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Commissioners hear opposition to proposed hunting bill

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OXFORD The Granville County Board of Commissioners heard strong opposition to a proposed North Carolina Senate bill related to hunting at its Monday meeting.

Senate Bill 274, which was filed in March, is a proposed piece of legislation which would regulate hunting in Granville County. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Mike Woodard, a Democrat representing Granville, Durham and Person counties.

The bill proposes several changes to the way hunters use dogs to hunt in the county. Each dog must have a GPS-tracking collar as well as an identification collar. Individuals or clubs using dogs are subject to inspection of the data from each dog’s GPS.

The bill also addresses the location where the dogs are released to hunt. The legislation recommends “the release location of the dogs is at least 200 contiguous acres owned by the person or consists of at least 350 contiguous acres where the person has written permission to hunt.”

The bill has drawn the ire of some hunters in the county. Over 40 people wearing orange hats attended the meeting and several spoke during public comments.

Some hunters expressed fear Monday that this will shut them out completely and only allow plantation owners or large wealthy hunt clubs to hunt in Granville County. Several hunters asked the commissioners pull back the bill until it can be further discussed.

Audrie Johnson was one of the hunters who attended the meeting. Johnson is a part of the board of the Eastern Carolina Houndsmen Alliance.

“Hunting with hounds is a time-honored tradition dating all the way back to president George Washington’s pack of fox hounds,” Johnson said. “In North Carolina it is a way of life for many, and we want to see it continue to be passed down to future generations ... .

“The draft that has been introduced is a radical opinion suggested by a very few landowners who have ulterior motives such as real estate investments and commercial hunting,” Johnson added. “The constituents of Granville County cannot allow the elected officials to let a narrative that they have been fed by a minority to negativity impact the desires of the majority of our county. We urge everyone from hunters to farmers to call and let their voice be heard and oppose this bill.”

In other business, the board voted to continue the 1.5 percent discount for those paying ad valorem taxes between July 1 and Aug. 15.

Sharon Brooks-Powell, the tax administrator for Granville County, said with the new tax software the county is using a change would need to be made to the current policy to include stormwater and solid waste fees. The new software only includes real property, personal property and business property taxes.

The commissioners agreed to include storm water and solid waste fees to the 1.5 percent discount if paid between July 1 and Aug. 15. All of these items appear on the tax bill.

Trudi Bowden was given the Volunteer Service Award in the Animal Welfare and Lifetime Achievement category. Commissioner Sun Hinman presented Bowden with the certificate.

“If everyone would follow Bowden’s lead and volunteer, lots of things would get done,” Hinman said.

The commissioners approved filling open vacancies on the Granville County Veterans Affairs Committee and the Board of Adjustments. The commissioners also extended the street sign installation contract for three months pending a new request for proposal can be issued.

The Granville County Board of Commissioners will meet again on April 15 at 7 p.m.