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State Shoots Down Idea of Sunday Hunting

Posted December 6, 2006

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— A survey that found North Carolina's ban on hunting on Sundays is popular convinced state officials to leave the ban in place Wednesday.

North Carolina is one of eight states that prohibits Sunday hunting, and Gov. Mike Easley and state lawmakers asked the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to find out if the Sunday ban should be lifted.

Responsive Management, a public opinion research firm that specializes in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, and Virginia Tech studied the cost of eliminating the ban and the effect on the environment. They also polled hunters and the public.

"The majority of people in North Carolina are opposed to Sunday hunting," said Steve Windham of the wildlife commission.

Wildlife commissioners initially supported lifting the ban, but the information convinced them to forward the study's findings to lawmakers with no recommendation.

The Christian Action League of North Carolina strongly opposes lifting the Sunday hunting ban, primarily for religious reasons.

"It would be just another eating away at what has been our moral compass," said Mark Creech, a minister who is executive director of the organization.

Creech said hunting on Sundays also would "put a lot of other people who are involved in other outdoor activities in danger."

The study found that hunters are split on the issue. Those who support lifting the ban said the law is outdated and maintained an extra day of hunting could help the state economy. The study determined, however, that adding a day would cost the state money because more wildlife resource officers would need to be hired.

The decline in the number of licensed hunters in North Carolina is a major concern of supporters. Some argued lifting the ban could help.

"There seems to be a tendency to be able to encourage younger people into the hunting cycle if they have an availability to do it on weekends," Windham said.

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