North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Bobcat

Scientific Name: Lynx rufus
Classification: Game Species and Furbearer 
Abundance: Common throughout state

Species Profile (PDF)

     

The bobcat gets its name from its short tail (about 5 inches long) that is dark above and white below, coloring that may serve a signaling function. The bobcat’s fur is short, dense and soft and is light brown to reddish brown on the back. The underside and insides of the legs are white with dark spots or bars.

The fur down the middle of the back may be darker, and bobcats may be grayer in the winter than at other times of the year. Adult bobcats are about two times as large as a domestic cat, standing 20 inches to 30 inches at the shoulder. Adult weights range from 10 to 40 pounds, with males being about one third larger than females.

Although bobcats are found in a wide range of habitats in North Carolina, wooded habitats of the Coastal Plain and mountains support the largest numbers.

Bottomland hardwoods, young pine stands, swamps and pocosins provide good bobcat habitation in eastern North Carolina. In the mountains, mature forests with openings or early successional forests nearby are favored. Hollow trees, rock piles, brush piles, root masses of uprooted trees or similar sites are common bobcat dens.

The bobcat is a carnivore that favors early successional prey such as rabbits and mice. Bobcats may also consume birds, cotton rats, white-tailed deer, rodents, gray squirrels, raccoons, opossums and snakes.

Bobcats are active year-round and can be active day or night, but tend to exhibit crepuscular (dawn and dusk) activity.  Bobcats are solitary except during the breeding season, which usually occurs during February or March. 

 



Dec. 1 – Feb. 28

In and east of Hertford, Bertie, Martin, Pitt, Greene, Lenoir, Duplin, Pender and New Hanover counties.

Nov. 1 – Feb. 28

In all other counties.

NOTE: In addition to the regular trapping seasons  listed above, coyotes may be taken in counties, areas  and times where fox-trapping is allowed by statute

Beaver

Nov. 1, 2016 – Mar. 31, 2017  - Statewide for beaver only

NOTE: Landowners whose property is or has been  damaged or destroyed by beaver may take beaver on their property anytime by any lawful method without obtaining a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission. The landowner may obtain assistance from other persons in taking the depredating beaver by giving those persons permission to take beaver on the landowner’s property.

Feral Swine

There is no closed season and no bag limits for trapping feral swine. A hunting or trapping license is required, except for those persons who are license-exempt (see page 4 of the regulations digest).  A feral swine trapping permit is also required, even for those persons who are license-exempt. This free permit is available online or by calling 919-707-0150. Only box and corral traps are legal for trapping feral swine and the permit number must be displayed on all traps. Traps must be constructed in a manner such that a non-target animal (such as a bear) can easily be released or can escape without harm. All feral swine must be euthanized while in the trap and may not be removed alive from any trap. The permit does not authorize access to any property. Landowner permission is still required. Feral swine trapping on game lands is allowed only with permission of the Commission. Call 919-707-0150 to inquire about trapping feral swine on game lands.

Fox

Jan. 7 - 28, 2017

Fox trapping is allowed in Clay, Graham, Henderson, Macon and Tyrrell counties with a daily bag limit of  two and a season bag limit of 10. Trappers must have fox tags prior to taking foxes, and the sale of live foxes under this season is prohibited.

Click here for more county-specific information on fox harvest seasons.
 

Nutria

There is no closed season and no bag limit for trapping nutria east of I-77.

 

2016-17 Trapping Regulations and Information

The following trapping regulations are effective August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017.

 

Statewide Restrictions

It is unlawful to:

  • Sell or otherwise transfer ownership of the carcass or pelt of a fox*, bobcat or otter without first tagging it with the appropriate tag available from the Wildlife Resources Commission. The fee is $2.20 for each bobcat or otter tag and $2.25 for fox*. You may purchase these tags by telephone, 888-248-6834, using a VISA or MasterCard credit card, or you can mail your request along with the fee to: NCWRC, Bobcat/Otter/Fox Tags, 1707 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1707. Include your name, address, date of birth and WRC number. NOTE: All fox*, bobcat and otter fur must be tagged within 30 days of the close of the applicable season. Once the season closes, the Commission will ship tags for another 23 days only. *except Beaufort, Chowan, Davidson, Hyde, Johnston, Rockingham and Stokes counties and Winston-Salem where local laws do not require fox tagging.
  • Open or damage a beaver lodge without a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission.
  • Sell, keep or transfer ownership of any live animals, except foxes or coyotes and box-trapped rabbits. Foxes and coyotes may be sold live only to licensed fox preserves and only up to 10 days after the trapping season.
  • Take red and gray fox except where provided by state or local law. For more information about fox trapping seasons, visit http://www.ncwildlife.org/foxseasons.
  • Take wild animals by trapping upon the land of another without having in possession written permission issued and dated within the previous year by the landowner or his agent. This restriction does not apply to public lands on which trapping is not specifically prohibited including tidelands, marshlands, and any other untitled land.
  • Remove or disturb any lawfully set trap or remove any fur bearing animal from a trap without permission of the trap owner.

 

Statewide Trap-type Restrictions

  • All traps must have a weather-resistant permanent tag attached legibly with the trapper’s name and address.
  • Unlawful to set or use a trap so that animals or birds will be suspended when caught.
  • Unlawful to set or use a hook of any sort or type to take wild animals or wild birds.

Attendance

Every trap must be visited daily and any animal caught therein removed, except for completely submerged Conibear™-type traps, which must be visited at least once every 72 hours and any animal caught therein removed.

Tagging Requirement

Bobcat and Otter Tags (CITES tags):

  • Needed to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of bobcat or otter carcasses or pelts.
  • All bobcat and otter carcasses or pelts shall be properly tagged within 30 days following the close of the applicable hunting or trapping season. The Commission will not ship tags 23 consecutive days from the close of the season.
  • $2.20 per tag
  • Call (888) 248-6834 for information on purchasing Bobcat and Otter tags.

Fox Tags:

  • Needed to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of a fox carcass or pelt.
  • All fox carcasses or pelts shall be properly tagged within 30 days following the close of the applicable hunting or trapping season. The Commission will not ship tags 23 consecutive days from the close of the season.
  • $2.25 per tag
  • Call (888) 248-6834 for information on purchasing fox tags.
  • No fox tags needed in Beaufort, Chowan, Davidson, Hyde, Johnston, Rockingham and Stokes counties and Winston-Salem due to local law exemption.

Legal Trap Types

Fox Laws

Only the N.C. General Assembly has the authority to allow fox harvest in a county through passage of a local law. 

Click here for more county-specific information on fox harvest seasons

Local Laws

Unlawful Harassment

 

In North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to interfere intentionally with the lawful taking of wildlife resources or to drive, harass, or intentionally disturb any wildlife resources for the purpose of disrupting the lawful taking of wildlife resources on public or private property. NOTE: This law does not apply to activity by a person on land he owns or leases or to a person who incidentally interferes with the taking of wildlife resources while using the land for other lawful activity such as agriculture, mining, or recreation.

Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable for a first conviction by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, by imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or by both and punishable for a second or subsequent conviction by a fine left to the discretion of the court. (North Carolina General Statute 295)

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you experience unlawful harassment, immediately notify your nearest wildlife enforcement officer, county sheriff's office or local police department. Advise the authorities of this law and that you wish to hunt peacefully.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Do not provoke a fight, threaten reprisals or use profanity. Remember these anti-hunting activists are seeking confrontation and may be accompanied by the news media.