Wildlife Commission Email Updates

 

Get the latest from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission sent right to your inbox. Subscribe to one or all the lists!

  • N.C. Wildlife Update: Our monthly e-newsletter designed to keep North Carolina hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts informed of agency-related news on hunting, fishing, trapping, and boating, legislative updates, news releases, classes, workshops and other events hosted or sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
  • Conservation News: Launching soon!  Delve into the latest updates on wildlife conservation projects, habitat restoration endeavors, and success stories that highlight the resilience of North Carolina's wildlife and habitats. This newsletter is your window into the tireless work of the NCWRC in safeguarding the state's wildlife for future generations.  Stay informed about upcoming events, educational programs, and opportunities to get involved in conservation efforts across North Carolina.
  • Game Land Updates: Immerse yourself in the untamed beauty of our state's game lands as we provide you with the latest updates, insider information, and captivating stories surrounding the diverse habitats and outdoor adventures they offer.  This newsletter is your gateway to understanding the importance of these carefully managed areas for hunting, fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation.  Issues will showcase the NCWRC's commitment to conservation, habitat restoration, and sustainable game management practices. Learn about wildlife habitats and the unique wildlife that call these game lands home and gain insights into how responsible outdoor recreation contributes to the overall well-being of these ecosystems.
  • NCWRC Fishing Education Team: Receive a weekly e-newsletter on the latest fishing classes offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The Fishing and Aquatic Education Team is responsible for developing fun and educational programs for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Classes are free.
  • NCWRC Rulemaking: Periodic emails advising the public on pending rulemaking by the agency.
  • Survey Participation: Embark on a journey of exploration and conservation with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission by joining our survey community. Your voice matters, and together, we can make a positive impact on the diverse and vibrant wildlife that calls North Carolina home.  Signing up for our surveys opens the door to exciting opportunities to be a part of our meaningful initiatives. Whether you're a seasoned outdoors enthusiast, a nature lover, or just curious about wildlife, our surveys cater to all levels of experience. From birdwatching observations to habitat assessments, our surveys cover a wide range of topics.

 

Note: The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission values your privacy. The email you provide will never be shared or sold to a third party. To unsubscribe, manage your email subscriptions and profile please click the (Manage Your Subscriptions) link at the bottom of every email we send. For further unsubscribe or email profile assistance, email unsubscribe@ncwildlife.org.

2024 NC Wildlife Updates

Jan. 26, 2024 Wildlife Update

Public Comment on 2024-25 Proposed Rules Ends Jan. 30

The public comment period for the proposed changes to the 2024-2025 inland fishing, hunting, trapping, and game land regulations and other regulated activities will close Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Comments can be submitted online by email and by mail. Details on the proposed regulations and where to mail comments are available here.

 

Special Waterfowl Hunt Days Scheduled for Feb. 3, Feb. 10

Youth and Veterans/Military Waterfowl Days are scheduled for Feb. 3 and Feb. 10. Both categories of hunters must follow the rules and regulations established for those days as outlined in the Migratory Game Bird Season section of the 2023-2024 North Carolina Regulations DigestNote: The same bag limits during the regular waterfowl season apply for the Youth and Veterans/Military Waterfowl Days.

 

Ways to Help At-Risk Wildlife Species and Their Habitats

Donate All or Portion of Your NC State Income Tax this Season

When you file your North Carolina income taxes this year, please consider donating all or a portion of your refund to the N.C. Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund. Participation is easy: check line 30 on your North Carolina state income tax form; or, if filing through an online tax preparation software, enter the contribution amount when prompted to “N.C. Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund". Your contributions will support research and conservation management projects for the state’s most vulnerable and at-risk wildlife populations.  

 

Round Up on Your Go Outdoors Purchases to Conserve North Carolina's Diverse Wildlife!

Tax time isn't the only time you can donate to help wildlife species and their habitats in North Carolina. Every time you purchase a license, renew a vessel registration or buy merchandise on Go Outdoors North Carolina, you have the option to "round up" your purchase to the nearest 5 dollars. These small donations add up to big results for our Wildlife Diversity Program, which conducts projects and programs that benefit nongame species — animals without an open hunting, fishing, or trapping season — as well as their habitats. North Carolina is home to more than 700 nongame species, which include songbirds, reptiles and amphibians, freshwater mussels, fish and mammals. Even better, game animals, such as wild turkey, bear and quail, also directly benefit from these donations since they share the same habitats as nongame animals.

 

Comment on Virginia Big-Eared Bat Conservation Plan to Help Declining Populations

The Wildlife Commission is requesting public comments for its Virginia Big-eared Bat Conservation Plan through March 1. The conservation plan outlines long-term protections to encourage Virginia-Big-eared Bat (VBEB) population growth through protection of maternity and hibernation sites. These protections include continued monitoring and research of the species and maintaining caves. The VBEB is a federally- and state-listed species that has experience steep population declines due to habitat loss, and cave vandalism, as well as an increase in human activity in maternity roosts and hibernation areas.

Read the Plan here

Comment on the Plan here

 

Learn more about the many ways our staff are helping nongame and endangered wildlife species and their habitats by reading our quarterly reports.

 

January/February Issue of Wildlife in North Carolina Now Available

Check out the FREE article, "Shotguns, Rifles, Hounds and Heart" in the January/February issue of Wildlife in North Carolina an entertaining and engaging read about the Piedmont-based Riverside Sportsman Club, whose members have carried on the traditions of hunting, fishing, camaraderie and ethics for nearly 50 years.

For as little as $10/month, you get North Carolina-specific articles about hunting, fishing and boating, as well as the latest in conservation, habitat and wildlife diversity news delivered right to your inbox or mailbox.

 

Prescribed Burns Benefit Wildlife

Each winter, the Wildlife Commission conducts prescribed burns on its game lands to restore and maintain wildlife habitat. Don’t be alarmed if you see smoke on a game land. Learn more about the benefits of burning by watching our 2-minute video.

 

Attention Bear and Turkey Hunters!

e-Bear Stamp Holders: Please Take Survey

Please help the Wildlife Commission make the best management decisions for black bears and bear hunters by participating in the annual Bear e-stamp Survey. Your participation helps biologists determine if changes in harvest levels are due to changes in hunting methods, the number of bear hunters or actual changes in the bear population. This information will assist them in evaluating both current and future regulations and statutes, as well as management options. 

Even if you did not hunt for bears during the 2023 season, your response is very important.

 

Turkey Hunters: Get Ready for the 2024 Season with these FREE Webinars

To help new and knowledgeable turkey hunters prepare for the upcoming seasons, which start April 6 (youth) and April 13 (statewide), the Wildlife Commission is offering three FREE Turkey Hunting webinars in February. Attend one or all three. All webinars run from 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Participants must preregister.

Feb. 27: Turkey Biology for Hunters, Regulations, Where to Hunt, Scouting

Register here

Feb. 28: Firearms, Ammo, Clothing, Footwear, Misc. Equipment

Register here

Feb. 29: Hunting Techniques and Strategies

Register here

 

Can't make the webinar? No worries, we've got you covered!

Webinar recordings will be available on the Wildlife Commission's YouTube channel in early March, just in time for turkey season!

 

What's In Season

Download or bookmark the 2023-24 Inland Fishing, Hunting & Trapping Regulations Digest for quick reference.

Inland Fishing

No closed seasons on inland game fishes, with exceptions

No closed seasons for nongame fishes taken from inland waters, with exceptions

Small Game and Other Seasons

Bobcat, Grouse, Opossum, Rabbit, Raccoon and Squirrel

Quail, Grouse and Pheasant (male pheasant only)

Crow (on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday of each week)

Migratory Game Birds

Canada Goose (resident)

Doves

Common Snipe, Woodcock

Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, Sea Ducks, Brant, Tundra Swan and Light Geese (includes Snow Geese and Ross's Geese)

 

 

Nominations Sought for Annual Conservation Award

Know someone who has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to sustaining nongame populations and diversity in North Carolina? If so, consider nominating him or her for the Wildlife Commission's Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award. This prestigious award is given annually to people who are leaders in wildlife diversity conservation. See past winners and learn more.

 

New Better Fishing with Two Bald Biologists Podcast: Fishing 101

Listen in as our two bald biologists discuss the basics of fishing tackle and how to get started fishing with minimal expense. If you have never fished and are thinking about starting, whether for yourself or with your kids, this is the podcast for you. Listen all the way to the end to see how you could be eligible for a chance to win a Better Fishing With Two Bald Biologist swag bag!  

 

Last Call for 2023-24 Photo Competition

Wildlife in North Carolina’s Photo Competition closes Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. Amateur and professional photographers who subscribe to the magazine may submit entries. There are two youth categories as well. The grand prize is $200 and the winning photo featured on the July/August 2024 cover of Wildlife in North Carolina. Competition rules are available online.

 

Nongame Wildlife Advisory Committee Welcomes New Members

Todd Ewing (left) and David G. Cooper (right) have replaced long-time members Dr. David Webster and Marquette Crockett on the agency's Nongame Wildlife Advisory Committee. The 15-member NWAC advises the agency on matters related to the conservation of nongame wildlife in the state. Ewing, who lives in Fuquay-Varina, is a former assistant chief of the Aquatic Wildlife Diversity program for the agency and now works for the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, while Cooper, from Cary, is a senior environmental scientist at VHB Engineering, Inc.

 
 
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2023 N.C. Wildlife Updates

Dec. 21, 2023 NC Wildlife Update

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for taking this wild ride through 2023 with us! Sharing a 40-second video filled with some incredible moments that make our work here so worthwhile and fulfilling! We look forward to sharing our wildlife adventures in 2024 with you.

 

Subscribe or Renew Your Magazine Subscription this Month for a Chance to Win TWO Great Prize Packs!

Subscribe or renew your subscription to Wildlife in North Carolina magazine this month for as little as $10 a year for two chances to win a fabulous prize pack of outdoor gear worth more than $500 and a grand prize pack worth $1,700!

Or gift someone special a subscription to qualify!

No purchase necessary. See official rules for details. Subscriptions/entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2023. 

 

2024-25 Proposed Regulation Changes - We Want to Hear from You

The public comment period for the 2024-2025 proposed regulation changes related to wildlife management, inland fisheries, game lands and other regulated actives is now open through Jan. 30, 2024. Comments can be submitted online, by email, by mail and in-person at the January 2024 public hearings.

