Contact your State Senator to express your opposition
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
March 14, 2013
RALEIGH — Officials entrusted with the care of wildlife in North Carolina are taking aim at the Lord’s Day, joining some lawmakers who hope to overturn the state’s 144-year-old Sunday hunting ban.
“We recognize that there is not complete uniformity on how the Lord’s Day or the Sabbath Day should be observed. However, I do believe that I can say with some authority that the vast majority of Christians contend that both man and beast must have at least one day in seven for rest,” Christian Action League Executive Director Mark Creech told the N.C. Wildlife Commission on Wednesday, citing the Fourth Commandment. “This principle of life not only helps mankind, but allows nature itself a reprieve from man’s use of the earth.”
Nonetheless, the Commission, which began allowing bow hunting on Sunday in 2010, resolved to support Senate Bill 224 filed by Sen. E.S. Newton (R-Johnston), which would open the door to Sunday hunting with firearms on private land. The Commission’s voice vote on Thursday appeared to be unanimous, the Rev. Creech said.
He found particularly puzzling the Commission’s contention in its resolution that “the current prohibition on Sunday hunting serves no purpose with regards to conservation of North Carolina’s wildlife resources and their habitats.”
“Are they saying the number of animals taken would not increase if we add another day of hunting each week?” he asked. “I can’t imagine that we could possibly go from six days of hunting to seven without increasing the number of animals killed, which would obviously affect conservation of resources.”
He pointed out that the Commission’s page-long resolution, which cited efforts to recruit new hunters and retain current ones by doubling weekend hunting opportunities, ignored the organization’s own 2006 survey results. That poll, part of a $143,000 study, found that 65 percent of Tar Heel residents oppose Sunday hunting, with most “strongly opposed.” In fact, only 25 percent supported it. Even among hunters, 53 percent opposed hunting on Sunday and only 38 percent were in favor.
Further, the study showed that some three dozen new game wardens would need to be hired at a cost of more than $5.5 million and that even if only half the number were hired, it’s unlikely that Sunday hunting would cause license sales to increase enough to cover the added expense, especially since hunters surveyed said they would not be willing to pay more for licenses to help cover the cost of Sunday hunting.
Dr. Creech said he was not surprised by the Sunday hunting bill, nor the Commission’s support of it as the push for hunting on the Lord’s Day has gained strength since the door was opened to bow hunters three years ago. He said hunting on Sunday, whether on private property or having been given permission by a landowner, poses a special kind of danger, especially around the state’s rural churches.
Showing the Wildlife Resources Commission members a photo of bullet hole in the sanctuary wall of a Johnston County church, Dr. Creech said the poor aim of hunters had sent the bullet through the door of the church’s left wing and across a path of pews at head level.
“One can only imagine the tragic scenario if this had happened during any period of worship or other meetings on Sunday when parishioners would have been present and sitting on those very pews,” he said. “Someone would have possibly been critically injured or mortally wounded.”
He said Sunday hunting poses a threat to the serenity and safety that rural church bodies across the state have traditionally enjoyed on the Lord’s Day.
Although the WRC passed its resolution in support of Sunday Hunting, it also passed a motion from member Ray White charging the Commission’s executive director to work with the Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to try to correct a problem created by the bill. According to White’s motion, waterfowl seasons are set through a framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and for more than 10 years, North Carolina has received “compensatory” days to offset the loss of hunting days associated with the prohibition of hunting on Sundays. If S 224 were passed and North Carolina hunters on private lands were allowed to hunt on Sundays and the compensatory days thus not alloted, waterfowl hunters who use public trust waters such as sounds, creeks, rivers and tributaries (and therefore won’t be able to hunt on Sundays) would be penalized in that they would lose a significant portion of their season. White said he was not advocating any specific change to the bill, but simply asking that the issue be addressed.
According to the WRC, private land includes “land not owned or controlled by a unit of government (federal, state or local). Property owned by persons, businesses and corporations is considered private. Public lands include game lands, federal refuges, city and county properties.”
Senate Bill 224 has been referred to the Committee on Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources.
Take Christian Action:
Contact your North Carolina Senator and urge him or her to oppose S 224 – Sunday Hunting on Private Land. You may send an email to your Senator simply by clicking here.