Home Local News Moss bill would authorize sale of trapped rabbits for hunting preserves

Moss bill would authorize sale of trapped rabbits for hunting preserves

The Eastern cottontail is one of three species of rabbit native to North Carolina. Photo by Melissa McGaw - NCWRC

RALEIGH — Rep. Ben Moss wants to add rabbits to the short list of animals that can be trapped and sold to hunting preserves.

On Monday, Moss introduced H.B. 93, which would allow owners of hunting preserves to purchase live box-trapped rabbits and sell them to other preserve operators.

North Carolina General Statutes currently allow controlled hunting preserves for rabbits, foxes, coyotes and game birds.

However, statutes only mention foxes and coyotes can be trapped and sold.

“Rabbit hunting is an age-old tradition and whether you’re feeding your family, teaching the younger generation, or hunting for sport there ought to be equal provisions in place for this industry,” Moss, a hunter, said in a press release. “The sale of live foxes and coyotes is currently permitted in statute, yet rabbits are not. It’s time that we bring rabbit hunting up to the same set of standards.”

According to Moss’ office, controlled rabbit preserves provide a training ground for beagles.

“The owners of the preserves must supplement the rabbit population due to the loss of game from predation and ensure genetic diversity in the breeding population,” reads the press release. “This bill will make it legal for individuals, with a valid (North Carolina) hunting license, to receive compensation for expenses incurred when trapping and releasing rabbits into a licensed preserve environment.”

There is an annual $25 licensing fee to operate a rabbit preserve. The fee for preserves to hunt birds, coyotes and foxes is $100 per year.

According to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, there are three species of rabbit native to the state: Appalachian cottontail, Eastern cottontail and the marsh rabbit.

The bill currently has two co-sponsors Reps. Mike Clampitt, R-Swain, and Kevin Crutchfield, R-Cabarrus.

Records show the bill has been referred to the Committee on Wildlife Resources, which is chaired by Moss.


Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump is chairman of the Wildlife Resources Commission.

Crump told the RO on Thursday that he had not yet read the rabbit bill.

This isn’t the first wildlife-related legislation Moss has sponsored in this session.

He is a primary sponsor of H.B. 18, which would require the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to issue two Elk Conservation Permits — one for an adult, one for youth — by auction and changes wildlife statues to add elk to approved game to be harvested.

Moss also signed on as a primary sponsor of H.B. 112, which would allow the sale of honey to qualify as income for present-use value of agricultural land. The bill was introduced by Rep. Diane Wheatley, R-Cumberland.

Currently, the statute expressly bars honey:

“Gross income includes income from the sale of the agricultural products produced from the land, grazing fees for livestock, the sale of bees or products derived from beehives other than honey, beehives, any payments received under a governmental soil conservation or land retirement program, and the amount paid to the taxpayer during the taxable year …”

Other primary sponsors are Rep. Howard Penny, R-Harnett, a third-generation farmer, and Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow. There are also 23 co-sponsors as of Feb. 16.

That bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

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