Public Hearing Schedule

Provide your comments at one of four public hearings being held in January. All hearings begin at 7 p.m. The schedule is:

Jan. 9, 2024 - Piedmont Region

Southwest Randolph High School (Auditorium)

1641 Hopewell Friends Road, Asheboro, NC 27205

 

Jan. 11, 2024 - Mountain Region

Haywood Community College (Auditorium)

185 Freedlander Drive, Clyde, NC 28721

 

Jan. 17, 2024 - Coastal Region

Craven County Courthouse

302 Broad Street, New Bern, NC 28560

 

Jan. 18, 2024 - Virtual

(pre-registration required)  

 

CWD By the Numbers as of Dec. 15, 2023

The Wildlife Commission continues to test hunter-harvested deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) statewide. As of Dec. 15, 2023, biologists have:

  • Collected tissue samples from 25,368 deer
  • Received “Not Detected” results from 8,187 of those samples
  • Received “Positive” results for five samples (3 Cumberland County, 1 Johnston County, 1 Franklin County)

Biologists expect to receive results on the remaining 17,176 samples in the next four to six weeks and will send out a report on those samples once testing is completed.

The three positive positive samples from Cumberland County this year have come from deer that lived within 8 miles of the initial CWD-positive deer that was detected in Cumberland County last year. This cluster of CWD-positive samples is east of I95 and north of the Cape Fear River.

Get Your CWD Test Results Online

Hunters can verify their submitted CWD sample was received and check their test results by visiting their Go Outdoors North Carolina account. Once they log on, they can see their testing results in the CWD Testing column on the Harvest Reports webpage. Testing results will show as "Pending," "Not Detected," "Inconclusive" or "Positive." Pending results will show as soon as the sample is processed and a record is created. The column will be updated when the testing results are received from the lab.

All hunters who submit a CWD sample will receive an email to the address listed on their Go Outdoors account when agency staff receive the results. The age of the deer, along with other harvest registration information, will also be posted in the harvest history table.

 

What's In Season

Download or bookmark the 2023-24 Inland Fishing, Hunting & Trapping Regulations Digest for quick reference.

Inland Fishing

No closed seasons on inland game fishes, with exceptions

No closed seasons for nongame fishes taken from inland waters, with exceptions

Big Game

White-tailed Deer 

Black Bear

Small Game and Other Seasons

Bobcat, Grouse, Opossum, Rabbit, Raccoon and Squirrel

Quail, Grouse and Pheasant (male pheasant only)

Crow (on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday of each week; Christmas Day and New Year's Day)

Migratory Game Birds

Canada Goose (resident)

Doves

Common Snipe, Woodcock

Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, Sea Ducks, Tundra Swan and Light Geese (includes Snow Geese and Ross's Geese)

 

 

Wildlife Commission Provides Hunting Safety Tips Amid Increase in Firearms-Related Incidents

So far this hunting season, five fatalities involving hunting with a firearm have been reported, which is more than the past three seasons combined with only one fatality occurring between 2020-2022. Fourteen hunting-related incidents have occurred thus far in 2023, and 11 of them involved a firearm. The Wildlife Commission reminds hunters to practice firearm safety when hunting or using firearms:

  1. Positively identify target before pulling the trigger.  
  2. Always point a firearm in a safe direction.  
  3. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded and never assume it’s unloaded. 
  4. Use binoculars, rather than a rifle scope, to identify the target.  
  5. Keep finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot. 
  6. Be sure of the target­ and that there are no houses, vehicles, powerlines, livestock or people in front of or behind it. 
  7. Avoid the use of alcohol and drugs as they may affect judgement when hunting. 
  8. Comply with blaze orange laws as required. 
 

T'is the Season for Trout Fishing in Western, Piedmont Waters

More than 66,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout, all 10 inches or longer, are being stocked through Dec. 21 in 44 small impoundments across the central and western regions of the state. Anglers can harvest up to seven trout per day in the impoundments — with no bait restrictions and no minimum size limits. 

 

Take the Top Shot Challenge in 2024

The Wildlife Commission challenges you to participate in the 2024 Top Shot Challenge, a 12-month, themed target shooting program that is being offered at six agency shooting ranges across the state, beginning Jan. 1. Three categories will be offered based on the firearm used: rifle of any caliber, handgun of any caliber and .22 caliber rifles and pistols. Participants may attempt the challenge once per day, per month for each themed challenge until they complete it.

 

The Billion Dollar Impact of Trout Fishing in North Carolina

Each dollar anglers spend to fish for mountain trout in North Carolina returns $1.93 to the state's economy and results in a $1.38 billion impact, according to a recently completed evaluation by the Wildlife Commission on the socioeconomic aspects of trout fishing in the Tar Heel state. The study explores angler equipment and trip-related expenditures, as well as angler motivation for participating in trout fishing, satisfaction levels and challenges of trout fishing in NC, and feedback on the agency's management of trout.

 

F-1 Hybrid Largemouth Bass Stocking

Thanks to a generous donation of $30,000 by Bass Anglers for NC Lakes in October, the Wildlife Commission will purchase F1 Hybrid Bass fingerlings to stock in lakes Norman, Jordan and Gaston as part of a multi-year F1 Hybrid Bass stocking project. F1 Hybrid are a cross between a Largemouth Bass and a Florida Bass. These hybrids have the potential to increase the quantity of trophy bass in reservoirs. Bass Anglers for NC Lakes plan to continue raising funds in 2024. Watch a 3-minute video of an overview of the project.

 

2023 Hard and Soft Mast Report Now Available

The Wildlife Commission has released its annual mast report, an overview of data on the abundance of important natural foods (e.g., acorns, berries) for black bears and other wildlife. The availability of these foods influences bear movements, survivorship and reproduction. The data are also used to monitor oak regeneration and habitat management efforts on public lands. Visit the Commission's website for hard and soft mass reports since 2003.

 

From left to right: Wildlife Commission Chairman, Monty Crump, Wildlife Management Chief, Brad Howard (second from right) and Wildlife Commission Executive Director Cameron Ingram (far right) present the Lawrence Diedrick Small Game Awards to Richard Broadwell (left photo) and Dr. Theron Terhune of Orton Plantation.

Wildlife Commission Presents Small Game Awards

The Broadwell Family of Bladen County and Orton Plantation in Brunswick County are the 2023 recipients of the Lawrence G. Diedrick Small Game Awards, presented annually by the Wildlife Commission.  Richard Broadwell accepted the individual award and Dr. Theron Terhune, Orton’s lead research scientist, accepted the organization/group award during the commissioners' meeting on Dec. 7.

“Supporting habitat conservation and management is vital to the sustainability of wildlife for our state. When people and organizations step up, as the Broadwells and Orton have done, and provide opportunities for our environment to thrive, it is important to acknowledge them for their generosity and commitment.”

Brad Howard, Wildlife Management Division Chief

 

 

The Latest Better Fishing with Two Bald Biologists Podcast

NC Wildlife’s Two Bald Biologists talk kayak fishing with the North Carolina Kayak Fishing Association’s president, Mark Patterson, an avid and diverse kayak angler. We cover fishing for everything from Redear Sunfish to Flathead Catfish. If you are interested in getting into kayak fishing or are currently floating down a creek, this is the podcast for you. The conversation even touches on a fish biologist’s stance on a non-fish creature, the elusive Sasquatch. 

 

Attend a Free Basic Fly-fishing Workshop in Fayetteville

The Wildlife Commission is conducting two free basic fly-fishing workshops at its Pechmann Fishing Education Center, in Fayetteville, on Jan. 6 and Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

These workshops are perfect for those with zero experience, those looking to refine their skills and everyone in between by teaching tactile and visual cues that are easy to understand. Rigorously trained and passionate volunteer instructors will guide participants through the roll cast and basic cast using Joan Wulff's method of fly-casting instruction, which provides the beginning fly-angler with the foundations for more advanced casting.

Participants must be at least 13, and any who are 15 or younger will need an on-site parent or guardian. Please wear close-toed shoes, a hat with a visor and eyewear (glasses or polarized sunglasses are acceptable).

All fly-rods and necessary equipment are provided.

Register for the Jan. 6 workshop

Register for the Jan. 27 workshop

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Nov. 15, 2023 NC Wildlife Update

Expansion Begins for Wildlife Law Enforcement Training Facility in Moore County

In October, the Wildlife Commission broke ground on a $10 million law enforcement training facility expansion at the Samarcand Training Academy. The expansion will include a 20,000-square foot, multi-floor structure with housing to accommodate about 50 agency personnel, along with a 1,200-square foot classroom and a tactical training room. The Wildlife Commission has been training its recruits at Samarcand through a lease agreement with the Department of Public Safety since 2021. The expansion should be completed by August 2024.

 

16 New Wildlife Officer Positions Added to Roster

The Wildlife Law Enforcement Division will increase its current number of officers from 208 to 224 after the N.C. General Assembly approved funding for the additional positions in October. This is the first increase in officer positions in 46 years and comes in response to North Carolina's population growth, as well as increases in annual vessel registrations and hunting, fishing and trapping license sales. The application period for the next Wildlife Law Enforcement Basic Academy will begin May 24, 2024. Learn more about careers in Wildlife Law Enforcement.

“Adding 16 new officer positions to our Wildlife Law Enforcement Division, along with the extra capacity to train officers, will allow us to better protect and conserve our state’s wildlife, habitats and natural resources. It will also allow us to keep our public safe on the waterways and the lands that everyone enjoys.”  

- Cameron Ingram, Executive Director, Wildlife Commission

 

November is National Wild Game Meat Donation Month

Deer Hunters: Donate A Portion of Your Harvest to the North Carolina Hunters for the Hungry Program

‘Tis the season to give . . . and with prices increasing on just about everything, including food, some less fortunate folks have been hit hard. One way to help out fellow North Carolinians is by donating your legally harvested deer to the N.C. Hunters for the Hungry program. Drop off stations at approved meat processors across the state make it convenient and easy to donate.

Deer taken to processors must be in acceptable condition and in a form compliant with agency transport rules.

Any deer harvested within a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance area must be tested prior to donation or the deer's head must be provided to the meat processing location for sample collection to test for CWD.

