The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has compiled a list of bills that will impact fish and game in the state. Other than the Castle Doctrine and the repeal of the crossbow purchase permit requirement, the biggest thing I see in this list is that the wild boar has been reclassified as feral swine.
While the Russian Boars that were imported to western North Carolina at the beginning of the 20th Century and their descendents are still out there, I imagine that interbreeding with domestic swine has diluted the purity of that bloodline to the point where they are no longer any different than your run of the mill wild hog. I haven’t read the testimony on the bill that changed the law but think that is probably the case.
Senate Bill 109 / Session Law 2011-15 “Spending Cuts for the Current Fiscal Year”
Required N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to return $3 million in 2010-11 funding.
House Bill 200 / Session Law 2011-145 “Appropriations Act of 2011”
Repeals current sales tax formula for Wildlife Resources Commission funding and appropriates $18 million for the 2011-2012 fiscal year for Commission operations. Also requires a continuation review for the Conservation Education section.
Senate Bill 686 / Session Law 2011-176 “2011 Appointment Bill”
Appoints the following to the Wildlife Resources Commission: Wendell Murphy, Jr., Thomas Berry, Mark Craig, Doc Thurston, John Clark, John Coley, Durwood Laughinghouse, Mitch St.Clair.
House Bill 762 / Session Law 2011-231 “Landowner Protection Act”
Defines written permission to hunt/fish on posted land as being signed and dated by the landowner/lessee/agent within the past twelve months. If permission has been granted to a hunt club, both permission and a membership must be on the person. Allows for an affirmative defense if someone had written permission but did not have it on their person. Allows for purple paint to be used for posting land. Wildlife officers are enabled to enforce trespass on site.
House Bill 29 / Session Law 2011-22 “Retrieval of Big Game”
A hunter may use a portable light source and a single dog on a leash to assist the hunter in retrieving a dead or wounded big game animal. A hunter may dispatch a wounded big game animal using only a .22-caliber rimfire pistol, archery equipment or a handgun legal for that season. Pursuit and retrieval may occur between 30 minutes after sunset and 11:00 p.m., but may not be accomplished using a motorized vehicle.
Senate Bill 406 / Session Law 2011-56 “Repeal Crossbow Purchase Permit Requirement”
Repeals the requirement that a person obtain a permit to receive, sell, purchase or otherwise transfer a crossbow.
House Bill 62 / Session Law 2011-24 “Prohibit Boylston Creek Reclassification”
Prohibits the rule to change the water quality classification to “trout waters” on Boylston Creek from becoming effective.
Senate Bill 68 / Session Law 2011-16 “Robeson Hunting and Fishing”
Prohibits hunting and fishing on the property of another without written permission in Robeson County.
House Bill 432 / Session Law 2011-369 “Swine in Transport/Regulate Feral Swine”
Prohibits the transportation of live swine, unless the swine has an official form of identification approved by the State Veterinarian. Also classifies all free-ranging mammals of the species Sus scrofa as feral swine, while deleting the definition of wild boar. Repeals the wild boar hunting license and defines feral swine as a non-game animal. Allows the Wildlife Resources Commission to adopt rules prescribing season and the manner of taking of wild animals and wild birds with the use of artificial light and electronic calls. Deletes the size restriction on pistols for non-game species, rabbits, squirrels, opossum, raccoons and fur-bearing animals. Repeals the requirement of wearing a hunter orange cap or garment in the hunting of feral swine. Makes it unlawful to remove feral swine from a trap, or transport it, while it is still alive.
Senate Bill 46 / Session Law 2011-32 “Surry Fox and Coyote Taking Season”
Establishes an open season for taking foxes and coyotes with lawful weapons or traps from October 15 through March 1 of each year. Applies only to Surry and Alleghany counties.
Senate Bill 261 / Session Law 2011-40 “Chowan Fox Seasons”
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, there is an open season for taking foxes with weapons and by trapping during the trapping season set by the Wildlife Resources Commission each year, with no tagging requirements prior to or after sale. No bag limit applies to foxes taken under this act.
House Bill 463 / Session Law 2011-136 “Rockingham/Taking of Foxes”
Establishes an open season on taking foxes with firearms, bow and arrow, or crossbow during any open small game season each year. Establishes an open season for taking foxes by trapping from November 1 through February 28 of each year. No bag limit applies to foxes taken under this act. No tags shall be required for the sale of the fur of foxes taken in accordance with this act.
House Bill 755 / Session Law 2011-380 “Study Fox Laws”
The Wildlife Resources Commission shall undertake a study of fox and coyote populations in the State and recommend management methods and controls designed to ensure statewide conservation of fox populations while managing adverse effects of coyote populations. In conducting the study, the Wildlife Resources Commission shall solicit input from interested stakeholders, including hunters, trappers, controlled hunting preserve operators, public health authorities, local governments, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and private landowners. The Wildlife Resources Commission shall complete its study by April 1, 2012, and submit a report, including any proposed legislation, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Chairs of the House Committee on Agriculture, and the Chairs of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources.
House Bill 650 / Session Law 2011-268 “Amend Various Gun Laws/Castle Doctrine”
Amends numerous State laws related to the ownership and possession of guns. It would also expand the “Castle Doctrine” to apply to a motor vehicle or the workplace.
House Bill 350 / Session Law 2011-274 “Property Tax Conformity for Conservation Land”
Clarifies and modifies the tax exemption for real property for educational and scientific purposes as a protected natural area by listing certain, enumerated conservation purposes. Creates a 5-year rollback for avoided taxes if conservation property is no longer used for conservation purposes, is used to generate income inconsistent with conservation, or is sold or transferred without an easement requiring perpetual use of the listed conservation purposes and without a prohibition on income generation. Expressly aligns definitions for educational and scientific purposes with the property tax exemption for property used for educational and scientific purposes. Requires, as does the income tax credit for real property donations for conservation purposes, that the entity owning the property must be “organized to receive and administer lands for conservation purposes”. Adds the requirement that property qualifying under this exemption either not earn income or only earn income that is merely incidental to and not inconsistent with conservation purposes.
House Bill 159 / Session Law 2011-35 “Military Service Notation on Licenses”
Requires the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to make a notation on a North Carolina driver’s license showing a license holder’s military veteran status.
House Bill 407 / Session Law 2011-68 “Modify ATV Helmet Use Requirements”
Amends the ATV helmet law by requiring people 18 years old and over to only wear a helmet and safety gear when on a public street or highway or public vehicular area. Mandatory helmet and eye protection for under 18 years of age both on and off road.