The N.C. legislature approved two bills during April that affect North Carolina hunters, and Gov. Beverly Perdue has signed both into law.
One concerns crossbow permits and the other the use of tracking dogs to find wounded game.

Senate Bill 358 became effective April 29 after the N.C. House and Senate voted to approve the bill and Perdue signed it.

The crossbow law, which became effective immediately, lifted the requirement that a person obtain a permit from a county sheriff before purchasing or transferring ownership of a crossbow. These permits, identical to a pistol permit, usually cost $5.

The pistol permit requirement, however, remains in place.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission dropped the requirement a year ago that a person obtain a doctor's permit showing a physical handicap that would prevent that person from operating a traditional or compound bow, before the agency would issue a crossbow permit.

Crossbows are a legal method of hunting in North Carolina, permissible anytime bow-and-arrow hunting is allowed, which also means they can be used to hunt on Sundays during legal hunting seasons. 

House Bill 29 and Senate companion Bill 66, allow the use of a tracking dog to find wounded game animals until 11 p.m. and also allow a hunter to carry a .22-caliber pistol to dispatch that animal, even during archery seasons.
Previously, tracking dogs weren't permitted to find wounded game after dark, and pistols couldn't be used to dispatch deer wounded by archers.

This game-retrieval bill has been supported for several years by the N.C. Bowhunters Association. Tracking wounded game with dogs always has been legal during legal hunting hours.

Col. Dale Caveny, chief of the Commission's enforcement division, said the bill allows a .22-caliber pistol to be used to kill a wounded animal, even during archery-only season.

This bill becomes effective Oct. 1, 2011.

In addition, Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon) has introduced Senate Bill 571 to repeal the subsistence fishing-license waiver.

He called the waiver "fiscal insanity." It gave a free fishing license to people on Work First, Medicaid and food stamps. The problem with it is that information is privileged. So people have to go to the department of Social Services to get the information from them before presenting it to Walmart or wherever they get their fishing license."

Last year, the Commission granted the license waiver to almost 20,000 state residents. When the program started in 2007-08, the Commission issued 6,920 waivers.