Sunday Hunting Approved For Certain NC Gamelands

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission adopted a proposal that would allow Sunday hunting on certain public gamelands. The NC General Assembly had amended the law that had prohibited hunting on Sunday in 2017. As part of that amendment, the NCWRC was given the power to regulate hunting with a firearm on state-managed gamelands per NCGS § 103-2.(a1). In their meeting on February 25th, they did just that (among other things).

45 gamelands that allowed hunting Monday through Saturday were changed to all seven days a week. Another six 3-day per week gamelands were changed to four days a week. That would be Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

These changes did come with restrictions. First, these changes only apply to the taking of mammals and upland game birds. Hunting migratory birds is still prohibited on Sunday statewide. The other changes were required to be consistent with NCGS § 103-2.(a1). They were:

  • Hunting with a firearm between 9:30am and 12:30pm is prohibited;
  • The use of a firearm to take deer that are run or chased by dogs is prohibited; and
  • There is no hunting with a firearm within 500 yards of a place of religious worship.

The justification for approving these changes were both state law and public input.

Based on seven in-person public meetings, two virtual public meetings, three
focus group meetings with stakeholders, an Agency staff retreat, discussions with
landowning partners, biological staff, and commissioners, and a follow up meeting with
stakeholders, the following criteria were used to helped evaluate the feasibility of Sunday
hunting on game lands: rural game lands that are not heavily used by non-hunters,
proximity to other game lands and public lands where hunting is prohibited, value to
unique properties that are important to user groups, avoid game lands where past conflict
has been a pattern. Given the results of the public input process, staff recommend that
Sunday hunting be allowed at the above game lands

The 3-day a week to 4-day a week gamelands are:

  • Bullard and Branch Hunting Preserve
  • Columbus County
  • Mitchell River
  • Perkins
  • Robeson
  • Sampson

The 6-day a week to every day of the week gamelands are:

  • Alcoa
  • Alligator River
  • Angola Bay
  • Bachelor Bay
  • Brinkleyville
  • Buffalo Cove
  • Cape Fear River Wetlands
  • Carteret County
  • Chatham
  • Chowan
  • Cold Mountain
  • Croatan
  • Currituck Banks
  • Dare
  • Elk Knob
  • Embro
  • Goose Creek
  • Gull Rock
  • Harris
  • Hyco
  • Juniper Creek
  • Lee
  • Light Ground Pocosin
  • Linwood
  • Lower Fishing Creek
  • Mayo
  • Nantahala
  • Needmore
  • New Lake
  • North River
  • Northwest River Marsh
  • Pee Dee River
  • Pisgah
  • Pond Mountain
  • Sandy Creek
  • Shocco Creek
  • South Mountains
  • Sutton Lake
  • Three Top Mountain
  • Thurmond Chatham
  • Tillery
  • Toxaway
  • Uwharrie
  • Van Swamp
  • William H. Silver

The Commission did vote to prohibit Sunday hunting for black bear on gamelands in the Coastal Bear Management Unit. They reasoned that they were already at their target population objective and more hunting pressure would have a negative impact.

Looking at the list above, the four US National Forests in North Carolina – Croatan, Nantahala, Pisgah, and Uwharrie – are all part of these 7-day hunting parcels. They comprise over 1.2 million acres of land that is now available to hunt every day of the week during an open season. That’s a lot of hunting land that just opened for Sunday hunting.