04/17/09 — New bill will aid military personnel

View Archive

New bill will aid military personnel

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 17, 2009 1:47 PM

RALEIGH -- The 2009 state legislative session has been especially important to area sportsmen with several bills that apply to hunting and fishing practices.

Two additional pieces of legislation introduced on the agenda will have a focused impact on Wayne County if passed.

A bill introduced March 31 is gathering support locally and would make hunting on private property without the land owner's knowledge illegal by any means. The practice is already banned when hunting with a gun or a dog.

Introduced by Rep. Tim Spear (Dare, Hyde), House Bill 888 was originally meant as a Hyde County provision only. After seeing the bill for themselves, several local legislators asked for Wayne County to be added earlier this week.

"The bill would give landowners the right to prohibit people from hunting on their land with a bow or a crossbow," said Wayne County Manager Lee Smith. "All hunters will have to get permission."

The Committee on Wildlife Resources is reviewing the bill.

Wayne County representative Efton Sager has been active on the wildlife front in recent weeks, introducing House Bill 97 and promoting its message. The bill allows active-duty military personnel to hunt and fish while on leave without acquiring a state-issued license.

"This bill will really make it easier on everybody involved," said Sager. "When people who are active-duty get home, they want to spend time with their families and not have to worry about finding a place to buy a hunting or fishing license."

In order to qualify, an active military member will have to be on leave for less than 30 days, will have to obtain a copy of the official service unit document outlining the dates of the leave and will be required to have photo identification at all times.

Aside from the proper ID, military personnel will still be required to report big game harvests to the Wildlife Resources Commission and pass the state mandated hunter's safety course.

Sager, a 21-year veteran of the United States Air Force and current member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Military and Veterans Affairs, understands the importance of the bill in the Goldsboro area.

House Bill 97 passed its second reading last week and has been referred to the committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources. HB97 would take effect on July 1 if ratified.

"I don't see any problem with the bill passing," said Sager. "It has good bipartisan support and is a great way for us to continue our mission of being a military friendly state."

Anyone wishing to comment on the proposed legislation can contact Sager at (919) 733-5755 or via email at Efton.Sager@ncleg.net.