RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announced recently that Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law the Outdoor Heritage Act (House Bill 640), which includes measures to promote wildlife-related recreation and youth involvement in outdoor activities across the state.
The legislation creates an Outdoor Heritage Council, along with a trust fund to engage youth in the outdoors, amends some wildlife regulations, and provides for Sunday hunting with firearms on private property with restrictions. The law takes effect Oct. 1. Details will be included in the 2015-2016 North Carolina Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest, which will be available Aug. 1.
In April, the Wildlife Commission adopted a resolution in support of the Outdoor Heritage Act because of its focus on private property rights, additional hunting opportunities and increased public involvement in outdoor activities, including fishing, horseback riding, camping, hiking and bird watching.
In a news statement yesterday, McCrory said the outdoors have “always been an integral part of our way of life and this bill has a number of measures that will improve the stewardship of our natural resources.”
The legislation allows for hunting on Sundays with the use of firearms on private property with written permission from the landowner, beginning Oct. 1, with the following provisions:
• Hunting on Sunday between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. is prohibited, except on controlled, licensed hunting preserves.
• Hunting of migratory game birds on Sunday is prohibited.
• The use of a firearm to take deer that are run or chased by dogs on Sunday is prohibited.
• Hunting on Sunday within 500 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure, or within 500 yards of a residence not owned by the landowner, is prohibited.
• Hunting on Sunday in a county having a population greater than 700,000 people is prohibited — affecting Wake and Mecklenburg counties only.
Since September 2010 North Carolinians have been hunting on Sundays on private lands by falconry and with archery equipment.
“Our opportunities to promote our outdoor heritage to future generations have never been greater nor more needed than at this time,” said state Rep. Jimmy Dixon, bill sponsor and a member of the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. “The Outdoor Heritage Act can help us accomplish that goal.”