Local News

Wilson County Commissioners Consider Change To Hunting Regulations

Posted June 22, 2004 8:04 a.m. EDT

— Hunters in Wilson County soon could need written permission to take aim on private property.

The idea has the full support of the county commission.

"I really think that most of the hunters really want to do a first-class job," County Commissioner Sid Boyette said. "They don't want to tear up people's property. It's just a small percentage."

According to Boyette, that small percentage sparked a long list of complaints. Boyette said the biggest problem is hunters who drive trucks onto farm land, damaging crops.

The county initially wanted to require only deer hunters to get written permission. The

State Wildlife Commission

asked to expand it to all hunters.

"It would be a lot to administer to police if they were able to have all hunting involved," Boyette said.

Local resident Steve Harrell has hunted most of his life; he has a wall full of trophies to prove it. He said he does not mind the regulation.

"It's a good idea for Wilson," Harrell said. "As a matter of fact, it would be nice for the whole state of North Carolina."

Harrell, who also owns land in the county, said he has had problems with other hunters sneaking on and causing damage. He said that gives responsible hunters a bad name.

"It hurts everybody when people go on, and they tear up the land and crops, which is (the farmer's) livelihood," Harrell said.

According to the county commissioners, only a handful of hunters have complained.

WRAL spoke Tuesday with a hunter who would not go on camera but said it will be tough keeping hunting dogs from crossing property lines. He said the change would cause more conflict.

Boyette said with more people living in rural areas each year, changes are necessary.

"We have to make sure that we have it as safe as possible," he said.

The General Assembly has to approve the regulation before the county could enforce it. County commissioners expect their proposal to come to a vote in the General Assembly in the next few weeks.