HC Board adds new measure for hunters

Published 4:28 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023

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WINTON – A local enacted law that was approved back in November now includes new language.

At their Nov. 7 meeting, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners approved a measure that makes it illegal “to hunt, fish or trap on the land of another without the written permission of the landowner or the landowner’s lessee.” Additionally, that written permission must contain complete contact information for the landowner or the landowner’s lessee.

At that same meeting, the commissioners considered adding another sentence to the local law in regards to running hunting dogs. They postponed acting on that measure until additional information was obtained.

That topic surfaced again at the Jan. 3 meeting of the board.

County Manager David Cotton reminded the board members of what was discussed at the Nov. 7 meeting.

“At that time there was a recommendation made to include additional language in that local law,” Cotton said. “That was for running hunting dogs across someone’s property without the landowner’s written permission. Commissioner [Leroy] Douglas offered that [recommendation].”

Cotton said what is needed now for the measure to move forward is for the commissioners to approve the additional language regarding the hunting dogs.

“With your approval, we can approach the North Carolina General Assembly, who begins their 2023 session on Jan. 11, and let them know that is the language we want added to our local legislation, which includes prohibiting hunting, fishing, and trapping on private lands without landowner permission,” Cotton said.

The board, on a motion from Douglas, approved the addition of the new language.

The measure is part of the state’s Landowner Protection Act. Under the regulations of that Act, sportsmen need written permission, dated within the past 12 months, signed by the landowner or lessee, to hunt, fish, or trap on lands posted with signs or purple paint. Those hunters are required to carry written permission on their person. If a hunting club has leased the land, hunters must have a copy of their hunting club membership and a copy of the landowner permission given to that club.

Many states throughout the United States, to include North Carolina, allow the use of purple paint, as well as traditional signage, to denote posted land.

The Landowner Protection Act does not change general trespass laws nor have any effect on lands that are not posted.

North Carolina Wildlife Commission officers will enforce the Landowner Protection Act. Prior to passage of the Act, those officers were generally required to execute process in order to enforce trespass under G.S. 14-159.10. This means a Wildlife Officer would obtain an arrest warrant or criminal summons prior to enforcing trespass.

The Landowner Protection Act, which went into effect in 2011, makes changes that enable Wildlife Officers to write a citation on site, removing the barrier to proper and efficient enforcement of the existing trespass law.

Visit the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission online for more information, including a sample permission form.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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