Outdoor Heritage Act Passes NC Senate, Onto Governor

latinamericajrtrnghnt4evr112113Safari Club International and North Carolina hunters notched a victory on June 24 when the North Carolina Senate gave final legislative approval for Sunday hunting with firearms. The Conference Report for the Outdoor Heritage Act (HB 640) was adopted by the Senate with a vote of 33-15 and will now head to the desk of Governor Pat McCrory for his consideration. He has ten days to sign the bill into law.

If signed by Governor McCrory, the legislation would allow for hunting on Sundays with the use of firearms on private property with written permission beginning on October 1, 2015, but includes various prohibitions. The Outdoor Heritage Act prohibits hunting with firearms on private property between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m on Sundays, hunting of migratory birds, and hunting within 500 yards of a place of worship, among others.

Hunting with firearms on Sundays has been banned since the late 1800’s in North Carolina, though archery hunting on private lands has been allowed on Sundays since 2010. It is estimated that expanding seven-day hunting would contribute an additional $311 million in total economic output, adding 3,600 jobs with over $94 million in wages.

In addition to increasing opportunities for Sunday hunting, the Outdoor Heritage Act includes provisions to increase opportunities for persons under 16 years old to engage in a multitude of outdoor recreational activities by establishing the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Trust Fund. HB 640 also implements a “three strikes” rule for trespassers, reviews suspension of hunting privileges for negligent hunters, reduces liability for landowners who allow hunters to retrieve their dogs, and others.

Expanding Sunday hunting to include firearms is a critical measure for any state to continue to recruit and retain hunters. This legislation will ensure that youth and working families in North Carolina have additional opportunities to hunt on the weekends and will greatly contribute to the continuation of North Carolina’s sportsmen’s heritage as well as the local and state economies.

 

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