Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature is all that stands between a huge expansion of Sunday hunting opportunities for North Carolina hunters. On Wednesday, the N.C. Senate passed by a 33-15 vote a compromise bill passed last week by the N.C. House.
The “Outdoor Heritage Act” would allow Sunday hunting with firearms on private land with landowner permission, extending the permission given to bowhunters several years ago. The change will be effective Oct. 1.
The bill did include some exceptions, including exempting Wake and Mecklenburg counties because of their population levels, hunting between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., hunting within 500 yards of a church or house not on the permitted property, hunting deer behind dogs and hunting waterfowl.
Individual counties can opt out of Sunday hunting in 2017 by passing local ordinances.
According to the Associated Press, McCrory’s office did not respond to requests seeking comment on whether he would sign the bill.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission approved a resolution in April backing an early version of the bill, saying Sunday hunting restriction “serves no purpose regarding conservation of North Carolina’s wildlife resources and their habitats.”
The bill also sets up an Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council and Outdoor Heritage Trust Fund to expand opportunities for outdoor activities “for future generations.” It also would suspend for two years the hunting privileges of people who repeatedly hunting on private property marked with no-trespassing or posted signs without written consent, and it defines bear cubs as weighing 75 pounds or less, and it prohibits fox hunting with dogs on Bladen Lakes State Forest from March 15 to June 15.