The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is holding public hearings across the state beginning this week and ending September 28th. They will be considering changes in fishing, hunting, and trapping regulations. Some of the changes are very minor but some are not. The full list of proposed regulation changes can be found here.
For example, under current NCWRC regulations you are virtually prohibited from being on Game Lands with a pistol over .22 LR outside of certain hunting seasons. Given that all National Forests in North Carolina are part of the Game Lands program, this means you could well be in violation of wildlife regulations if you went hiking in Pisgah National Forest and carried concealed. Proposed regulations change H8 would change this.
H8. Allow individuals who possess a valid concealed handgun permit to carry that handgun on wildlife conservation areas, boating access areas, fishing access areas and game lands, except for these game lands (and any boating or fishing access areas on them) which are exempted at the request of the landowner: Buckhorn, Harris, Sutton Lake, Mayo, Hyco, Lee, Chatham, Pee Dee River north of U.S. 74, Butner-Falls, Jordan, Vance, Kerr Scott, Dupont, Bladen Lakes and that portion of R. Wayne Bailey-Caswell that is north of U.S. 158 and east of N.C. 119. Also, allow hunters who possess a valid concealed handgun permit to carry that handgun while dog training and during the deer archery and muzzleloader seasons on both public and private lands.
Thus, even if you don’t hunt, fish, or trap but are a concealed carry holder, you have a definite interest in these public hearings. The National Forests in North Carolina comprise over 1.2 million acres of land including over a half million acres each for western NC’s Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. That’s a lot of area to have excluded from where you can legally carry concealed.
If you can’t make the hearings, you can still submit comments by mail or online. The mail address is N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission at 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1701.