One of the most contentious issues facing sportsmen in North Carolina was

pushed to the back burner in 2015 when the General Assembly passed a bill

allowing hunting in the state on Sundays for the first time since colonial days.

There are certain stipulations, such as the fact that it’s only permitted on private

land and hunters may not use guns between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. In addition,

running deer with hounds is not allowed on the Sabbath, nor is hunting migratory

birds.

If those restrictions seem a little strange, consider some that apply to hunters

and fishermen in other places. For example, in at least one state, it’s not just a

matter of whether anglers have the proper license or not; their marital status also

counts. According to Montana law, “It is illegal for married women to go fishing

alone on Sundays and illegal for unmarried women to fish alone at all.” So much

for equal rights, huh?

Montana isn’t the only place that restricts angling, though. In Wyoming, “Using

a firearm to fish is strictly forbidden” and in Portola, California, “It is illegal to fish

from an overpass in the city.” Apparently they’re afraid you might snag a taxi on

your back-cast. In both Idaho and Utah, you cannot fish from the back of a horse

and, in Arizona, horses are ok but anglers cannot fish while mounted on a camel.

In Nebraska and Oklahoma, whether you’re in the saddle or not, “It is illegal to go

whale fishing.” The last kind of makes you wonder whether the lawmakers in those

states really understand where they are.

Fishermen aren’t the only ones who have to be careful not to step across a

sometimes-curvy legal line. In Arizona, not only can’t sportsmen fish while riding

camels, they can’t hunt them either. The army brought those desert-loving critters

into the state in years past to use as pack animals and, apparently, some of them

escaped. The state’s ban on hunting them has been effective – no camel tags have

been turned in to the Arizona Game Commission in quite a while.

Hunters in Texas don’t have to worry about what they’re shooting, so much as

where they are when they pull the trigger or what handicap they may have. A law

in the Lone Star State says, “It is illegal to shoot a buffalo from the second story

window of a hotel.” (We assume that doesn’t apply to really nice tree stands).

However, it is ok in Texas to hunt feral hogs even higher - from a helicopter -

assuming of course you can afford the approximate $500 per hour fee to charter a

whirlybird. You can also hunt there if you’re blind – if you use a laser-equipped

firearm, have proof of your handicap and have another, sighted, hunter with you.

There is no mention of the blind hunting from helicopters.

In Tennessee, hunters have to be aware that they may not, “… shoot any game

from a moving auto, except a whale.” Apparently, they use the same atlas as the

folks in Nebraska and Oklahoma. In Deming, New Mexico, there are no

restrictions on shooting from hotels or motor vehicles, but hunting is specifically

“… prohibited in Mountain View Cemetery.” We guess they don’t want the

residents being disturbed.

An outdoorsman doesn’t have to be pursuing fish or game to run afoul of the

law in some places. All he has to do is have a hunting weapon – sort of. In Nome,

Alaska, an area generally perceived as firearm-friendly, “No person shall have in

his or her possession, nor shall discharge an air gun, bow and arrow, or slingshot

within the city.” In another Alaska Town – Haines – “A person may only carry a

concealed slingshot if that person has received the appropriate license.” Forget the

grizzlies, you might shoot your eye out!

In Arizona, you can have a gun – or slingshot – in your possession, but you may

not be able to use it. A law there says, “When being attacked by a criminal or

burglar, you may only protect yourself with the same weapon that the other person

possesses.” We guess that means if you’re being assaulted by a knife-wielding thug

and have a 9 mm pistol in your hand, you’re just out of luck. If that prospect makes

you feel ill, though, don’t look for comfort in Trout Creek, Utah where,

“Pharmacists may not sell gunpowder to cure headaches.”

If it appears that goofy gun laws exist only in the Wild West, a few cases in

other areas prove that’s not so. In Maine, for example, there is a law on the books

that actually requires gun possession. It says, “Shotguns are required to be taken to

church in the event of an Indian attack.” If that were Arizona, would the

congregation be restricted to using tomahawks?

A little farther down the coast, “It is contrary to Pennsylvania law to discharge a

gun, cannon, revolver or other explosive weapon at a wedding. Apparently that

eliminates shotgun weddings in the Quaker State. And, forget having any fun at all

in some Midwest states. In Minnesota, “It is illegal to tease a skunk.”

Our North Carolina legislators would do well to look at some of these laws

before introducing any new ones in the 2019 session, especially any that relate to

wildlife, hunting, fishing or guns. They may dodge a pie-in-the-face later.

Ed Wall can be contacted at edwall@embarqmail.com or 252-671-3207. His web site is www.edwalloutdoors.com