Hunting with dogs is a long-term tradition for many North Carolina outdoorsmen, but controversy has surrounded this type of hunting for some time. The Eastern Carolina Houndsmen Alliance (ECHA) would like to remind hunters and landowners that killing a hunting dog is a felony, even if the dog is on land it shouldn’t be.

Audrie Inscoe is a member of the ECHA and said the killing of hunting dogs is a bigger problem than many people realize. 

“It definitely happens. One of the more recent cases involves a military police officer who killed two dogs in the Croatan National Forest in November,” she said.¬†

Inscoe was referring to the case of Corporal Jeremy Edge of Jacksonville, who authorities allege killed two American fox hounds, cut off their tracking collars, then buried the collars in mud.

Edge has been charged with two counts of felony cruelty to animals, two counts of misdemeanor larceny, two counts of misdemeanor injury to personal property, and two counts of misdemeanor removal of an electronic tracking collar.

Another case also happened in November, according to the NCWRC and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. In this instance, Greenville’s Robert John Gnan allegedly admitted to shooting a hunting dog while he was bear hunting. The dog belonged to Billy Waters of Vanceboro.

Waters told officers that he was gathered with some other hunters next to a road, and were attempting to corral their hunting dogs when a bear crossed the road and went onto an adjoining¬† property. The dog’s GPS tracking collar showed it in the vicinity, and after Waters’ group heard a series of gunshots, the tracking collar remained still.

“The hunters heard a series of shots over several minutes. The dog didn’t come back,” said Beaufort County Chief Deputy Charlie Rose.

The ECHA doesn’t exist to help the rogue dog hunters, said Inscoe.

“We are here to ensure everyone does things the right way, and to educate people on what it really means to hunt with dogs. These dogs are our kids; they are our family. That’s the way ethical dog hunters feel. We aren’t here to protect anyone doing things the wrong way. When we find out that dog hunters are doing things wrong, we do what we can to correct that behavior,” she said.

Inscoe also said the ECHA recently sat down with a gentleman in Beaufort County who was pushing for a ban on hunting with dogs. Flareups between dog hunters and non-dog hunters are frequent, but Inscoe said the meeting went well.

“We all calmly heard each other out, and at the end of the meeting, he not only no longer wanted to ban dog hunting, he became a member of the ECHA,” she said.

“Many people don’t realize this, but there are only about seven states that still allow hunting with dogs. Other proposals to ban it in North Carolina are coming. We need to stand together – all hunters – and drop the “us vs. them” mentality, and make sure we don’t lose this part of our hunting heritage,” said Inscoe.

Click here to learn more about the Eastern Carolina Houndsmen Alliance.