The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted legislation that enhances opportunities to hunt on Sundays. The legislation provides immediate changes for hunters on private lands and gives authority to the Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission) and other public landowners to implement new options for Sunday hunting on public lands.
Under the new law, hunters may hunt within 500 yards of a residence, potentially opening millions of acres of private land previously off-limits to Sunday hunters. Hunters may not hunt within 500 yards of a place of religious worship, nor hunt deer with the use of dogs. Shooting hours remain unchanged, which means private lands may be hunted for wild animals and upland game birds with a firearm on Sunday prior to 9:30 a.m. and after 12:30 p.m. Controlled hunting preserves are not restricted during this time if they are licensed pursuant to G.S. 113.273(g).
Under the new law, public land managers, including the Commission, may authorize hunting on Sundays with a firearm on the public lands for which they have jurisdiction. If public land managers allow Sunday hunting on their lands, hunters still are prohibited from hunting with a firearm between 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., from hunting deer with the use of dogs and from hunting within 500 yards of a place of worship.
Sunday hunting on the Commission’s game lands remains prohibited. Approximately 1.5 million acres of approximately 2 million acres enrolled in the Commission game land program are owned by corporate and federal partners. The Commission will implement a collaborative and inclusive process of evaluating options and opportunities to hunt on Sundays with a firearm on its game lands after carefully considering landowner and user-group perspectives.