North Carolina to Allow Some Public Land Hunting on Sundays

News for Immediate Release
March 12, 2021
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers members advocated for increased hunter opportunity, access

RALEIGH, N.C. – Public lands hunters in the Tar Heel state are celebrating following a vote by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to open public game lands in the state, including all of the state’s national forests, to hunting on Sundays for the first time.

The commission’s action overturns regulations dating back to 1869 that banned all hunting on Sundays in the state. The new rule achieves parity with current rules enforced on private lands in North Carolina. Hunters remain subject to specific restrictions under the rule, including a prohibition on hunting migratory birds and hunting within 500 yards of a place of worship.  

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers' North Carolina chapter marshalled sportsmen and women in support of the proposed rule changes. BHA North Carolina Chapter Chair Luke Weingarten acknowledged the chapter’s efforts and commended the commission’s action.

“I am incredibly proud of and humbled by BHA membership in North Carolina,” said Weingarten, who lives in Raleigh. “Our members filled out surveys, spoke with friends and family, and showed up at every public meeting across the state sporting a smile and their Public Land Owner t-shirts. With knowledge and respect, BHAers stood to be counted. They made their voices heard and they made a difference.

"While we still have a ways to go on Sunday hunting in North Carolina, NC BHA wholeheartedly commends the Wildlife Resources Commission members for their diligent and thoughtful work,” Weingarten continued. “The new rules adopted for the 2021-2022 season are a significant step forward and are a tremendous win for access and opportunity in our state. For some, this rule change functionally doubles their time in the woods, and for many others it significantly enhances their opportunity to pass on our hunting heritage to current and future generations.”

Weingarten stated: “The commissioners showed their support for sportsmen and women by opening our public lands to hunting on Sundays. However, nothing happens by accident – things happen through sustained effort and collaboration.”

North Carolinian T. Edward Nickens, a member of BHA’s North American board of directors, called the commission’s ruling a win for grassroots advocacy and sound science.

“This issue was about Sunday hunting, yes, but it was equally about aligning policy with science and focusing many voices into a single chorus for action,” Nickens said. “It’s a win for those who were constrained by the old laws. But let’s hope it resonates beyond this one day per week into a new era of policymakers doing right by the facts 24/7.”

In 2019, BHA’s Pennsylvania chapter helped advance into law legislation allowing some hunting on Sundays in the state for the first time, beginning with the 2020-21 season.

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