A bill to allow Sunday hunting on private land in North Carolina passed the Senate 33-15 Wednesday, after a compromise with the House to add a midday ban on Sunday hunting with a firearm.
House Bill 640, titled the “Outdoor Heritage Act,” mostly lifts the age old-ban on Sunday hunting. Initially, the proposed bill had no time restrictions for that day. The compromised bill that passed and will be sent Gov. Pat McCrory does not allow hunting with a firearm between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Sundays to observe the time period most worship services take place.
Existing hunting preserves that are more than 500 yards from a place of worship are exempt from the Sunday morning time restriction. And any hunting within 500 yards of a place of worship is forbidden in the bill at all times.
Also prohibited on Sunday is the hunting of migratory birds or using dogs to chase down deer for the hunt.
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Counties with a population of 700,000 people or more – Wake and Mecklenburg counties – are still prohibited from Sunday hunting under the bill.
The The National Rifle Association supported the legislation and called it a victory for North Carolina hunters, in a statement Wednesday.
“This is a positive for step for the hunters of North Carolina,” said NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris Cox. “The Outdoor Heritage Act removes a 145 year-old ban that made it impossible for a number of Old North State hunters to enjoy our tradition of the great outdoors.”
However, Cox was not as thrilled with midday time restriction, saying the NRA would “address this misguided restriction and others in future legislative sessions.”
Supporters of the bill said that allowing hunting seven days a week would draw more tourism to North Carolina, and allow the state to join 39 other states in lifting the Sunday hunting ban.