 

What's in Season

Download or bookmark the 2023-24 Inland Fishing, Hunting & Trapping Regulations Digest for quick reference.

Inland Fishing

No closed seasons on inland game fishes, with exceptions

No closed seasons for nongame fishes taken from inland waters, with exceptions

Big Game

White-tailed Deer 

Black Bear

Small Game and Other Seasons

Bobcat, Grouse, Opossum, Rabbit, Raccoon & Squirrel

Quail, Grouse and Pheasant (male pheasant only)

Migratory Game Birds

Canada Goose (resident)

Doves, King & Clapper Rails, Sora & Virginia Rails, Gallinule & Moorhens

Common Snipe

Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, Sea Ducks, Tundra Swan, Light Geese (includes Snow Geese and Ross's Geese)

 

Get Your 2024 Wildlife Calendars Before They're Gone!

Our stunning 2024 Wildlife Calendar makes the perfect gift for everyone on your gift-giving list this holiday season. Each calendar is $9 and can be purchased on our new Go Outdoors North Carolina e-store. The e-store makes it easier than ever to order your calendar, plus other Wildlife Commission-exclusive products, such as hats and mugs.

Order calendars by Nov. 26 to guarantee delivery by Dec. 25.

 

Bundle Up for Only $15 - For a Limited Time Only!

Our stunning 2024 Wildlife Calendar with a print subscription to our award-winning magazine, Wildlife in North Carolina, is back by popular demand. This $15 gift bundle includes our calendar with gorgeous artwork, plus our bi-monthly magazine chocked full of inspiring articles about hunting, fishing, boating, wildlife watching, recipes, and so much more.  

To receive the magazine and calendar combination offer, select your subscriber status and hit continue. For current customers, please sign in. For new customers, please create an account. Current subscriptions can be renewed but not upgraded through the combination offer. Available with new subscriptions and renewals. Gifting options are available. 

Offer ends Nov. 26 or while supplies last.

For questions or information about the gift bundle, please call 800-786-2721 or email josh.leventhal@ncwildlife.org

 

Subscribe to Wildlife in North Carolina and Enter to Win!

Bundling the 2024 Wildlife Calendar AND the Wildlife in North Carolina magazine is always a great deal. An even better deal is the chance to win great prizes when you purchase or renew a magazine subscription this month! Anyone who subscribes or renews a subscription is automatically entered into a drawing for some great outdoor gear, including a rifle scope, portable heater and knife set. Visit ncwildlife.org/WINC to learn more and enter. You can also get ready for the start of deer season with this complimentary article (flipping book) from Wildlife in North Carolina about permit-only waterfowl hunts on Eastern game lands.

 

Winter Trout Stockings Set for November and December

More than 67,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout, all 10 inches or longer, are being stocked from Nov. 29 - Dec. 21 in 44 small impoundments across the central and western regions of the state. Anglers can harvest up to seven trout per day in the impoundments — with no bait restrictions and no minimum size limits. 

 

Hunter Information

Deer and Bear License and Privilege Requirements

With deer and bear hunting now in season, you may be wondering what licenses and privileges you need to purchase to be in compliance. We've broken it down for you below, and you can also find the information on our Hunting, Fishing, Trapping License page.

Resident Bear Hunting

  • License with hunting and Big Game privileges – Lifetime or Annual - Comprehensive Hunting, Sportsman, and Unified Sportsman License include the Big Game Privilege or the Resident Hunt and Resident Hunt/Inland Fish Comb License can be purchased along with the Big Game Privilege sold separately
  • Bear Management E-Stamp – Individuals who obtained a Lifetime License with the Big Game Privilege prior to July 1, 2013, are eligible for a no-cost Bear Management E-Stamp

Resident Deer Hunting

  • License with hunting and Big Game privileges – Lifetime or Annual – Comprehensive Hunting, Sportsman, and Unified Sportsman License include the Big Game Privilege or the Resident Hunt and Resident Hunt/Inland Fish Comb License can be purchased along with the Big Game Privilege sold separately
  • Big Game Harvest Report Card – Deer Tags 4 Antlerless and 2 Antlered – Included with license containing Big Game Privilege

Nonresident Bear Hunting

  • Nonresident hunting license and Nonresident Big Game Privilege - Lifetime, Annual, or 10-Day – Nonresident hunting license can be purchased in combination with the Nonresident Big Game Privilege or a Lifetime License containing the Big Game Privilege
  • Nonresident Bear License – Nonresidents who obtained a nonresident or resident lifetime license containing the Big Game Privilege prior to May 24, 1994, are exempt from obtaining the Nonresident Bear License
  • Bear Management E-Stamp - Individuals who obtained a resident or nonresident Lifetime License with the Big Game Privilege prior to July 1, 2013, are eligible for a no-cost Bear Management E-Stamp

Nonresident Deer Hunting

  • Nonresident hunting license and Nonresident Big Game Privilege - Lifetime, Annual, or 10-Day – Nonresident hunting license can be purchased in combination with the Nonresident Big Game Privilege or a Lifetime License containing the Big Game Privilege
  • Big Game Harvest Report Card – Deer Tags 4 Antlerless and 2 Antlered – Included with license containing Big Game Privilege
 

Reporting and tagging your big game harvest have never been easier with the new Go Outdoors North Carolina app for IOS and Android! Tap "Learn More" to download the app and get started!

 

Reminder - Turn In Poachers (TIP)

The NC WILDTIP reporting system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Tips can be submitted via an online form, text and our WILDTIP app for Android devices. The TIP (Turn-in-Poachers) Program pays rewards to persons who provide information that result in the arrest and conviction of persons who have committed certain wildlife offenses. Rewards range from $100 to $1000 depending on the severity of the crime and the fines assessed by the court. Information on reporting a tip along with a complete list of eligible violations.

 

Get the Latest on CWD Numbers in North Carolina

Visit our CWD website, KNOW CWD, to get the lastest information on how many deer have been tested and how many positive results have been found so far in the state. Also on the website are an interactive map, which delineates the 18 counties that fall within CWD Surveillance areas; information on testing stations; statewide CWD regulations; and much more.

 

Get Your CWD Testing Results Online

Hunters now have an online CWD testing tool to verify their submitted CWD sample was received and to check their test results. Once they log into their Go Outdoors North Carolina account, hunters can see their testing results in the CWD Testing column on the Harvest Reports webpage. Testing results will show Pending, Not Detected, Inconclusive or Positive. Pending Results will show as soon as the sample is processed and a record is created. The column will be updated when the testing results are received from the lab.

All hunters who submit a CWD sample will receive an email to the address listed on their Go Outdoors account when agency staff get the results.  

 

First Case of CWD Confirmed in Johnston County

In October, a doe harvested in Johnston County tested postive for CWDthe first case of CWD confirmed in the county. CWD is a fatal disease in deer that spreads by infected saliva, urine and feces of live deer or the movement of deer carcasses and carcass parts. The Wildlife Commission recommends that whole deer carcasses and high-risk carcass parts remain in Johnston County or be taken to a processor or taxidermist participating in the Cervid Cooperator Progam in an adjacent county for proper carcass disposal and test submission.

 

New Invasive Aquatic Species Online Reporting Tool

With the recent discovery of two new invasive aquatic species in North Carolina, the Wildlife Commission has unveiled an online reporting tool that people can use to report any unusual fish, crayfish, mussel or snail they see in the wild.

North Carolina is home to diverse and unique aquatic wildlife, and introduced aquatic nuisance species, such as Zebra Mussels and Apple Snails, can cause significant ecological and economic harm. In September, Zebra Mussels were found in a private waterbody in Iredell County — the first time they've been detected in the wild in the state; and last month, Apple Snails and their eggs were found in the Lumber River, the first known population in North Carolina. 

What Can You Do To Help Protect Our Waters?

In addition to using the online reporting tool to report any suspected sightings of aquatic nuisance species of concern, people can protect our state waters from unwanted species by:

Cleaning: Equipment of all aquatic plants, animals and mud. 

 

Draining: Water from boats, live wells, bait buckets and all equipment. 

 

Drying: All equipment thoroughly 

Never Moving: Fish, plants or other organisms from one body of water to another. 

Because of the destructive impacts Apple Snails, Zebra Mussels and other invasive species can have on our native species and the environment, it is unlawful to transport, purchase, possess, sell or stock these species in public or private waters in NC. 

 

First Conviction of Death by Impaired Boating in North Carolina

A fatal boating collision investigation led by Wildlife Commission law enforcement officers has resulted in the first conviction of Death by Impaired Boating in North Carolina, also known as Sheyenne's Law. Matthew Ferster, of Brunswick County, pled guilty to three counts of Death by Impaired Boating in a March 2020 boating collision that resulted in the deaths of Jennifer Hayes, 26, Megan Lynn, 21, and Garret Smith, 21, all of Columbus County.

Sheyenne's Law increased the penalty for impaired boating that results in a death or serious injury from a misdemeanor to a felony. It was named in memory of Sheyenne Marshall, a 17-year-old from Concord, who was killed by an impaired boater as she was knee-boarding on Lake Norman in July 2015.

 

Restoring Aquatic Species to North Carolina Waters

Under a landmark conservation agreement signed by the Wildlife Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2022, fisheries biologists with the Wildlife Commission are working to reintroduce 21 aquatic species into NC waters where they were historically found. The 21 priority species include federally and state-listed species or those that are proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. In October, two species — the Roanoke Logperch and the Magnificent Ramshorn — were the first to be reintroduced under the 50-year Safe Harbor Agreement. The Roanoke Logperch is a tiny fish found only along the Virginia and North Carolina border in the Chowan and Roanoke River basins. It was stocked into the upper Mayo River in Rockingham County to repopulate that portion of the river. The Magnificent Ramshorn (photo above) is a snail found nowhere else in the world except the lower Cape Fear River basin in North Carolina. It is thought to be extirpated from the wild, and only three captive populations are known to exist. It was stocked in a pond on a NCWRC game land in Brunswick County in an effort to reestablish a wild population.

Learn more about Safe Harbor Agreement and the efforts to restore these imperiled aquatic species into North Carolina waters by visiting Restoring Aquatic Species to North Carolina.

