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Thread: NC Handgun Hunting Laws

  1. #1

    NC Handgun Hunting Laws

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    Does anyone know what the minimum barrel length for a handgun is to be used as the primary hunting weapon? What about as a sidearm for finish off game or self defense for 2 legged predators? I'm thinking it is 5.5" for the first question and no restriction for the 2nd, but I'm not sure and can't find the law elsewhere.

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  3. #3
    They changed the 5.5 inch rule a few years ago for big game.It is still 5.5 inch for small game with a .22.Your caliber must be larger than .24 for big game handguns with no barrel restrictions.So you could legally hunt with a .25 acp,but i don't think I want to try that.I got a cull buck this year with my Glock 20(10mm) out of my bow stand and it has the factory length barrel.Last year I shot a doe with my Glock 32(357 sig) while filling the feeder.

    I believe this is the section you are looking for in the regulations digest

     During the open hunting season for rabbits, squirrels, opossums,
    raccoons, furbearing animals and legal nongame animals and
    birds, these species may be taken with a pistol of .22-caliber
    with a barrel not less than 5.5 inches in length.
     A hunter or trapper lawfully taking wildlife by another method
    may use a pistol to dispatch the animal or bird taken, except as
    noted below.
     Pistols may not be carried during the bow-and-arrow and
    muzzleloader deer hunting seasons.
     Deer, bear and wild boar may be taken with a handgun during the
    established gun hunting season provided that the handgun is not
    less than .24-caliber.Muzzleloading pistols are not legal for hunting.
     It is unlawful to hunt or take wild turkeys with pistols

  4. #4
    So carrying a weapon for self defense on game lands does not fall under any of these restrictions?

    There was a story about Wildlife officers setting up a roadblock coming out of the Green River game lands in Polk County a few years ago and were issuing citations to Concealed Carry Permit holders who lawfully notified the officers that they were in possession of a concealed weapon. They were cited for having handguns that were not of the type that were permissible within the restrictions for N.C. hunting regulations.

    I can't verify this story 100%, but I heard it from several reliable sources.

    I was under the impression that if you are on game lands and not hunting that you were limited to carrying a .22 caliber handgun.


  5. #5
    This is one of those sorta grey zones. I believe you are correct in that you are only allowed to carry a 22 on game lands when not hunting. But then again, you are allowed to carry concealed on game lands. It's one of the reasons we need to get the law amended. Thing I still can't understand is that are we so scared that for the week or two of muzzleloading that we care if someone uses a pistol to kill a deer? Are the deer that scarce? I would rather shoot at a deer with one of the new muzzleloaders any day of the week than a pistol. Just seems stupid that during "Hunting" season you can't carry a pistol at all times.

  6. #6
    Staff - Purveyor of Kydex Shootist Classified Feedback: 157 rantingredneck's Avatar
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    This is correct. When there is no big game season open you are limited to carrying a .22 only on game lands.

    As to the muzzleloader thing, I agree completely. I blackpowder hunt down on Holly Shelter's game lands just about every year (except this one) and have seen bears while hunting down there. What happens if one charges and I have one shot?

    I always carry a large Ek bowie when hunting down there. I figure a bear may eat me, but he's gonna bleed for it. :shock:

  7. #7
    Is the 5.5" barrel length for .22s still in effect during the non-hunting times?

    And if I'm not mistaken the book states .22 LR specifically. 22WMR is a no-no.



  8. #8

    Scroll down to the weapons section.The way I read this it says .22 rimfire for hunting so you could use a .22 mag.However it also says that you can carry .22 shooting short,long,and long rifle anytime with barrel of no longer than 7.5 inch but does not give a minimum.I also have a .17hmr revolver that i wanted to squrrel hunt with but was told by the game warden that it is below .22 caliber and therefore illegal.Oh and by the way you cannot legally carry concealed on the game lands because it is state property.I was told this by my CCW instructor and a game warden.The best source of information for these questions is your local game warden

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by tarheelshooter
    The way I read this it says .22 rimfire for hunting so you could use a .22 mag.However it also says that you can carry .22 shooting short,long,and long rifle anytime with barrel of no longer than 7.5 inch but does not give a minimum.
    That's where it gets confusing to me.

    There are times you supposedly can carry a .22 mag, then in the second reference it doesn't mention the .22 mag.

    There's just too much confusion in the Wildlife Regulations.


  10. #10
    Your confusing hunting regulations with carry regulations.

    When hunting seasons are closed (for game animals and birds) all you can carry is a .22 LR, L or S handgun on game lands. Barrel length of such gun must NOT exceed 7.5 inches. However to legally hunt with it, barrel length must be 5.5 inches or more.

    So if you decided to take a 4.5 inch barreled gun out as a sidearm, it would be legal to carry but not, say, hunt groundhogs with it.

    Except you can have any handgun in a camping area for self defense.

    That's it.

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