Raleigh, N.C. (Dec. 15, 2008) – The announcement that concealed firearms will be allowed in some national parks and wildlife refuges has prompted questions about what is allowed at areas held by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, including game lands.
The Interior Department issued a rule on Dec. 5 that allows an individual to carry a concealed firearm if the person has a concealed carry permit, and if the state where the national park or federal wildlife refuge is located also allows it. This is a federal ruling for national parks and should not to be confused with state parks, state forests and state recreational properties, such as game lands.
Loaded firearms are prohibited at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s public access areas (boat ramps) and public fishing areas. This includes handguns, regardless of a concealed carry permit. It is also unlawful to possess a loaded firearm within a posted restricted zone on any state-owned fish hatchery.
In North Carolina, more than 2 million acres are maintained by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission for hunting, trapping and fishing as game lands. Concealed firearms are allowed on game lands only when doing so coincides with a firearm hunting season and the concealed firearm is of a caliber allowed for hunting under game land rules. During closed hunting season for game animals and trapping seasons, only handguns limited to .22 caliber with a barrel length not greater than seven and a half inches, firing short, long or long-rifle ammunition, are allowed.
“The bottom line is, concealed carry permits do not supersede the other regulations that apply,” said Maj. Keith Templeton, supervising officer for field operations of the Enforcement Division, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “That includes game lands. It is up to the permit holder to know the law and obey it. If anyone has a question about concealed carry privileges in those situations, they should call a local wildlife officer or (919) 707-0030. ”
In much of the state, it is illegal between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise to intentionally shine a light on deer or in search of deer. Six counties had no local light laws as of Jan. 1, 2008. In those counties where shining a light at deer is not prohibited, it is always unlawful to be in possession of any firearm, including a concealed firearm with permit, while shining a light upon deer.
Hunter responsibility and ethics are taught as part of the free statewide hunter education program, required for first-time hunting license buyers. For more information, click here or call (919) 707-0030.