By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
DURHAM — New Wildlife Resources Commission regulations that allow bow hunters to take aim on Sundays took effect when the General Assembly ended its session without acting on the rules. But it may not be too late for communities to take aim at the controversial decree.
“There’s always next year, and if enough local governments take a stand opposing Sunday hunting and let their state legislators know, this could be reversed,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We urge local boards to follow the example set by commissioners in Durham and Person counties.”
In early May, the Durham Commission passed a resolution going on record “opposing implementation of the N.C. Wildlife Commission’s regulatory recommendation to allow bow hunting on private lands on Sundays,” and forwarded it to their representatives in Raleigh.
Michael Page, the board’s chairman, said members had heard from citizens who did not like the idea of hunting on Sunday.
“We also knew that Sunday is typically a day for more leisure activities, more types of recreation and we wanted to preserve that,” he said, adding that the resolution did raise the ire of at least one property owner who phoned him to express disappointment.
According to minutes of the May 10 meeting, Rep. W.A. Wilkins (D-Durham) had requested the county government’s view on the issue.
The resolution, which passed unanimously, said allowing bow hunting on Sundays raises “broad safety concerns, especially among persons living in urban counties such as Durham County.”
Commissioner Becky Heron urged members of the public at the meeting to contact their legislators individually to oppose the new rule.
Person County’s resolution, passed a week later, was not unanimous, as Commissioner Ray Jeffers said land owners should be able to choose whether or not their property is used for Sunday hunting. But like Durham’s, it cited “broad safety concerns” and asked that no changes be implemented that would “encourage an extension in the number of days of the hunting season.”
Person County is also in Wilkins’ district.
“We were disappointed that lawmakers let pass an opportunity to keep the “Lord’s Day” hunt free and instead allowed the WRC to undermine a century-old prohibition of Sunday hunting,” said the Rev. Creech. “We would hope that if enough communities formally speak out against this rule that new legislation could be passed to negate it.”
Rep. Tim Spear (D-Chowan) and Rep. Dewey Hill (D-Brunswick) sponsored House Bill 1930 to do just that last session, but the bill was referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House where it never got a hearing. Rep. Cullie Tarleton’s bill (H 1696), which would have allowed Watauga County to hold a referendum on the issue passed the house but died in the Senate.
Take Christian Action: Contact your local City Council or Board of County Commissioners and ask them to pass a resolution against the new Wildlife Resources Commission regulations that allow for bow hunting and falconry on Sundays. Below is a sample resolution prepared by the Christian Action League, which can be used as a model. Make sure any resolution approved is forwarded to your legislators in advance of the session set to begin in January 2011.
Resolution on Sunday Hunting
Model Resolution by the Christian Action League
WHEREAS, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in 2009 chose to allow for Sunday bow hunting and falconry on private lands – ending nearly a century and a half of no hunting in the Tar Heel state on Sundays; and
WHEREAS, this decision by the Wildlife Resources Commission received sufficient letters in protest requiring a stay be placed on their rules change to allow for the North Carolina General Assembly to respond; and
WHEREAS, the legislature did not respond in the 2010 session, despite the fact a bill was introduced (HB 1930 – Repeal Rule Change/Sunday Hunting) that would have given the people of North Carolina the opportunity to vote on this measure through their representatives; and
WHEREAS, the failure of the legislature to even allow HB 1930 to be heard resulted in the Wildlife Resources Commission’s rule change for Sunday bow hunting and falconry to become law; and
WHEREAS, this decision to allow for Sunday bow hunting and falconry was made by an unelected body and has put into place a measure that is likely to be progressive and will lead to the legalization of all forms of Sunday hunting; and
WHEREAS, Sunday bow hunting or Sunday hunting in most any form raises broad safety concerns because it involves weaponry; and
WHEREAS, Sunday hunting is in stark contrast to the Wildlife Resources Commission’s own scientific study in 2006 that revealed that most hunters do not support Sunday bow hunting and neither do most North Carolinians support Sunday hunting in general; and
WHEREAS, distinctive Christian institutions like “The Lord’s Day,” or the “Christian Sabbath” must find their place in the larger social context, it should also be recognized that when the general context ignores religion or fails to properly respond to its institutions and expressions, it undermines the value of religious influence on the culture; and
WHEREAS, churches are instrumental in helping people have more stable family lives; helping young people escape poverty; helping people contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment; enabling people to experience less depression, more self-esteem, fewer out of wedlock births, less drug abuse, fewer suicides and less crime; and
WHEREAS, churches provide for their attendants an experience of faith that enables them to have positive health benefits such as an increase in longevity of life, a lessening of many killer diseases and improving one’s chances of recovery from illness, recovery from alcohol and substance abuse, as well as marital breakdown; and
WHEREAS, churches provide an invaluable service to North Carolina that should be recognized by the state; and,
WHEREAS, lawmakers are constantly looking for ways to help small businesses, providing tax incentives to draw various corporations to North Carolina, etc. in an effort to create an environment friendly to business and economic prosperity; and
WHEREAS, churches also need the support of the North Carolina General Assembly in providing an environment conducive to religious prosperity – an area of life every bit as important as business; and
WHEREAS, Sunday is the church’s prime time for reaching people, training people to do good works of sacrifice and service for their fellowman; and,
WHEREAS, there are already a number of activities taking place on Sundays perpetuating an environment that undermines the invaluable influence of the Christian religion in the structure of the nation, in the welfare of the people, in the orderliness of society, and in the idealism of life; and
WHEREAS, failing to allow the religious community the opportunity to vote through their representatives on Sunday hunting ignores their tremendous contributions in favor of those who would unwittingly further exacerbate the undermining of their efforts in society; and,
WHEREAS, Durham and Person Counties have approved similar resolutions against Sunday hunting.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the _______________________,
do hereby go on record opposing Sunday hunting in any form and request the lawmakers who represent ___________________ facilitate legislation to repeal it.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the members of the North Carolina General Assembly who represent _____________________________.