Six days is plenty, but let’s have more game cops

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

By Staff
The state’s Wildlife Resources Commission is considering an array of changes to hunting law. Most of them seem to be good ideas, but a couple of the suggestions go too far.
We’re for the ban on Sunday hunting. As things stand, state law bans hunting with guns on Sundays, and the WRC until recently has gone one step further, prohibiting all hunting.
But now the WRC wants to follow the letter of the law but not the spirit and allow “quiet” hunting — archery and falconry — on Sundays. The idea is to let working hunters, who only have weekends off, to spend as much time in the field as possible.
But in our view, man and beast both need a day of rest. Officials assure us the added stress won’t cause a sharp drop in the deer herd. But even if that’s the case, it’s unsavory to allow game to be pursued every day.
We know that archery season lasts only a few weeks, but even a few weeks of constant pursuit feels unjust and unwise. And some folks will certainly try to use the move as a first step to a total rollback of the ban.
We agree, though, that allowing working North Carolinians more opportunity to pursue the state’s game is overall a positive move. If the state is really dedicated to that proposition, we think a better solution would be to move the ban on hunting from Sunday to a weekday.
That way, animals would have a day of rest, but working hunters could get out two days a week and still hold down jobs at the height of the season.
We support dropping a daily bag limit on deer, but with this caveat: Hunters must be required to tag one animal before killing another.
That way, hunters could keep hunting all day if they were having luck, but no one band of deer would be massacred, because the hunters would have to walk up to the first deer and tag it before they could shoot another.
Many locals are against eliminating youth turkey hunting day in favor of requiring hunters to go out in groups on one day to promote the social aspects of the sport.
We think that’s a valid concept, but not at the expense of youth day. A better idea might be to pick a day in the middle of the season for hunters’ unlicensed friends to try out the sport.
But these and other proposed changes only tweak the existing program.
What the sport really needs is better enforcement on key rules.
No hunter likes to see the warden walking over to check licenses and blaze orange safety clothing and bag limits, but it cuts down on illegal hunting.
North Carolina has a fairly simple hunting code, compared with other states. If we increase the number of officers working in the rural parts of our state, maybe we can finally cut down on the unreported but universally acknowledged toll that poachers take each year.