 

Fish Attractors Added to Piedmont Lakes to Improve Angler Success

Inland Fisheries Division personnel have been busy this fall adding fish attractors to several popular fishing lakes in the Piedmont. Thanks to a generous donation by the Kevin VanDam FoundationMossBack Fish Habitat and MinnKota, staff with the Inland Fisheries and Land and Water Access divisions added MossBack fish attractors throughout Jordan Lake to concentrate fish and provide anglers with better opportunities to catch fish. Fisheries staff also placed several PVC spool fish attractors and cut-and-cabled shoreline trees in lakes Cammack, Rogers, Farmer, Mackintosh and Randleman, which provide cover for fish where there was little to none before.

 

NEW Two Bald Biologists Podcast Drops

Overlooked Bass Fishing in Coastal North Carolina with Wildlife Commission Biologist TD VanMiddlesworth

Coastal North Carolina is often an overlooked destination for Largemouth Bass anglers. Wildlife Commission Fisheries Biologist TD VanMiddlesworth joins Corey & Ben to talk about bass and bass fishing. They’ll discuss coastal river bass surveys, hurricane fish kill recovery, and fishing the herring run. You may be surprised to learn just how good the fishing is at the coast.    

 

Free Upland Game Hunting Webinar Offered Dec. 7

A free Getting Started Outdoors webinar for upland game (i.e., quail, woodcock, snipe, etc.) will be offered on Dec. 7 from 7-8:30 p.m. The last 30 minutes will be a question-and-answer session.

During the webinar, participants will learn about upland game bird biology, habits and habitat for quail, woodcock, grouse and snipe identification, hunting methods, care and use of bird dogs, firearms and ammunition selection, specialty clothing, and bird cleaning and cooking.

 

Free DIY Fishing - Custom Crappie Jigs Workshop Offered Nov. 21

The Wildlife Commission is offering a free workshop on creating custom crappie jigs on Nov. 21 from 6-8 p.m. at the Marion Fish Hatchery in Marion, NC. This hands-on class is tailored for fishing enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you're a seasoned angler or just starting out, designing your own crappie jigs can be a game-changer on the water.

What you need to know:

  • All necessary materials and equipment are provided.
  • Must be at least 12 years old to register, but those 15 and younger will need an onsite participating parent or guardian.
 

David H. Allen (middle) received the Thomas L. Quay Award on Oct. 26. Flanking him from left to right are Wildlife Commission Chairman, Monty Crump, and Wildlife Commission Director, Cameron Ingram. Right: Allen installs an artificial nesting cavity for red-cockaded woodpeckers on a coastal area game land.

David H. Allen Receives Prestigious Wildlife Diversity Award

David H. Allen, of New Bern, received the 2023 Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award during the Wildlife Commission's board meeting on Oct. 26, in Raleigh. Allen, a retired Wildlife Diversity Program Supervisor for the agency, was selected as the 18th recipient of the award due in part to his unique and innovative conservation ideas to help restore imperiled species, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, which he continues in retirement, as well as other nongame species, including the Neuse River Waterdog, gopher frog and sea turtles.

The Wildlife Commission presents the Quay Award annually to individuals who make outstanding contributions to wildlife diversity in North Carolina and who are considered leaders in wildlife resource conservation.

 

Hunter Feedback Wanted

Avid Grouse, Quail and Rabbit Hunters

The Wildlife Commission is seeking feedback from avid grouse, quail and rabbit hunters this season. If you would like to participate, please complete the avid hunter form below. Volunteers will receive survey postcards before each season to record their hunting information. Participants will receive an annual summary report at the end of the season. These surveys assist biologists in the long-term monitoring and management of these species in our state.

Avid Hunter Form

Previous harvest reports are available for grouse and quail.

 

Deer Hunters

Deer Hunter Observation Survey

If you still hunt deer, or hunt from a stand, we’d like to know about your wildlife observations. Please complete this online enrollment form and we will mail you a paper survey to fill out and return. Thank you in advance for providing valuable data for state wildlife management survey projects. 

Deer Hunter Observation Survey Enrollment Form

 

Deer Jawbone Submission Survey

Hunters who are interested in participating in the Wildlife Commission's Deer Jawbone Submission program should submit a Deer Jawbone Submission Enrollment Form. Volunteers will receive two postage-paid envelopes. They should submit dried jawbones from does and bucks of all ages, not just large deer.

Deer Jawbone Submission Enrollment Form

 

Thank you for your support!

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Oct. 11, 2023 NC Wildlife Update

What's In Season Now

Fall is officially here! View the North Carolina Regulations Digest online to see what you can hunt, fish and trap this time of year. Check dates carefully for your region.

In-season this month:  

 

Wildlife Commission Has New Location and Exhibit at the 2023 N.C. State Fair

 

The Wildlife Commission will be at 2023 N.C. State Fair again this year but with a few changes to our exhibit and location. We will no longer have the pellet gun range because we were unable to obtain the necessary equipment to operate the range. Our new open-air, self-guided exhibit will be located just inside Gate 7 in an area up from the N.C. Forest Service. It will showcase equipment used by our wildlife professionals and will include information on how the equipment is used to help meet North Carolina’s conservation needs. 

Also, be sure to visit our Wildlife Enforcement Officers at Safety City, located by Gate 10, to pick up our perennially popular Wildife in North Carolina button, which features the northern cardinal.

See map of our exhibit locations.

The N.C. State Fair, located at 4285 Trinity Road in Raleigh, will run from Oct. 12-Oct. 22.

 

Subscribe to Wildlife in North Carolina and Enter to Win!

Now is a great time to subscribe to Wildlife in North Carolina magazine! Anyone who subscribes or renews a subscription this month is automatically entered into a drawing for some great outdoor gear, including a rifle scope, portable heater and knife set. Visit ncwildlife.org/WINC to learn more and enter. You can also get ready for the start of deer season with this complimentary article (flipping book) from Wildlife in North Carolina about the Wildlife Commission’s Getting Started Outdoors deer hunting program, a free introduction to hunting for anyone who does not know a hunter. The program is also seeking experienced hunters who are interested in hosting a GSO on their property.

 

 

Two New Invasive Aquatic Species Found in North Carolina Waters

Apple Snails

Apple snails, and their eggs, were found in the Lumber River this month, the first know population in North Carolina.

Apple snail photo

Apple snail egg photo

Why are they bad?

  • Apple snails can be dangerous to humans because they may carry rat lungworm, which can cause a potentially fatal disease if they are eaten raw or undercooked.
  • Egg masses can cause skin and eye rashes.
  • Apple snail grazing habits can damage agricultural crops, such as rice, and plants used by many native aquatic species; and the snails eat amphibian eggs.

Learn more about apple snails

Zebra Mussels

Zebra mussels were found in a waterbody in Iredell County in September — the first time they have been detected in the wild in the state.

Zebra mussel photo

Why are they bad?

Because they are prolific, zebra mussels can quickly take over an environment once they are established and affect the health of other aquatic wildlife by disrupting the food chain and changing the chemistry of the water.

They are capable of clogging both public drinking and wastewater systems, as well as damaging recreational equipment, such as boats, dock lifts and other water-related equipment.

Learn more about zebra mussels.

Take a few minutes to watch this video by Neighborhood TV in Iredell County to hear more about the devastating human and ecological impacts zebra mussels can have and how the Wildlife Commission is working to ensure they don't spread.

 

What Can I Do to Help?

Because of the destructive impacts apple snails and zebra mussels can have on our native species and the environment, it is unlawful to transport, purchase, possess, sell or stock these species in public or private waters in NC. To prevent the spread of invasive species: 

 

Clean: Equipment of all aquatic plants, animals and mud. 

 

Drain: Water from boats, live wells, bait buckets and all equipment. 

 

Dry: All equipment thoroughly 

 

Never Move: Fish, plants or other organisms from one body of water to another. 

Report suspected apple snails or zebra mussels by contacting your district biologist or using our online Aquatic Nuisance Species Reporting Tool.

 

What's New with Big Game Harvest Report Card

This year, the Wildlife Commission offers multiple reporting options for your Big Game Harvest Report Card. One easy way is to go paperless with our new Go Outdoors North Carolina mobile app, available for both iPhone and Android. Avoid carrying a paper license and report your big game harvest while you're in the field — even without internet or cell service!

 

Mandatory Sampling in CWD Surveillance Areas

Two Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Areas have been established for the 2023-24 hunting season. Each area contains a primary surveillance area (counties where CWD has been detected), and a secondary surveillance area (counties around the primary).

Hunters who harvest deer within a surveillance area during the following weeks must sumbit a sample within 2 weeks of harvest

Surveillance area 1 - Nov. 18-Dec. 3, 2023

Surveilance area 2 - Nov. 11-Nov. 26, 2023

Surveillance Area Map

Voluntary testing across the state is HIGHLY encouraged throughout the season. There are three ways to get your deer tested:

  • Testing Drop-off Stations (freezers) 
  • Wildlife Commission Staffed Check Stations 
  • Cervid Health Cooperators (processors & taxidermists)
 

Your Cooperation is Helping!

As of Oct. 11, 2023, 10 deer have tested positive for CWD in North Carolina. The Wildlife Commission appreciates the cooperation of hunters, taxidermists and meat processors, and reminds everyone to continue to be vigilant and mindful of carcass disposal. We don’t want to accidentally give CWD a ride to new areas of the state. 

 

Firearm Safety Tips

Safety should be a top priority for anyone hunting, especially as more firearm seasons open. If you use a firearm, you are responsible for where the bullet lands. Always follow these important rules:

  • Always point a firearm in a safe direction. 
  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Never assume a firearm is unloaded.
  • Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target­, as well as what’s in front of and behind it.
  • Use binoculars, rather than a rifle scope, to identify the target.
 

Be Safe. Be Seen.

Blaze orange is required when hunting certain game with firearms and mandatory for deer hunters during firearm season regardless of hunting implement. (Some exceptions apply.) Non-hunters using game lands are encouraged to wear blaze orange so they can also be easily seen.  

 

Mapping Your Hunt

Game land property boundaries are designated by orange paint bands and signage, although some property lines can be hard to define when you’re out in the field. Game plan before your hunt so you know where game lands end and private lands start. Our interactive and printable maps are the most up-to-date and accurate resources available.   

 

Feedback and Observations Wanted!

