Sunday hunting in the living room

The 10,000-pound elephant has sat down in the living room of N.C. sportsmen and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.What’s that, you ask? Sunday hunting.

For many years, the idea of allowing Sunday hunting has been bandied about in this state. Originally, the ban (1889, we believe) was put in place to encourage people to behave themselves and put in some family time at least one day a week. As you might guess, the churches were for it. The Sunday hunting ban was part of N.C.’s “blue laws” (no alcohol sales, retail sales, etc.) during Sundays, which also pleased most Protestant church members, especially Baptists and Methodists.

I remember “blue laws,” and when they finally were broken by allowing Sunday gasoline sales to motorists. That seemed reasonable enough. But, alas, that favor was the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. Pretty soon the whole beast — mixed drinks, lap dances, ball games, etc. — had crawled in there, too.

Why, proponents argue, can’t we hunt Sunday if we’re allowed to throw back a shot, watch girls wearing pasties and G-strings dance on tables or have a beer at a Durham Bulls baseball game?

Here’s a few facts nobody seems to want to talk about:

• Sunday hunting will require restructuring seasons and bag limits, certainly for waterfowl, possibly for other species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gives N.C. waterfowl hunters 60 days from October to the end of January. Last season, for example, waterfowl season would have included 12 Sundays. Do you think the duck hunter who goes to church on Sunday is gonna sit still while his season gets paired down to 48 days?

• Proponents of Sunday hunting boast it’ll add 26 days to the entire hunting season (Sept 10-May 6 for 2005-06). How will that affect wildlife populations and will game biologists have to reduce bag limits or shorten seasons to take into account the extra pressure on game? Take wild turkeys, for example. Can they survive four more days (Sundays) of hunting during the spring season?

• What will be the success ratio of Sunday hunters? How much will the total harvest increase? Can all species withstand the extra pressure? No one knows.

• Extra pay for wildlife officers (they earn “discretionary” pay for weekend work). And will it mean taking officers off lake patrols to work hunting details or force the hiring of more officers, further decreasing the WRC’s operating budget (and increasing fees)?

• The WRC will pay $200,000 to a polling group to conduct a survey, following orders from Mike Easley and the state legislature, money sorely needed for other wildlife conservation projects.

• Easley and one legislator, Daniel McComas of Wilmington, allegedly were prompted by a petition from the N.C. Outdoors Sports Alliance. The petition, with 603 signees by Jan. 30, contained 130 names with no addresses, 57 out-of-state names, 18 with first name only and one guy with an N.C. address signed three times. So a little more than 1/3 of the petition’s names are suspect.

I’m usually a live-and-let-live type, but the thought of somebody else sitting in my deer stand Sunday kinda chaps my cookies.

Besides, as a guy at the New Bern public hearing said: “This’d really mess up my Sundays ’cause that’s when I put out my corn.”

JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month

Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Carolina Sportsman Magazine and CarolinaSportsman.com.

About Craig Holt 1374 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply