Definitions of “wildlife” in the General Statues vary. For purposes of this section, “wildlife” is defined as all wild animals found in North Carolina. With respect to possession and collection of wildlife, the Statutes generally distinguish between dead wildlife, live wildlife, and exotic wildlife.
Dead Wildlife: Dead wildlife, lawfully taken, may be possessed and transported without a permit. See Hunting and Trapping regulations for legal manner of take, seasons, bag limits, and possession limits. An individual may accept the gift of lawfully taken wildlife provided that it does not cause them to exceed the applicable possession limits for that species. If the person receiving the gift notes and preserves in writing the name and address of the donor and under what license or exemption from license requirement the wildlife was taken, they may possess that wildlife without a permit.
Dead wildlife may be possessed also under any number of special permits or licenses. You should refer to the terms of that permit or license to determine the legal requirements. Contact the Wildlife Management Division office at 888-248-6834 for the appropriate permit or license.
Live Wildlife: Possession of live wildlife generally requires a permit or license. Contact the Wildlife Management Division office at 888-248-6834 for the appropriate permit or license.
There are a few exceptions:
- The law allows for taking of bait fish and freshwater mussels in certain situations. See Possession and Collection of Nongame Wildlife for more information.
- Individuals may hold less than five reptiles or less than 25 amphibians not on the endangered, threatened or special concern lists and not including Carolina pygmy rattlesnakes, timber (canebrake) rattlesnakes and Eastern coral snakes without a Captivity License or Permit. See Amphibian and Reptile Possession for more information.
Exotic Wildlife: It is unlawful to import, transport, export, purchase, possess, or sell any species of Tongueless or African Clawed Frog (Xenopus spp.), or to stock them in the public or private waters or lands of North Carolina. (Exceptions may be made in certain situations for qualified research institutions). See Possession and Collection of Nongame Wildlife for more information.