Attention Avid Grouse, Quail and Rabbit Hunters

The Wildlife Commission is seeking feedback from avid grouse, quail and rabbit hunters this season. If you would like to participate, please complete the avid hunter form below. Volunteers will receive survey postcards before each season to record their hunting information. Participants will receive an annual summary report at the end of the season. These surveys assist biologists in the long-term monitoring and management of these species in our state. 

Read previous harvest survey reports:

Grouse

Quail

Thank you for your support!

 

Attention Deer Hunters: Your Wildlife Observations Wanted!

If you still hunt deer, or hunt from a stand, the Wildlife Commission wants to know about other wild animals you're seeing while deer hunting. Please complete this online enrollment form, and we will mail you a paper survey to fill out and return. Thank you in advance for providing valuable data for state wildlife management survey projects. 

 

Mandatory Bear Tooth Submission

If you harvest a bear, you are required to submit at least one premolar tooth to the Wildlife Commission no later than Jan. 31, 2024. Once it’s received, you’ll get an email confirmation, and a Black Bear Cooperator ball cap and age report will be mailed to you in September 2024. If you are a bear e-stamp holder, keep an eye out for your bear tooth envelope in the mail.

 

Tracking a Fatal Rabbit Disease

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV-2) is a serious disease spreading across the U.S. In 2022, it was found in a group of feral domestic rabbits in Greenville County, S.C. To track the potential spread of the disease, wildlife biologists request:

  • If you harvest a rabbit in Henderson or Transylvania counties, or a surrounding county, please consider removing and immediately freezing its liver in a bag labeled with your name, contact information, date and harvest location using GPS coordinates. To report your collection for pickup, call the NC Wildlife Helpline, 866-318-2401, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; or email after hours and weekends.
  • If you find one or more dead rabbits where cause of death is not readily apparent, contact the Helpline and our trained staff will explain how to store the animal for a biologist to retrieve. 
 

Invest in the Future of Our Wildlife & Habitat: Purchase a Lifetime License

 

With hunting and fishing in full swing, now is a great time to consider investing in a Lifetime License. The Wildlife Commission offers more than 20 lifetime licenses in five categories (Infant, Youth, Adult, Senior, and Disabled) along with discounted licenses for Volunteer Firefighters and EMS and individuals 50 and older. Your purchase of a lifetime license goes into the N.C. Wildlife Endowment Fund where the accrued interest, not the principal, is spent on programs and projects that benefit fish and wildlife and their habitats. Why wait?

 

Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine Photo Competition Now Open

Entries for the 2023-23 Wildlife in North Carolina Photo Competition are now being accepted through Jan. 31, 2024. Professional and amateur photographers can participate. Entry information, photo categories, rules and past winning submissions can be found on our website. Adult competitors must be current magazine subscribers; youth (17 years old & under) may enter without a subscription. 

 

Upland Game Hunting 101 Workshop Scheduled for Oct. 21

A Getting Started Outdoors (GSO) Hunting 101 Workshops for upland game (i.e., quail, woodcock, snipe, etc.) will be offered IN PERSON on Oct. 21 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Ellerbe.

Upland Game Hunting 101 - Saturday, Oct. 21, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Ellerbe

This workshop is designed for people who:

  • Have NEVER hunted, or have not actively hunted for more than 3 years.
  • LACK social support; you have no readily available hunting family members or friends.
  • Are LAPSED (inactive) hunters, including those who have never harvested big game.

Reservations required and applicants must qualify and complete prerequisites as noted for all workshops.

ATTENDEE PREREQUISITES:

Hunter Safety Certification: Options - free Wildlife Commission Hunter Education Courses or free NRA Course

Valid North Carolina hunting license (purchase or renew online or at a Wildlife Service Agent location). 

 

Scouting Fishing Merit Badge Camp Scheduled for Oct. 28

The Wildlife Commission is offering a Scouting Fishing Merit Badge workshop for active scouting members, ages 11 and older on Oct. 28 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Camp provides comprehensive instruction that gives the scout the opportunity to complete all the Fishing Merit Badge requirements. On-site camping is available to the scouts. Activities include:

  1. Fishing Hazards and First Aid
  2. Fishing Knots
  3. Fishing Equipment
  4. Fishing Regulations/Outdoor Code
  5. Lunch/Cooking and Cleaning Fish
  6. Fishing in the Center's stocked ponds
 

Other Classes, Workshops & Events

Oct. 12 -22, N.C. State Fair, Wildlife Commission exhibit - Gate 7 near N.C. Forest Service and Safety City, at Gate 10, Raleigh

Oct 1 - 31, N.C. Wildlife .22 Challenges Series, John Lentz Hunter Education Complex, Ellerbe, Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Ongoing classes and podcasts: 

Free Public Hunting, Fishing and Boating Classes for All Ages and Abilities, statewide

Better Fishing with 2 Bald Biologists, new episodes drop bi-monthly. Listen & subscribe on your favorite podcast service. 



 
 
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Oct. 4, 2023 Special Duck Hunting Edition

Duck Hunting in North Carolina

Your 2023-24 duck hunting guide

 

Duck Hunting Season Dates

Inland Zone

Thurs., Oct. 19–Sat., Oct. 21

Sat., Nov. 4–Sat., Nov. 25

Tues., Dec. 19–Wed., Jan. 31

 

Coastal Zone

Fri., Oct. 27–Sat., Oct. 28

Sat., Nov. 4–Sat., Nov. 25

Mon., Dec. 18–Wed., Jan. 31

 

Be Prepared!

To hunt waterfowl in North Carolina, those 16 years of age or older must have the following:

  • Valid hunting license.
  • HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification.
  • State Migratory Waterfowl license (included with sportsman and comprehensive licenses).
  • Federal Duck Stamp.

Buy or renew a license online, at a Wildlife Service Agent office or call 833-950-0575 , 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Due to higher than normal call volumes, long hold times are to be expected. We encourage you to purchase or renew your license online for faster service. For existing customers, you will need your WRC ID # available to log into your account.

Review the 2023-2024 N.C. Regulations Digest, available in print at your local Wildlife Service Agent, or download a copy (flippingbook/PDF) from our website, or view the regulations online. You can also access the regulations digest on the Wildlife Commission's new mobile app, which is available for iPhone and Android. The guide provides important information about season dates, bag limits, hunting licenses, game lands, regulations and more.

 

HIP Expires June 30, 2024

The expiration of the HIP certification is June 30 after each hunting season. This change, which occurred during the 2022-2023 hunting season, improves federal annual estimates of waterfowl hunting activity in North Carolina. It also improves hunter compliance and reduces confusion, as certification will not potentially expire during the hunting season. All licensed migratory game bird hunters, including lifetime license holders, are required to have HIP certification.

 

Safety on the Water

Basic safety precautions could save your life when hunting from a vessel. Of the 20 people who died on the water in 2022, 15 were not wearing a life vest. Waterfowl hunters should:

  • Wear a personal floatation device at all times, even before you get in the boat.
  • Alert someone to your whereabouts and an approximate return time.
  • Understand that small, flat-bottom vessels are prone to capsizing and swamping.
  • Stay with the boat and use it as a floatation device if it capsizes or swamps.
  • Keep hunting dogs in the center of your boat.
  • Don't overload the boat, especially with passengers.
  • Store equipment properly and keep it evenly distributed.
  • Never move about the boat with a loaded shotgun.
  • Dress appropriately to avoid hypothermia if there is an incident. Wool or other synthetic materials are great choices.
 

Pro Tip: Know Your Waterfowl

A comprehensive waterfowl identification guide is available as a .PDF through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, authored by Bob Hines.

 

See a wildlife violation in progress?

Report a violation by calling 800-662-7137.

To report wild animals that appear to be sick or diseased, call the

NC Wildlife Helpline  

at 866-318-2401, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

 

Go Outdoors North Carolina Online Store is Now Open!

Support North Carolina wildlife through your purchase of Wildlife Commission-exclusive products at our new online Go Outdoors North Carolina store. From hats to mugs to our perennially popular 2024 Wildlife Calendar, we offer a variety of products with new ones being added each week.

 

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Sept. 27, 2023 Special Black Bear Hunting Edition

The 2023-24 Guide to Bear Hunting in North Carolina

 

Prepare for the Hunt

Before you head out to the hunt:

  • All non-license exempt bear hunters must obtain a valid hunting license with big game hunting privileges and a Big Game Harvest Report Card (multiple reporting options available) with the Bear Management E-Stamp before hunting bear. Download the Go Outdoors North Carolina Mobile App (iPhone and Android) to avoid carrying a paper license and report card. The mobile app offers easy to use harvest reporting with or without internet/cell service.
  • Nonresident bear hunters will also need to obtain the Bear Hunting Privilege License in addition to the licenses and privileges listed above.
  • License exempt bear hunters must obtain a valid Big Game Harvest Report Card with the Bear Management E-Stamp before hunting bear.
  • Buy or renew a license online, at a Wildlife Service Agent office or call 833-950-0575, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
  • View bear season dates, bag limits, and other rules via the North Carolina Regulations Digest. The full digest is available through the mobile app by pressing the Regulations Tab on the home screen. The digest is also available to download online as a flipbook or PDF, or order a printed copy through the Go Outdoors North Carolina e-Store at no charge.
 

Congrats, You Got One! Now What?

After harvesting a bear, follow these steps:

  1. BEFORE moving the bear from the site of kill:
  • Validate your bear harvest on your Big Game Harvest Report Card.
  • If you printed your card, cut or punch out the corresponding day and month of your harvest.
  • If you are using an electronic version of the card, you can use the Go Outdoors North Carolina app to validate your harvest. The app will also register the harvest and store the authorization number, which will allow you to skip steps 2 and 3 shown below.

2. Report your harvest by calling 1-800-I-GOT-ONE, online at GoOutdoorsNorthCarolina.com or through the Go Outdoors North Carolina app. This is required BEFORE any of the following occur:

  • The animal is skinned or dismembered.
  • The animal is left unattended by the successful hunter.
  • The animal is placed in possession of another person.
  • 12 p.m. (noon) the day following day the harvest. 

3. Record & keep the authorization number given to you after reporting your harvest.

4. Remove at least one premolar tooth and submit it by Jan. 31, 2024.

 

Mandatory Bear Tooth Submission

If you harvest a bear, you must submit at least one premolar tooth to the Wildlife Commission no later than Jan. 31, 2024. If we have your email address, we will send you an e-mail confirmation once it’s received. As a thank you, you'll receive a North Carolina Black Bear Cooperator ball cap and an age report for your bear in September 2024. Visit the bear cooperator webpage for more information.

