Sale of Wildlife

The Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) is charged with responsibility for the regulation and conservation of wildlife in North Carolina. It should be noted, however, that the federal government and, to a lesser degree, local governments also have regulations that deal with this subject. This response addresses only the WRC statutes and regulations pertaining to the sale of wildlife. Questions involving federal regulation should be addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Statutes pertaining to the sale of wildlife may be found in Chapter 113-291.3 of the North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS). Rules addressing this subject may be found in Title 15A of the North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC).

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General Sales

As a general rule wildlife, in whole or in part, may not be bought or sold in North Carolina although the law does make some exceptions. This broad prohibition is set out in N.C.G.S. §113-291.3 as follows:

"Live wildlife and the nests and eggs of wild birds may be taken, possessed, transported, bought, sold, imported, exported, or otherwise acquired or disposed of only as specifically authorized in this Subchapter or its implementing rules. The Wildlife Resources Commission may impose necessary reporting, permit, and tagging requirements in regulating activities involving live wildlife and the nests and eggs of wild birds. The Wildlife Resources Commission may charge a reasonable fee to defray the cost of any tagging procedure."

Exceptions

NCGS §113-291.3 and §113-291.4 set out some exceptions to the general rule that wildlife may not be bought and sold. They are:

- Lawfully taken wildlife may be sold to those persons who have licenses or permits from the WRC authorizing them to buy wildlife. For example, licensed fur dealers.

- Dead rabbits and squirrels and their edible parts may be sold if not sold for resale.

- Foxes taken with a depredation permit may be sold to a licensed fur dealer provided they are properly tagged according to Administrative Rules (see current Inland Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Regulations Digest).

- Lawfully taken non-game animals open to hunting and lawfully taken non-game fish may be sold. The only non-game animals presently open to hunting are groundhogs and coyotes. The only open season for non-game birds is crow and the sale of crow is illegal under federal law.

- Lawfully taken fur-bearing animals and their parts, including furs and pelts, may, subject to any tagging and reporting requirements, be possessed, transported, bought and sold to licensed fur dealers. Processed furs acquired through lawful channels within or without the State by persons other than fur dealers may be bought and sold.

- Mounted specimens of non-game animals and furbearers taken accidentally, may be bought or sold provided the proper documentation is available.

Special Provisions for Sale

As stated above, the North Carolina Administrative Code also contains provisions pertinent to the sale of wildlife. 15A NCAC 10B .0118 "Sale of Wildlife" contains the following provisions:

The sale of game birds and game animals or parts is prohibited, except that processed products of lawfully taken game birds and animals other than those made from edible portions may be sold provided that no label or advertisement identifies the product as a game bird, game animal, or part thereof and provided further that the game bird or game animal was lawfully acquired and the product is not readily identifiable as a game bird or game animal or part thereof.

The sale of edible portions or products of game birds and game animals is prohibited, except as may otherwise be provided (see preceding paragraph).

Sale of Fox

Any fox killed under a depredation permit may be disposed of in the same manner or upon compliance with the fur tagging requirements. The carcass or pelt may be sold to a licensed fur dealer. Any live fox taken under a depredation permit may be sold to a licensed controlled hunting preserve for fox.

Sale of Fur-bearing Animals

The carcass or pelt of any furbearing animal killed during the open season for taking such furbearing animal either accidentally or for control of depredations to property, whether with or without a permit, may be sold to a licensed fur dealer provided that the person offering such carcass or pelt for sale has a valid hunting or trapping license, provided further that, bobcats and otters may only be sold upon compliance with any fur tagging requirement.

Sale of Alligators

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Rule, processed meat and other parts of American alligators, which have been lawfully taken in a state in which there is an open season for harvesting alligators, may be possessed, bought and sold when such products are marketed in packages or containers which are distinctly labeled to indicate the state in which they were taken and the identity, location, and lawful authority of the processor or distributor.