By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
January 20, 2017
BOONE – The Watauga County Board of Commissioners has called for a public hearing to discuss a request in that county to ban Sunday hunting.
North Carolina banned the practice of hunting on Sunday for 145 years until the ban was repealed by state lawmakers in June of March 2015.
Today hunters are still prohibited from hunting during the hours of 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Hunting on Sunday is also prohibited in counties with a population of more than 700,000 people.
Hunters are not permitted to hunt their prey within 500 yards of a church or residence not owned by the landowner. Hunting migratory birds or deer chased by dogs is not permitted either.
Starting October 1, 2017, counties are allowed to prohibit Sunday hunting by ordinance.
But according to the Watauga Democrat, the request to ban Sunday hunting for Watauga County might come as a bill before the North Carolina General Assembly during this session. The newspaper reported, “County Manager Deron Geouque said that Rep. Jonathan Jordan was willing to sponsor a bill in the Assembly.”
The Watauga Democrat also reported there was only one person present, Michael Testerman, during public comment on the Board’s discussion of the issue that protested.
“Testerman…expressed his surprise that the issue was even brought up.” He reportedly argued, “If you all vote to request a Sunday hunting ban, it’s an affront to property rights and personal rights.”
The Christian Action League of North Carolina was always an ardent opponent of lifting the ban on Sunday hunting.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the League, said, “I’m glad to see Watauga County is taking up this subject in a public hearing. It’s something that needs to be discussed, and regardless of what some may say, it’s not a trivial matter.”
Dr. Creech spoke-out extensively about repealing the ban on Sunday hunting when the measure was being debated by lawmakers. His concerns were summarized in an opinion piece that ran in the Raleigh News and Observer, May 12, 2015, titled “How Sunday Hunting Would Weaken the Value of the Lord’s Day.”
A more extensive version of the same article can be found on the Christian Action League’s website under the title: Sunday Hunting: Weakening the Value of the Lord’s Day.
Dr. Creech, in part, wrote:
“One can appreciate the fact that distinctive Christian institutions like the ‘Lord’s Day’ must find their place in the larger social context. The problem, however, is that when the general context ignores religion as it mostly does nowadays – failing to properly respond to its sacred institutions – the value of religious influence on the culture becomes greatly diminished, if not ultimately lost. Such cannot bode well for our state and nation.
“Sunday is the prime time for churches to provide their critical contribution to the general welfare. Studies have shown church attendees have more stable family lives, fewer out-of-wedlock births, fewer abortions, less crime and more positive health outcomes. They are also more likely to overcome alcoholism, drug addiction, and poverty. Churches hand down the virtues that make a people self-governing – a necessity for a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ Moreover, when people fail to properly govern themselves, the state often has to step in, which creates the danger of larger, more expanded, abusive government policies.
“As innocuous as the Sunday hunting bill may seem, it barters away something primary for something secondary – something that will benefit a few at the expense of something that functions to the benefit of everyone. Legal Sunday hunting is but one more thing to undermine, frustrate and compete with the irreplaceable work of our churches.
“Lawmakers certainly understand the necessity of legislation that creates a friendly business environment, but churches also need government to consider whether its actions are friendly to the ministries of houses of worship. Each time we weaken the significance of the ‘Lord’s Day,’ we create a chasm that cannot be bridged.”
Dr. Creech says that he understands the contention that we already allow for other activities, festivals, sports events, golfing and fishing tournaments, racing, and other distractions already taking place on Sunday. “But that’s the point, Sunday hunting is just one more thing to diminish the strength of what that special day is meant to be and can do to benefit and strengthen our culture,” he says.
The Christian Action League urges pastors and church congregants to plan to be at the public hearing on February 21. They should urge their Commissioners to approve a resolution in favor of asking their state representatives to introduce a measure banning Sunday hunting in their county.