Stay alert!

All bear e-stamp holders should receive a bear tooth envelope in the mail!

 

Real Time Bear Harvest Reports

Monitor harvest results in real time on our website by county, regional or statewide harvest totals for bear, deer and wild turkey. 

 

Hunter Safety Reminders

Archery

  • Always point the bow or crossbow in a safe direction.
  • Only nock or load an arrow when it’s safe to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off the bow trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target and what is in front of it, immediately behind it, and beyond it.
  • Avoid dry-firing a bow or crossbow (releasing the string without a loaded arrow). It may cause serious damage to the bow or crossbow and can injure the shooter. 
 

Firearm

  • Always point the muzzle of your firearm in a safe direction.
  • Adhere to established safe zones of fire.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially when preparing to shoot. Ensure that there aren’t any houses, vehicles or people in front of or behind your target.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
 

Treestand

Preparing to use your tree stand:

  • Remove all your equipment and inspect it for damage before using it. This includes belts, chains, bolts, ratchet straps and attachment cords. Replace them if necessary.
  • Wear a full-body safety harness as part of a fall-arrest system.
  • Ensure you do not exceed the stand manufacturer’s maximum height or weight limits.
  • Pack an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone, two-way radio or a whistle.

Setting up your tree stand:

  • Share your stand location with someone before each hunt.
  • Select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.
  • Ask someone to assist you with setting up the stand.

Using your tree stand:

  • Buckle your harness securely and connect to the tree tether before your feet leave the ground.
  • Maintain three points of contact when climbing the ladder; two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand. Most falls occur when climbing up or down.
  • Use a lineman’s belt and/or lifeline when climbing or descending.
  • Raise and lower equipment using a haul line – never carry anything as you climb.
 

Black Bear Management

Want to see how your harvest is helping shape black bear conservation in North Carolina? Read our annual report.

 

Bear Management Unit Harvest Reports

Check out our bear harvest reports by bear management unit, method of take, location and more. 

 

Go Outdoors North Carolina Online Store is Now Open!

Support North Carolina wildlife through your purchase of Wildlife Commission-exclusive products at our new online Go Outdoors North Carolina store. From hats to mugs to our perennially popular 2024 Wildlife Calendar, we offer a variety of products with new ones being added each week.

 
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Sept. 15, 2023 NC Wildlife Update

Delayed Harvest Trout Waters Open Oct. 1

On Oct. 1, the Wildlife Commission will implement Delayed Harvest Trout Waters regulations on 33 trout waters. No trout can be harvested or possessed from these waters between Oct. 1 and one half-hour after sunset on June 1, 2024. However, catch-and-release fishing is encouraged, as high numbers of trout were stocked from fall to spring to increase the chances of catching a fish. Anglers can fish with artificial lures with one single hook — no natural bait may be possessed. These waters are marked with diamond-shaped black and white signs. See Delayed Harvest stocking dates scheduled for this fall.

 

Deer Hunting Resources

Archery hunting for deer opened statewide on Sept. 9. Be prepared for the hunt with these resources:

Youth Deer Hunting Day Sept. 23

Youth under the age of 18 may use any legal weapon to hunt deer of either sex.

Urban Archery Jan. 13 – Feb. 18, 2024

Open in participating municipalities only.

 

No Cell Service? No Problem!

Harvested a deer but don't have cell service? Now you can report your big game harvest while in the field without cell service by using the Go Outdoors North Carolina app. Get the app for iPhone and Android.

 

Deer Hunters - Wildlife Observations Wanted!

If you still hunt deer, or hunt from a stand, we’d like to know about your wildlife observations. Please complete this online enrollment form and we will mail you a paper survey to fill out and return. Thank you in advance for providing valuable data for state wildlife management survey projects. 

 

See a wildlife violation in progress?

Report a violation by calling 800-662-7137.

 

CWD Surveillance Areas

Two Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance areas have been designated for the 2023-2024 hunting season. Each surveillance area contains a primary surveillance area, which are counties in which CWD has been confirmed, and a secondary surveillance area, which are counties adjacent.

Special regulations apply within these surveillance areas including mandatory testing of deer during specific weeks of gun season, restrictions on wildlife feeding, transport of harvested deer carcasses or carcass parts, and use of deer urine attractants.

 

CWD Public Forum Scheduled for Oct. 10 in Yadkinville

The Wildlife Commission will hold a public forum at the Yadkinville Extension Center, located at 2051 Agricultural Way, on Oct. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. to share information and address questions about CWD. Among the topics to be discussed are early detection of CWD, CWD preventative measures and support from the hunting community, which are critical toward effectively managing the prevalance and spread of the disease.

 

Celebrate National Fishing and Hunting Day on Sept. 23

On Sept. 23, the Wildlife Commission is hosting two free, family-friendly events to highlight our region’s extraordinary hunting and fishing heritage. We hope you’ll join us! Both events will run from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

John Lentz Hunter Education Complex, located at 1017 Millstone Road, Ellerbe, NC 28338 (No pre-registration required)

John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, located at 7489 Raeford Road, Fayetteville, NC 28304 (Pre-registration required)

 

Free Hunting WEBINARS Offered this Fall

The Wildlife Commission is offering four free hunting-related webinars (online ONLY) this fall, which will be especially beneficial for individuals who are new to hunting and lack the social support for hunting. Pre-registration is required.

All webinars will run from 7-8 p.m.

Squirrel Hunting, Sept. 19

Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl, Sept. 26

Delta Waterfowl, Oct. 10

Upland Game Hunting, Dec. 7

 

Free Getting Started Outdoors (GSO) Hunting 101 Workshops

Two Getting Started Outdoors (GSO) Hunting 101 Workshops for deer and upland game will be offered IN PERSON in October.

Deer Hunting 101 - Saturday, Oct. 7, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Gastonia

Upland Game Hunting 101 - Saturday, Oct. 21, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Ellerbe

These workshops are ideal for people who:

  • Have NEVER hunted, or have not actively hunted for more than 3 years.
  • LACK social support; you have no readily available hunting family members or friends.
  • Are LAPSED (inactive) hunters, including those who have never harvested big game.

Reservations required and applicants must qualify and complete prerequisites as noted for all workshops.

ATTENDEE PREREQUISITES:

Hunter Safety Certification (online, virtual and in-person courses are available).

Valid North Carolina hunting license (purchase or renew online or at a Wildlife Service Agent location).

 

Free Fishing Workshops at Marion State Fish Hatchery on Sept. 23

DIY Fishing: Fishing Lanyard Making Workshop - Saturday, Sept. 23; 9-10:30 a.m.

Create your own custom-designed fishing lanyard, which is the lightest, most efficient way to carry fishing tools and equipment. This workshop is a perfect activity for the entire family. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Fly-Fishing Basics: Fly-fishing Connections - Saturday, Sept. 23; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

There are at least four connection points in just about any fly-line system, and any one of these connections being poorly tied can, and will, result in a lost fish! This hands-on workshop will cover each connection, from reel to fly. Must be 14 years or older to attend, and students 14-15 must have a participating parent or guardian.

 

Subscribe to Wildlife in North Carolina for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack! 

Would you like a chance to win a fabulous prize pack of outdoors gear? Then simply subscribe or renew your subscription to Wildlife in North Carolina magazine for as little as $10. Not only will you receive the Wildlife Commission's flagship publication, but you'll also have a chance to take home this month's prize pack, which includes a rod and reel combo, a backpack cooler, a hunter’s combo kit knife set, a Bluetooth speaker and more!

Erik B., of Goochland County, Va., a lifetime outdoorsman who brings his Boy Scout pack to North Carolina for outdoor adventures, renewed his subscription in June. It proved to be a winning decision, as Erik's name was picked at random to take home June’s prize pack!

I have been enjoying the outdoors in North Carolina my entire adult life, starting with my time at Fort Bragg all the way to now, fishing with my son and his family who live Down East,” Erik said.

Don't miss out on your chance to win! Be like Erik and subscribe to Wildlife in North Carolina!

 

Photography Contest Winner Announced

Neil Jernigan of Snow Hill won the 2022-23 Wildlife in North Carolina Photo Competition with his dramatic portait of a bobcat on a beaver dam bathed in early morning light. Jernigan said he loves photographing in and around the swamps and rivers of eastern North Carolina and his favorite subjects are black bears and elk. His specialty is employing remote camera traps—not trail cameras—to capture shots of elusive animals like his winning bobcat. Out of 1,700 entries, Jernigan took home the grand prize: $200 and the cover of the July/August magazine.

 

2024 Wildlife Calendar Now Available

Our stunning 2024 Wildlife Calendar makes the perfect gift for any and everyone on your gift-giving list. Each calendar is $9 and can be purchased on our new Go Outdoors North Carolina e-store. The e-store makes it easier than ever to order your calendar, plus other Wildlife Commission-exclusive products, such as hats and mugs.

 

Keep an Eye Out!

Chipmunk Sightings East of I-95

Fall is an active time for chipmunks that are gathering food to store for the winter. If you live in a county east of I-95 and observe a chipmunk, please take a picture, note the location (GPS coordinates preferred) and contact the NC Wildlife Helpline, 866-318-2401, Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Or email anytime.

 

Wild Turkey Hunters Harvested Record Number of Birds this Season

North Carolina’s 5-week wild turkey season had its highest ever recorded harvest of 24,089 birds, according to recent results from the Wildlife Commission’s annual turkey harvest summary. The 2023 season surpassed the previous record of 23,341 harvested birds set three years ago in 2020. This year’s total harvest statewide was 9.5% higher than the average of the previous three years, and three ecoregions had noticeable increases in harvest in relation to the 2022 season, particularly in the coastal region. More details about wild turkey harvest by county, game land and youth hunt can be viewed online.

 

Nongame Wildlife Advisory Committee Seeks Two New Members

The Wildlife Commission is seeking nominations for its Nongame Wildlife Advisory Committee (NWAC) until Sept. 25. Two expert affiliate seats on the NWAC will be filled by nominees selected by the NCWRC. The NWAC comprises North Carolina citizens who use their scientific, academic and habitat expertise to provide advice to the NCWRC on nongame wildlife conservation issues for the state’s most vulnerable wildlife populations.

