North Carolina’s long-standing ban on Sunday hunting with guns ended on Wednesday when Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law HB 640, “The Outdoor Heritage Act”, which will take effect Oct. 1.

The N.C. Senate and N.C. House worked out a compromise between their versions of the bill and passed them in the last two weeks of June.

The bill would allow Sunday hunting with firearms on private land with landowner permission, extending the permission given to bowhunters several years ago. The bill did include some exceptions, including exempting Wake and Mecklenburg counties because of their population levels, prohibiting hunting between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, 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.

"The outdoors has 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," McCrory said in a release, making no direct reference to the Sunday hunting changes.

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.”