The Battle for Sunday Hunting in North Carolina

The Battle for Sunday Hunting in North Carolina

sunday_hunting_fNorth Carolina legislators in the Senate are poised to vote on a bill that would, among other things, legalize gun hunting on private lands on Sundays. House Bill 640, known as the Outdoor Heritage Act, passed the House this week with a vote of 83-35. The bill would also establish a trust fund dedicated to funding outdoor-related activities for those under 16. The bill also includes a "three strikes" rule that would suspend the license of any hunter convicted of three hunting-related violations.

It's not a perfect bill, admits Sunday hunting advocate CJ Flay, but it's a great start. Some types of hunting are excluded from the bill. Waterfowl hunting would not be allowed on Sundays. Despite that stipulation, the bill has the backing of Delta Waterfowl, a wetlands conservation and hunting advocacy group. Flay says duck hunters were purposefully omitted from Sunday hunting because the bill as written only allows hunting on private land.


"We have a lot of public water in North Carolina and since the US Fish and Wildlife Service allocates a 60-day season, a lot of hunters would lose opportunity because they would not be allowed to hunt on Sundays," says Flay, a school teacher from Ronda, North Carolina. "Representatives of Delta Waterfowl want to introduce a separate bill specifically addressing waterfowl in the future if H640 passes."



Hunting with all types of dogs would also be prohibited. That was at the request of the state deer hound lobby, which has been and remains staunchly opposed to any additional opportunities for Sunday hunting. Ironically, says Flay, hunters can train their deer dogs on Sundays, but they can't actually shoot a deer.


"From what I've read, running deer with dogs falls under the state's definition of hunting, so I find it hypocritical the hound lobby is opposed to Sunday hunting for the rest of us," he adds.


A number of other groups have opposed any effort to overturn the current ban, including horseback riders and religious organizations, which suggest that Sunday should be a day of rest. The bill would prohibit hunting within 300 yards of a church on Sundays.

"We can do everything else on Sunday. Why is hunting any different?" wonders Flay.

The North Carolina Farm Bureau also supports efforts to overturn the Sunday hunting ban. Farm bureaus in other states, Virginia and Pennsylvania, for example, have been outspoken in their opposition to Sunday hunting and have been in part responsible for delaying or killing legislation legalizing it.

Even with vocal opposition from some groups, H640 passed in the state House of Representatives this week. The strong support is due in part to a resolution adopted by the Wildlife Resources Commission that supports lifting the archaic ban. Various national groups like the NRA and the United States Sportsmen's Alliance have also been working behind the scenes to push through the bill, as well. Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops have also stated their support, so have dozens of other state and national organizations.

The legislation that will now move to the Senate still does not allow Sunday hunting in Wake and Mecklenburg, and bans hunting from within 500 yards of a church and nearby homes.

Similar legislation was signed into law in Virginia last year, allowing Sunday hunting on private land for the first time in modern history. None of the dire predictions suggested by horseback riders, the deer hound lobby or the farm bureau came true.

Currently, 11 states have total or partial bans on Sunday hunting. North Carolina legalized bow hunting on Sundays in 2010.

"If you live or hunt in North Carolina, call your local representative and urge them to vote in favor of H640," says Flay, administrator of a Facebook page called Legalize North Carolina Sunday Hunting For All.

Recommended for You

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench. Ammo

Roll Your Own: Best Reloading Supplies

David Draper - April 19, 2019

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench.

Steiner Predator AF Binoculars: Putting The Porro Back in Quality Binoculars Optics

Steiner Predator AF Binoculars: Quality at the Right Price

Joe Arterburn - May 28, 2019

Steiner Predator AF Binoculars: Putting The Porro Back in Quality Binoculars

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather. Clothing

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 10: Snowbound Chamois

Host Brittany Boddington gets more than she bargained for on what turned out to be a grueling, snowbound and extremely physical hunt for chamois in Romania's Carpathian mountains.

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the Hunting

The Ultimate Hunting Trailers

WA Staff

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the "house on wheels" variety that most...

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites. Guns

8 Great Youth Guns Designed for Growing Hunters

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 18, 2016

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites.

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

See More Stories

More News

 Illustration by Sean Delonas
A new bill may provide help in the fight against the fatal News

CWD Funding Dries Up

David Hart - July 13, 2018

Illustration by Sean Delonas A new bill may provide help in the fight against the fatal

We've lost 2.2 million hunters since 2011. Here's how to help save hunting.
 Photo Credit: Matt News

The Hunter Decline and How We Can Fix It

Andrew McKean - August 20, 2018

We've lost 2.2 million hunters since 2011. Here's how to help save hunting. Photo Credit:...

I was at my desk in the early spring of 2011 when I got a call from a sports agent looking for News

Justin Tuck: The NFL Bowhunter

Mike Carney - June 13, 2016

I was at my desk in the early spring of 2011 when I got a call from a sports agent looking for

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×