Definition of Terms

To understand the law governing the possession, buying and selling of wildlife, one must know and understand the definitions of certain key terms as they are used in the text of the statutes and rules dealing with this subject. These definitions may vary substantially from common usage. N.C.G.S. ß113-129 lists a number of the basic ones. Those relevant to these subjects are:
  1. Big Game -- Bear, wild turkey, and deer, not to include fallow deer raised for production and sale under G.S. 106-549.97.

  2. Fur Bearing Animals -- Beaver, mink, muskrat, nutria, otter, skunk, and weasel; bobcat, opossum, and raccoon when lawfully taken with traps.

  3. Game -- Game animals and game birds.

  4. Game Animals -- Bear, fox, rabbit, squirrel, wild boar, and deer, not to include fallow deer raised for production and sale under G.S. 106-549.97; bobcat, opossum, and raccoon except when trapped in accordance with provisions relating to fur-bearing animals.

  5. Game Birds -- Migratory game birds and upland game birds.

  6. Game Fish -- Inland game fish and such other game fish in coastal fishing waters as may be regulated by the Department.

  7. Migratory Birds -- All birds, whether or not raised in captivity, included in the terms of conventions between the United States and any foreign country for the protection of migratory birds and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as defined and listed in part 10 of Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

  8. Migratory Game Birds -- Those migratory birds for which open seasons are prescribed by the United States Department of the Interior and belonging to the following families:
    Anatidae (wild ducks, geese, brant, and swans);
    Columbidae (wild doves and pigeons);
    Gruidae (little brown cranes);
    Rallidae (rails, coots, and gallinules); and
    Scolopacidae (woodcock and snipe).
    The Wildlife Resources Commission is authorized to modify this definition from time to time by regulations only as necessary to keep it in conformity with governing federal laws and regulations pertaining to migratory game birds.

  9. Non-game Animals -- All wild animals except game and fur-bearing animals.

  10. Non-game Birds -- All wild birds except game birds.

  11. Non-game Fish -- All fish found in inland fishing waters other than inland game fish.

  12. Raptor -- A migratory bird of prey authorized under federal law and regulations for the taking of quarry by falconry.

  13. Upland Game Birds -- Grouse, pheasant, quail, and wild turkey.

  14. Wild Animals -- Game animals; furbearing animals; and all other wild mammals except marine mammals found in coastal fishing waters. In addition, this definition includes members of the following groups which are on the federal list of endangered or threatened species: wild amphibians, wild reptiles except sea turtles inhabiting and depending upon coastal fishing waters, and wild invertebrates except invertebrates declared to be pests under the Structural Pest Control Act of North Carolina of 1955 or the North Carolina Pesticide Law of 1971. Nothing in this definition is intended to abrogate G.S. 113-132(c), confer jurisdiction upon the Wildlife Resources Commission as to any subject exclusively regulated by any other agency, or to authorize the Wildlife Resources Commission by its regulations to supersede valid provision of law or regulation administered by any other agency.

  15. Wild Birds -- Migratory game birds; upland game birds; and all undomesticated feathered vertebrates. The Wildlife Resources Commission may by regulation list specific birds or classes of birds excluded from the definition of wild birds based upon the need for protection or regulation in the interests of conservation of wildlife resources.

  16. Wildlife -- Wild animals; wild birds; all fish found in inland fishing waters; and inland game fish. Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions of wildlife, wildlife resources, wild animals, wild birds, fish, and the like are deemed to include species normally wild, or indistinguishable from wild species, which are raised or kept in captivity. Nothing in this definition is intended to abrogate the exclusive authority given the Department of Agriculture to regulate the production and sale of pen-raised quail for food purposes.

  17. Wildlife Resources -- All wild birds; all wild mammals other than marine mammals found in coastal fishing waters; all fish found in inland fishing waters, including migratory saltwater fish; all inland game fish; all uncultivated or undomesticated plant and animal life inhabiting or depending upon inland fishing waters; waterfowl food plants wherever found, except that to the extent such plants in coastal fishing waters affect the conservation of concurrent jurisdiction as to such plants; all undomesticated terrestrial creatures; and the entire ecology supporting such birds, mammals, fish, plant and animal life, and creatures.