” Rustin continued. “The Sunday hunting ban safeguards church services from the disruption of gunfire, it protects individuals and families who enjoy outdoor activities on Sunday, it gives wildlife and nature a day of rest from the pressures of hunting, and it encourages families to spend more time together by reducing the enticement to hunt on Sunday.”
In 2006, the WRC commissioned an extensive study of public opinion and found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of North Carolinians oppose hunting on Sunday. A survey of licensed hunters revealed that 53 percent oppose Sunday hunting, while 38 percent support it.
The WRC has scheduled nine public hearings to receive input from citizens across the state on this and a variety of other proposed rule changes. Each of the following hearings will take place at 7:00 p.m. on the date listed, and the Commission will accept comments on the proposed rules through January 30, 2009.
- January 5, 2009; Bladen Community College; Dublin, NC
- January 7, 2009; Graham High School Auditorium; Graham, NC
- January 8, 2009; South Stanley High School; Norwood, NC
- January 13, 2009; Morganton Municipal Auditorium; Morganton, NC
- January 14, 2009; Southwestern Community College; Sylva, NC
- January 15, 2009; Boonville, Starmount High School; Boonville, NC
- January 20, 2009; Edenton, Swain Auditorium; Edenton, NC
- January 21, 2009; Craven County Courthouse, New Bern, NC
- January 22, 2009; Brown Auditorium, Nash Comm. College; Rocky Mount, NC
You may download additional information about the proposed rule changes and how to submit comments to the Commission at the WRC website.
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.