September 19, 2020

North Carolina Debates the Sunday Hunting Issues

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I believe there are only seven states remaining that still have a ban on Sunday hunting. The topic in those states becomes heated when someone proposes opening the woods up to hunting on Sundays. The reasons are as varied as the species of black flies.

North Carolina is no exception. Once they had Sunday hunting and then it was overturned and hunting on that day hasn’t occurred since 1869. Efforts have been underway for several years to get Legislators to drop that ban.

North Carolina appears to be taking a detailed and democratic approach in dealing with a complex and passionate controversy. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, first decided to begin a series of public hearings across the entire state to include all nine wildlife management districts. The meetings would be to gather input on all proposed changes to hunting, fishing and trapping laws but the Sunday hunting issue took center stage.

At the request of Governor Easley, the Wildlife Commission has been instructed to conduct a study, as part of House Bill 505. Before this bill, the one that will allow Sunday hunting if passed, is voted on in the house, the Governor wants a complete study with input from what appears to be everybody, every business, every church, you name it, I think it is on the list.

HB505 states in part that the Wildlife Commission,

“shall study the issue of allowing hunting on Sundays at a limited number of State game lands.”

The first of that study came when Wildlife Commissioners conducted public hearings across the state. Also as part of the study, the NCWRC was also instructed to consider the following items and gather data, feedback and comments.

* “Individual game land suitability for Sunday hunting, including the status of resident wildlife species, proximity to population centers, and range of recreational opportunities available.

* Allowable hunting activities, including methods of taking and the use of dogs.

* Limiting hunting privileges to avoid conflict with religious services.

* The needs of persons pursuing nonhunting outdoor recreational activities, including private landowners, family picnics, hiking, canoeing, birding, horseback riding, climbing, and biking.”

In looking at all of these items on there list, the Commission was told to,

obtain input from “representatives of interested parties,” including landowners, various conservation organizations, agricultural groups, hunting clubs, shooting preserve operators, religious organizations and other recreational entities

The results of this study are to be presented to a Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations by March 15, 2006.

There will always be opposing views to the Sunday hunting issue as there was in the past about stores being open on Sundays and other sporting events being played on that day. Most arguements from both sides of the aisle are bonafide and legitimate. Some are lame.

All factors need to be considered and a democratic process that isn’t controlled by money and lawyers, needs to be the ruling factor. It is up to the majority of citizens as to what they want for their state.

It appears to me, and I’m sure the study being conducted has some flaws and will not create perfect results, that North Carolina has begun a process that is fair and balanced. The end result, which will be no different than results derived from living in a democracy, is some people will be happy, some people will not, and some people will not care. Hopefully, the advantages, no matter which side of the issue you sit on, will outweigh the disadvantages. And that is how our system works.

Tom Remington

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