For the first time since 1869, N.C. hunters legally will be able to hunt game on private lands on Sunday with firearms when a new law takes effect Thursday.
The 2015 legislature partly repealed the 146-year-old ban on Sunday gun hunting; the ban remains in effect for state game lands, migratory game birds and the state’s two largest counties, Mecklenburg and Wake. In addition, firearms can’t be used on Sunday to take deer that are chased by dogs.
Some hunters will be able to hunt as soon as this Sunday. The deer season for blackpowder guns in eastern counties begins Saturday, and Sunday will be open for gun hunting.
Another group of hunters, those pursuing animals for which there is no closed season, such as coyotes, can hunt this Sunday as well.
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But most will have to wait several weeks for Sunday-hunting opportunities. For example, squirrel, raccoon, opossum and the western black bear seasons open Oct. 12, with the first Sunday falling on Oct. 18.
Here are opening dates for some other seasons and their first Sunday for gun hunting:
▪ Eastern deer season for modern guns, Oct. 17 (Oct. 18).
▪ Central deer season for blackpowder guns, Oct. 31 (Nov. 1).
▪ Central deer season for modern guns, Nov. 14 (Nov. 15).
The law bans hunting during church services, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday, except on controlled preserves.
Hunting is prohibited within 500 yards of a church or house on the property not owned by the landowner. Hunters must get written permission from landowners to hunt on their property.