Looking at this email I received a while back, it looks like you would be good to go. There are several hunting seasons in now, and more coming later in the fall. All of which allow for firearms larger than .22 to be possessed. Feel free to cut, paste, and print this email. For some reason I though they had an exemption for deer archery and muzzleloader season. But it looks like the only exception is turkey season in the spring. In reality, this is just on big mess as far as laws go.
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).
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NC Wildlife Resources Commission
Division of Wildlife Management