 

The NC Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission is dedicated to encouraging and strengthening young North Carolinians' connection to nature by providing youth opportunities to engage with the outdoors. Formerly known as the NC Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, our name has changed, but our mission remains the same. Our programs promote youth hunting, fishing, hiking, archery, shooting sports, kayaking, and more.

While using the Go Outdoors North Carolina license and vessel registration system, please consider donating to the NC Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission. Your donation provides kids of all ages and backgrounds with access to the outdoors and opportunities to learn new skills. You may also donate directly to the Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission through the Go Outdoors NC website without the purchase of a license or vessel registration. 

 

Rehabbers Know Best  

Each year, well-intentioned people “rescue” healthy young wildlife they mistake as orphaned or abandoned. If you find an animal that you feel needs help, leave it where you found it and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator first. It is illegal in North Carolina to keep most wildlife species without a permit, and expert care (or often no care!) greatly increases a critter’s chance of survival. You can also contact the NC Wildlife Helpline, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 866-318-2401 for advice. 

 

What's in Season

Download or bookmark the 2023-24 Inland Fishing, Hunting & Trapping Regulations Digest for quick reference.

Inland Fishing

No closed seasons on inland game fishes, with exceptions

No closed seasons for nongame fishes taken from inland waters, with exceptions

Big Game

White-tailed deer (archery only)

Migratory Game Birds

Canada Goose (September season)

Doves, King & Clapper Rails, Sora & Virginia Rails, Gallinule & Moorhens

September Teal

 

Classes, Workshops & Events

Sept. 24National Hunting & Fishing DayJohn Lentz Hunter Education Complex, Ellerbe, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sept. 24Wildlife ExpoJohn E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, Fayetteville, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Oct. 12 -22The N.C. State Fair, Wildlife Commission Law Enforcement Officers will be at Safety City handing out this year's Wildlife in North Carolina button.

Ongoing classes and podcasts: 

Free Public Fishing, Hunting, Boating and Conservation Classes for All Ages and Abilities, statewide

Better Fishing with 2 Bald Biologists, listen & subscribe on your favorite podcast service 

 

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Aug. 22, 2023 Special Deer Hunting Edition

Deer Season Opens Next Month

Your 2023-24 guide to white-tailed deer hunting in North Carolina

 

There’s nothing like opening day of deer season. Make sure you’re prepared.

  • Buy or renew a license online, at a Wildlife Service Agent office or call 833-950-0575 , 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Due to higher than normal call volumes, long hold times are to be expected. We encourage you to purchase or renew your license online for faster service. For existing customers, you will need your WRC ID # available to log into your account.
  • Request a Big Game Harvest Report Card with your license, which is required when hunting big game.
  • Review the 2023-2024 N.C. Regulations Digest, available in print at your local Wildlife Service Agent, or download a copy (flipbook/PDF) from our website, or view the regulations online. You can also access the regulations digest on the Wildlife Commission's new mobile app, which is available for iPhone and Android. The guide provides important information about season dates, bag limits, hunting licenses, game lands, regulations and more. The guide provides important information on season dates, bag limits, hunting licenses, game lands, regulations, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and more. 
 

No Cell Service? No Problem!

Harvested a deer but don't have cell service? Now you can report your big game harvest while in the field without cell service by using the Go Outdoors North Carolina app. Get the app for iPhone and Android.

 

Deer Hunting Seasons

Northeastern and Southeastern Seasons

Archery:  Sept. 9 – Sept. 29

Blackpowder:  Sept. 30 – Oct. 13

Gun: Oct. 14 – Jan. 1

Central Season

Archery:  Sept. 9 – Oct. 27

Blackpowder:  Oct. 28 – Nov. 10

Gun:  Nov. 11 – Jan. 1

Northwestern Season

Archery:  Sept. 9 – Nov. 3

Blackpowder:  Nov. 4 – Nov. 17

Gun:  Nov. 18 – Jan. 1

Western Season

Archery:  Sept. 9 – Oct. 1, Oct. 15 – Nov. 19, Dec. 10 – Jan. 1 (antlered only)

Blackpowder: Oct. 2 – Oct. 14

Gun:  Nov. 20 – Dec. 9

Youth Day Sept. 23 (National Hunting and Fishing Day!)

Youth under the age of 18 may use any legal weapon to hunt deer of either sex.

Urban Archery Jan. 13 – Feb. 18, 2024

Open in participating municipalities only.

 

Deer Hunting Regulations Reminders

  • Season and possession bag limit is six deer, two of which may be antlered, and four of which may be antlerless.
  • No daily bag limit.
  • Sunday hunting is permitted on private lands and some game lands (identified as 7-days-per-week), however, the following is prohibited on Sundays:
  • Hunting with a firearm between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
  • Use of firearms to hunt deer with the use of dogs.
  • Hunting with a firearm within 500 yards of a place of religious worship or any accessory structure thereof.
  • CWD regulations are in effect in CWD Surveillance Areas, see KNOW CWD section below.
 

Where to Hunt

Over 2 million acres of game lands are available to the public for hunting. Search our interactive Game Land Maps by county, address, or filter by species or facilities. Hunting on private lands that are posted is permitted with written permission signed by the landowner or lessee. Be sure to check other local laws as well.

Printable maps are available too:

Mountain Region

Piedmont Region

Coastal Region

 

Two Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Areas are defined for the 2023-2024 hunting season. Each Surveillance Area contains a Primary Surveillance Area, which are counties in which CWD has been confirmed, and a Secondary Surveillance Area, which are counties adjacent.

Twelve counties in the Northwestern deer zone and six in the Southeastern deer zone fall within Surveillance Areas. Surveillance Area delineations can be viewed on the interactive map.

CWD testing is available across the state at sample drop-off stations and at Cervid Health Cooperators. These locations will be available on the agency's CWD testing page, in early September.

Inside the Surveillance Areas

  • Hunters who harvest deer during certain weeks of the 2023-2024 gun deer season must submit a sample, within two weeks of harvest, to the Wildlife Commission for CWD testing. Mandatory testing dates vary between the Surveillance Areas. Samples may be submitted to a Commission-staffed facility, to a Cervid Health Cooperator, or deposited in a Commission CWD Testing Drop-off Station.
  • The use of certain deer urine and other cervid excretions is restricted.
  • Prohibitions on wildlife feeding, excluding bird feeders, are in effect from Jan. 2-Aug. 31 annually. Baiting deer will be legal in Surveillance Areas Sept. 1, 2023 – Jan. 1, 2024, and for the purpose of hunting within the established urban archery season in participating municipalities. The placement of minerals or salt to purposefully congregate wildlife is prohibited year-round in the Surveillance Areas.
  • Deer hunters should be aware of carcass transportation restrictions that prohibit the transport of deer carcasses and carcass parts out of any Surveillance Area with some noted exceptions.
 

Outside the Surveillance Areas

Extensive testing will continue across the state. What to expect:

  • Voluntary check stations at some meat processors. 
  • Self-serve sample drop-off stations where hunters can voluntarily drop off deer heads for testing.  
  • Continued testing of deer from roadkill, taxidermists and meat processors. 
  • Continued enforcement of importation laws

Don’t Give it a Ride

CWD is highly transmissible. It spreads via infected saliva, urine and feces of live deer, or the movement of deer carcasses and carcass parts. Since deer that are infected may appear healthy, it is imperative to take precautions when transporting or disposing of deer carcasses.

Responsible disposal methods:

  • Bury the deer remains where you harvest the animal when possible.
  • Double bag deer remains for disposal at the closest landfill.
  • Leave the deer remains on the ground where the animal was harvested.
 
 

Hunter Safety Reminders

Archery

  • Always point the bow or crossbow in a safe direction.
  • Only nock or load an arrow when it’s safe to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off the bow trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target and what is in front of it, immediately behind it, and beyond it.
  • Avoid dry-firing a bow or crossbow (releasing the string without a loaded arrow). It may cause serious damage to the bow or crossbow and can injure the shooter. 
 

Firearm

  • Always point the muzzle of your firearm in a safe direction.
  • Adhere to established safe zones of fire.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially when preparing to shoot. Ensure that there aren’t any houses, vehicles or people in front of or behind your target.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
 

Treestand

Preparing to use your tree stand:

  • Remove all your equipment and inspect it for damage before using it. This includes belts, chains, bolts, ratchet straps and attachment cords. Replace them if necessary.
  • Wear a full-body safety harness as part of a fall-arrest system.
  • Ensure you do not exceed the stand manufacturer’s maximum height or weight limits.
  • Pack an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone, two-way radio or a whistle.

Setting up your tree stand:

  • Share your stand location with someone before each hunt.
  • Select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.
  • Ask someone to assist you with setting up the stand.

Using your tree stand:

  • Buckle your harness securely and connect to the tree tether before your feet leave the ground.
  • Maintain three points of contact when climbing the ladder; two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand. Most falls occur when climbing up or down.
  • Use a lineman’s belt and/or lifeline when climbing or descending.
  • Raise and lower equipment using a haul line – never carry anything as you climb.
 

Access for All

Disabled sportsmen and women have more opportunities than ever to hunt on game lands and hone their skills for hunting season at a shooting range. Hunting blinds, hunt certifications, permit hunts, Huntmaster Units and track chairs are available for hunters with limited physical mobility. 

 

To report deer that appear to be sick or diseased, call 866-318-2401. 

If you see a wildlife violation in progress, call 800-622-7137. 


 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Two Free, Family-Friendly Events Offered during National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 23

On Sept. 23, the Wildlife Commission will host two events in celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day. Join us for a day of fun with the family either at the John Lentz Hunter Education Complex or the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center doing all things related to outdoor recreation and conservation. Admission is FREE!

 

Free Deer Hunting WEBINARS Offered in September

Two free hunting-related webinars (online ONLY) will be offered in September that will be especially beneficial for individuals who are new to hunting and lack the social support for hunting. Pre-registration is required.

All webinars will run from 7-8 p.m.

