Scientific Name: Canis latrans
Abundance: Common throughout state
Species Profile (PDF)
The coyote is native only in North America and, of all wild canine species, the coyote has the widest range in this country. This predator is arguably the hardiest and most adaptable species on this continent.
Coyotes in North Carolina look similar to red wolves, but coyotes are smaller, have pointed and erect ears, and long slender snouts. The tail is long, bushy and black-tipped and is usually carried pointing down.
Color is typically dark gray but can range from blonde, red, and even black. Size is also variable, but averages about 2 feet tall at the shoulder and 4 feet in length.
Adults are about the size of a medium-sized dog and weigh between 20 and 45 pounds.
The coyote is classified as a carnivore, but it is an opportunistic feeder, meaning it will feed on a variety of food sources, depending on what is most readily available and easy to obtain.
Primary foods include fruit, berries, rodents, rabbits, birds, snakes, frogs, and insects. They will scavenge on animal remains, including road-kill, as well as garbage and pet food left outdoors. Like many wild animals, the coyote’s diet varies with seasonal changes.
Coyotes survive anywhere there are abundant food sources. Their habitat can range from agricultural fields to forested regions and suburban neighborhoods.
Coyotes, like other wildlife, are adapting to the urban-suburban environment and are opportunistic in finding food and resources available in these places.
North Carolina offers some excellent hunting opportunities. If you are a resident or visitor to the state, please review the links below to ensure that you understand the rules, regulations and other guidelines.
Hunting regulations including Manner of Taking, Hunting on Federal Lands, big game, small game and migratory birds.
The new Landowner Protection Act provides two ways for landholders to post their lands to allow only hunters, trappers and anglers with written permission to legally enter their property:
Sportsmen need written permission, dated within the past 12 months, signed by the land owner or lessee, to hunt, fish, or trap on lands posted with signs or purple paint. You must carry written permission on your person. If a hunting club has leased the land, hunters must have a copy of their hunting club membership and a copy of the landowner permission given to that club. Wildlife officers will enforce the Landowner Protection Act.
The Landowner Protection Act does not change general trespass laws nor have any effect on lands which are not posted. It does not repeal any local acts currently in effect that require written permission to hunt, fish or trap.
North Carolina law encourages owners of land to make property available for recreational use. The law states that a landowner who allows someone, without charge, onto their land for recreational purposes owes them the same duty of care they would owe a trespasser.
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.
It is unlawful to:
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.
Legal Trap Types (PDF)
County Fox Harvest Seasons Legislated by the N.C. General Assembly (PDF)
North Carolina offers some great fishing opportunities. If you are a resident or visitor to the state, please review the links below to ensure that you understand the rules, regulations and other guidelines.
Inland Fishing Regulations (PDF)
Regulatory authority between the Wildlife Resources Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. Inland game fish regulations include Manner of Taking, Seasons and Using Trotlines and Set-hooks.
Possession and Collection
Rules about possession, collection, taking and transporting nongame wildlife.
NC's State and Federally Listed Wildlife Species (pdf)
List of protected species in North Carolina
Possession and Collection
Facts about possession of wildlife.
Sale of Wildlife Regulations
Rules for buying and selling wildlife.
Regulations applying to wildlife that cause property damage.
If you require more specific information about a situation, you may contact the Wildlife Enforcement Division. For a legal opinion concerning a specific question, you may wish to consult a private attorney.