Roadside-hunting ban takes effect today

Published 7:31 pm Monday, September 30, 2013

A new law banning hunting from the side of roads in Beaufort County takes effect today.

The law is the result of a special, local bill approved by the N.C. General Assembly earlier this year.

The law makes in unlawful to “discharge a firearm or bow and arrow, or to attempt to discharge a firearm or bow and arrow, from, on, across, or over the roadway or right-of-way of any public road.”

Violation of the law is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor. The law will be enforced by law-enforcement officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and others with general subject-matter jurisdiction.

The law only applies to Beaufort County.

“The main question we’ve having is can they still carry a firearm and stand on the side of the road. That’s fine. They just cannot discharge that firearm on the road,” said Parks Moss, a Wildlife Resources Commission enforcement officer.

The bill was introduced in the N.C. General Assembly by Rep. Michael Speciale, a Republican from Craven County. The bill was filed March 21.

The wording of the law is different from the resolution approved by the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners in March. The resolution reads “that it is unlawful for a person to hunt, take, or kill any wild animal or game bird with a firearm or bow and arrow in the persons possession from, on, or near the right of way of a public road in Beaufort County.”

Earlier this summer, the commissioners unanimously voted to ask Speciale, Rep. Paul Tine, a Democrat from Dare County, and Sen. Bill Cook, a Republican from Beaufort County, to reintroduce the bill after was amended so that it reflects the language in the resolution.

“I think we need to put our … lobbyist on it, let him go around and have a conversation with him (Speciale), too,” said Commissioner Hood Richardson, who made the motion to have the bill amended so it uses the language used in the resolution approved by the commissioners earlier this summer.

Commissioner Robert Belcher said he considered the bill more comprehensive than the resolution.

“It says no one can discharge a firearm on the right of way, whether they’re hunting or not. Yours limits it to just hunting. Is that what you’re after?” Belcher said.

“That’s what we’re after, hunting,” Richardson said. “My first thought was the same as yours. I stewed on it for a little while. … The way he (Speciale) wrote it, it’s virtually unenforceable.”


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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