Sept. 5 - Introduction to Deer Hunting Registration

Sept. 7 - Practical Deer Processing: From Field to Freezer Registration

Both deer seminars will include a 30-minute Q&A session immediately following the webinar. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) will be briefly discussed including where learn more. To learn more about CWD, watch this 4-minute video, and visit ncwildlife.org/CWD


 

NEW THIS YEAR: EVENT CALENDAR & ONLINE STORE

Deer hunting workshops and NHFD events aren't the only opportunities we offer. The Wildlife Commission offers many FREE classes, workshops and programs throughout the year, across the state and online and in person — from hunter education programs to fly-fishing classes to a variety of hunting workshops. And we've made it easier to search and register for events with our new Go Outdoors North Carolina Events Calendar. Check out the link below to see what's available from now through fall.

 

Go Outdoors North Carolina Online Store is Now Open!

Support North Carolina wildlife through your purchase of Wildlife Commission-exclusive products at our new online Go Outdoors North Carolina store. From hats to mugs to our perennially popular 2024 Wildlife Calendar, we offer a variety of products with new ones being added each week.

 
NC Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission
NC Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission

The NC Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission is dedicated to encouraging and strengthening young North Carolinians' connection to nature by providing youth opportunities to engage with the outdoors. Formerly known as the NC Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, our name has changed, but our mission remains the same. Our programs promote youth hunting, fishing, hiking, archery, shooting sports, kayaking, and more.

While using the Go Outdoors North Carolina license and vessel registration system, please consider donating to the NC Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission. Your donation provides kids of all ages and backgrounds with access to the outdoors and opportunities to learn new skills. You may also donate directly to the Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission through the Go Outdoors North Carolina website without the purchase of a license or vessel registration.

 
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Aug. 4, 2023 Special Dove Hunting Edition

Season Opener: Dove Hunting

A guide to dove hunting in North Carolina

 

The 2023-24 dove season (includes mourning and white-winged doves) opens on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Dove Season Dates



Dove season will be separated into three segments:

  • Sept. 2 - Oct. 7  
  • Nov. 11 - Nov. 25 
  • Dec. 9 - Jan. 31, 2024

Make sure you're prepared!

  • Buy or renew a license online, at a Wildlife Service Agent office or call 833-950-0575 , 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Due to higher than normal call volumes, long hold times are to be expected. We encourage you to purchase or renew your license online for faster service. For existing customers, you will need your WRC ID # available to log into your account.
  • Obtain your free, mandatory HIP certification if hunting migratory game birds, including doves. HIP certification is available July 1 – April 1 and will expire June 30 annually and can be acquired by the same methods as getting a license. Migratory game bird hunters, including lifetime license holders, are required to register in the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP). HIP is a survey method developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect more reliable estimates of migratory game bird harvests throughout the country. 
  • Review the 2023-2024 N.C. Regulations Digest, available in print at your local Wildlife Service Agent, or download a copy (flipbook/PDF) from our website, or view the regulations online. You can also access the regulations digest on the Wildlife Commission's new mobile app, which is available for iPhone and Android. The guide provides important information about season dates, bag limits, hunting licenses, game lands, regulations and more.

Dove Bag Limits and Regulations

  • Daily bag limit is 15 mourning or white-winged doves, either as a single species or combined.
  • Shooting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.  
  • Hunting of migratory game birds by any method is not allowed on Sundays.  
  • It is illegal to hunt doves with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells.
 

New License and Vessel Registration System, "Go Outdoors North Carolina", Now Live

On July 1, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission launched its new license and vessel registration system, Go Outdoors North Carolina. Learn more about the new system and view helpful tutorial videos to help you get the most out of the system.

 

Baiting is Illegal

It is illegal to take migratory game birds with the use or aid of salt, grain, fruit or any other bait.  An area is considered baited for 10 days following the removal of all salt, grain or other feed. Migratory game birds may be hunted in agricultural areas where grain has been distributed as the result of normal agricultural operations. Information regarding agriculture and planting techniques may be obtained from a local N.C. Cooperative Extension Center.

 
video

Dove Hunting Enforcement in North Carolina

In this 8.30-minute video, Wildlife Enforcement Officers offer a glimpse into their day-to-day worklife during the busy dove hunting season.

 

Where to Hunt

Locate dove fields on game lands by searching the Wildlife Commission’s interactive Game Land Maps by county and address. You can even filter them by species or facilities. Printable maps are also available.

 Game Land PDF Maps:

Mountain Region

Piedmont Region

Coastal Region

 

Other Migratory Game Bird September Season Openers

Friday, Sept. 1 

  • Canada Goose (September season)

Saturday, Sept. 2 

  • King & Clapper Rails
  • Sora & Virginia Rails
  • Gallinule & Moorhens

Tuesday, Sept. 13

  • September Teal (only in that area east of U.S. Hwy. 17)
 

Hunting Safety Reminders

  • Adhere to established safe zones of fire.
  • Ensure you have the correct ammunition for your firearm.
  • Keep the muzzle of your firearm pointed in a safe direction.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Do not shoot at low-flying birds.
  • Do not place decoys on utility lines. 

If you see a wildlife violation in progress, call 800-622-7137 anytime. 

To report wild animals that appear to be sick or diseased, call the NC Wildlife Helpline

at 866-318-2401, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

 

Go Outdoors North Carolina Online Store is Now Open!

Support North Carolina wildlife through your purchase of Wildlife Commission-exclusive products at our new online Go Outdoors North Carolina store. From hats to mugs to our perennially popular 2024 Wildlife Calendar, we offer a variety of products with new ones being added each week.

 
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June 9, 2023 NC Wildlife Update

New License and Vessel Registration System, "Go Outdoors North Carolina", Launches July 1

License purchases and vessel registrations will be unavailable from 5 p.m. June 27 until 8 a.m. July 1

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will launch its new license and vessel registration system, Go Outdoors North Carolina, on July 1. This enhanced system will improve both the user and customer service experience. Before the transition to the new system, ALVIN, the current system will be will be unavailable starting Tuesday, June 27 after 5:00 p.m. through 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 1. 

If you need to purchase a license or register or renew your vessel registration during this time you are encouraged to do so before June 27.

 

July 4 is Free Fishing Day

. . . and a perfect day to take the whole family fishing! A fishing license will not be required for anyone fishing on July 4, 12 a.m.-11:59 p.m., regardless of age. This applies to both residents and visitors. Anglers must follow North Carolina fishing regulations, including length and daily possession limits and bait and tackle restrictions. Need equipment? Check out the Tackle Loaner Program.

Hooked already and need to renew?

Go online or visit a Wildlife Service Agent.

 

Wake Responsibly

Lake season is here, and safety is imperative as wake sports continue to grow in popularity. When wakeboarding or wakesurfing, please follow these recommendations to “wake responsibly”:

  • Stay at least 200 feet from the shoreline, docks and other structures.
  • Keep music at a reasonable level.
  • Minimize repetitive passes on any one portion of the shoreline.
  • Don’t impede traffic. Wakesurfers usually travel at 10 to 12 mph. Avoid wakesurfing in congested areas.
  • Follow boating laws and navigation rules that apply.
 

Delayed Harvest Trout Waters Are Now Open

Delayed Harvest waters are now open to trout harvest through Sept. 30. The daily creel limit is seven trout per day with no gear or bait restrictions and no minimum size limits. Trout fishing resources are on our website

 

Wildlife Law Enforcement: Take Your Career to Wild Places

Take your career off the pavement and into wild places as a North Carolina Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer. From the mountains to the coast, our officers patrol game lands, the state’s waters and more — even by air as seen in our 2-minute video. Applications for the 60th Basic Academy are now being accepted through June 30. Apply today or contact us by email or at 919-707-0030.

 

Operation Dry Water

Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers will be patrolling waters statewide to ensure boating safety is taken seriously over the July 4 weekend. Operation Dry Water is a national campaign that promotes sober driving while behind the wheel of a vessel. In 2022, 441 boating citations were issued and 61 people were removed from the water for boating under the influence during the holiday weekend. Designating a sober driver makes being on the water a more enjoyable experience for everyone. 

 

North Carolina’s Bear Harvest Sets Record for 2022 Season

In 2022, bear hunters statewide recorded the highest harvest total on record at 4,056 bears — an 11% increase compared to the previous season. Record breaking harvest totals were recorded in the Coastal and Mountain Bear Management Units (BMU), 2,533 and 1,468 respectively. The Piedmont BMU experienced its third-highest recorded harvest of 55 bears. 

 

Bear In Mind These Tips

Biologists in the field and at the NC Wildlife Helpline continue to encourage the public to implement BearWise Basics as bears become more active statewide. You can stay aware of bold bear activity by registering for the NextDoor app on your smartphone. If we get a report of concerning bear activity in your area, we’ll put out an alert.   

 

Subscribe to Wildlife in North Carolina for a Chance to Win a Prize Pack! 

Would you like a chance to win a fabulous prize pack of outdoors gear? Then simply subscribe or renew your subscription to Wildlife in North Carolina magazine for as little as $10. Not only will you receive the Wildlife Commission’s flagship publication, but you’ll also have a chance to take home this month’s prize pack, which includes a pair of binoculars, a backpack cooler, a fillet knife set, a headlamp, a Bluetooth speaker and more!  

 

Wildlife Diversity Program Quarterly Report

The Wildlife Diversity Program has released its 2023 first quarter report, featuring projects that target nongame animals and their habitats. Nongame species, such as deer, turkey, mountain trout and black bass, also benefit because they share many of the same habitats.

 

Supporting Special Olympics

Since 2018, the NCWRC has been supporting Special Olympics North Carolina by raising money through the The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. This year, our Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers, partnering with other law enforcement agencies, participated in runs across the state and sold torch run t-shirts and custom engraved knifes, with proceeds going to Special Olympics. In addition, our officers attended the Special Olympics Conference and donated NCWRC-specific items for a silent auction. They have other fundraisers scheduled for later in the year.  

 

Catfishing Basics Workshops Scheduled for June

Whether you’re looking for a trophy or a delicious meal, catfish take the cake in freshwater. These fish grow to be absolute giants, are plentiful and can be caught in just about every corner of the state. Join us to learn different fishing techniques, recipes, and overall information on some of the most targeted fish in North Carolina.                                                           

Topics include:

• Catfish species profiles

• Fishing lakes & rivers

• Bait types

• Tackle & rigs

• Trophy vs. subsistence fishing

• Recipes

Must be 12 years or older to attend.

Students 15 or younger must have participating parent or guardian in attendance.