I've posted this on several forums. Just want to inform folks of the conversations I have been having with NCWRC in Raleigh. We need to get this changed. It seems they did not lift the caliber restrictions completely on what you can carry. It's pretty dang confusing still. Here are 2 emails I got in the last couple of days.

We appreciate your comments regarding size restrictions for defensive firearms on game lands and will be happy to evaluate your suggestion that these restrictions be removed. Rule change proposals for 2010-11 are already under consideration, but we'll ask staff to consider your suggestion as a potential rule change for 2011-12.

However, please note that the motivation behind H29 was unrelated to the size/possession of defensive sidearms. H29 was an attempt to increase the opportunity for taking coyotes and feral hogs on game lands. For many years, we had a rule in place that restricted the possession of large caliber firearms on game lands except during open firearm seasons for big game animals. This restriction was in place to reduce the potential for illegal harvest - particularly for deer - and dates back to a time when our deer seasons were very short and deer were a far more scarce resource than they are today. However, in recent years, as populations of coyotes and feral hogs have significantly increased, we have received numerous complaints that sufficient opportunity to take these animals on game lands did not exist outside of the big game seasons, because .22 rimfire rifles/pistols are too small to be effective. Thus, the intent of H29 was to provide greater opportunity for taking coyotes and feral hogs by allowing larger caliber firearms on game lands during open game land days and during open game land seasons for those game birds and game animals listed on Page 55 of the 2009-10 Regulations.

So, that portion of the rule which was amended by H29 was only that portion specific to the big game season restriction. The portion of the rule which limits possession of sidearms to .22 caliber was not changed by H29 in any way. I agree that we could have done a better job of explaining what H29 was intended to do, but I also think we have been very clear in our statement of the current rule. Other than the specific listed exceptions, and outside of the specific listed seasons, firearms on game lands are restricted as stated on Page 55 of the current regulations digest.

Hope this helps,

Isaac Harrold
Section Manager
State & Private Lands Programs
Division of Wildlife Management
NC Wildlife Resources Commission
Good Morning,

Thank you for the email. I have spoken with our Rules Biologist regarding your question. You are not the first to request information or a clear understanding. Please see below the explanation that was given. Please let me know if you need additional assistance.

Weapons on Game Lands

It is unlawful to possess a firearm or bow and arrow on a game land at any time except:
1. During the open hunting seasons or hunting days for game birds (which are waterfowl, doves, woodcock; snipe, rails, gallinules, moorhens, coots, grouse, pheasant, quail and turkey) or game animals (which are deer, bear, rabbits, squirrels, wild boar, bobcats, opossum and raccoon) other than fox;
2. Unless the device is cased or not immediately available for use;
3. When possessed and used by persons participating in field trials on field trial areas;
4. When possessed and used on target shooting areas designated by the landowner;
5. When possessed in designated camping areas for defense of persons and property

However, .22 caliber pistols with barrels not greater than seven and one-half inches in length and shooting only short, long, or long rifle ammunition may be carried as side arms on game lands at any time other than by hunters during the special bow and arrow and muzzle‑loading firearms deer hunting seasons and by individuals training dogs during closed season without field trial authorization.

Furthermore, only shotguns with any size shot and bow and arrow may be possessed during the big game season for turkey.

Previously, you were limited to a shotgun shell no larger than no. 4 and rifle or pistol no larger than .22 rimfire when the big game seasons were closed. By adopting H29, the Commission is allowing hunters to possess more powerful weapons during small game and migratory bird seasons, in addition to their possession during big game seasons, with the exception of turkey season (no handguns and no rifles).