About N.C. Accessible Outdoors

The N.C. General Assembly and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission have worked cooperatively to expand opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in hunting, fishing and wildlife watching. In keeping with the intent and spirit of the Americans with Disability Act, great strides have been made toward providing reasonable access and opportunities for sportsmen with disabilities. This effort includes:

  1. assisting access to favorable game and fish areas,
  2. allowing the use of equipment designed for specific disabilities,
  3. encouraging persons with disabilities to take advantage of the state's hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching opportunities.

"Accessible" describes places, facilities and programs that accommodate persons with disabilities.
"Handicapped" is used in conjunction with designated parking spaces to be consistent with wording used in state regulations.
“Mobility-impaired” describes the inability of a person to use one or more of his/her extremities, or a lack of strength to walk, grasp, or lift objects.  
"Person with disabilities" describes a person with physical and/or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual.
“Sportsmen” refers to males and females who participate in wildlife-related recreation.

The Disabled Access Program is defined by NCAC 10D.0102, paragraph n.

The Disabled Sportsman Program is defined by N.C. General Statute 113-296.

Disabled Sportsman Permit Hunts

The Commission has developed a three-tier hunting system for disabled hunters. This tier system is designed to offer a variety of hunting levels for disabled hunters.

Tier I hunts are those on game lands where areas and access have been designated for disabled hunters. These hunts are not a part of the Permit Hunting Opportunities Program and do not require a special hunt permit, but may require a Disabled Access Permit

Tier II hunts are those on game lands and refuges that are included in the Permit Hunting Opportunities Program and allow managed participation for disabled hunters and their companion in order to provide unique hunting opportunities. A permit is required for these hunts. Some may have designated blinds.

Tier III hunts are Commission-facilitated and assisted hunts located on a game land within each region. These hunts offer managed participation for disabled hunters and their companion in areas where blinds are provided and offer a unique hunting opportunity. A permit and orientation is required for these hunts.

See Permit Hunting Opportunities in NC for more information on disabled sportsman permit hunts.

To qualify for a disabled hunt permit, you must possess at least one of the following:


Applicants will be charged a $10 nonrefundable administrative fee that covers all disabled hunts applied for in one transaction.

  • Unless otherwise stated, permit holders may bring a companion to assist and hunt. The companion must carry the companion card received with the permit and must hunt alongside the permit holder at all times. There is no fee or application required for the companion. Companions may not apply for disabled hunts individually. 
  • On multiple day hunts, the companion may be different for each hunt day as long as they have the companion card.
  • If orientation is required, the disabled hunter must attend in order for the permit to be valid.
     

Disabled Access on Game Lands

This program allows persons with limited physical mobility to operate vehicles on open-gated or designated roads on certain game lands otherwise closed to vehicular traffic. Participants are issued permanent identification cards, companion cards and vehicular access permits, valid as long as their disability persists. The vehicular access permit must be displayed in the passenger area of the vehicle. One able-bodied person, carrying the "Companion Card," may accompany the person with the disability. The companion must remain in visual or verbal contact with the hunter at all times. There is no charge for this program.

Qualifications
Competent medical evidence must be submitted indicating that a disability exists that limits physical mobility, to the extent that normal utilization of the game lands is not possible without vehicular assistance.

Disabled Access Application
 

Game Lands with disabled access (roads and/or blinds) include:

  • Bertie County
  • Bladen Lakes State Forest
  • Butner-Falls of Neuse
  • Croatan National Forest
  • Goose Creek
  • Green River
  • Gull Rock
  • Holly Shelter
  • J. Morgan Futch
  • Johns River
  • Juniper Creek
  • Lantern Acres
  • Lower Roanoke River Wetlands
  • Needmore
  • Pisgah National Forest
  • R. Wayne Bailey – Caswell
  • Rockfish Creek
  • Sandhills
  • South Mountains
  • Stones Creek
  • Suggs Mill Pond
  • Thurmond Chatham
  • Tillery
  • Upper Roanoke River Wetlands
  • White Oak River
     

See Game Lands maps for locations of disabled access.

Huntmaster Hunt Unit Program

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) provides the Huntmaster  mobile hunting and wildlife viewing blind for organized, wildlife recreation events, such as hunts, fishing events, and wildlife watching.
 
The Huntmaster is a mobile hunting blind and trailer that can be set up by one individual. It features all-steel heavy-duty construction throughout. A fail-safe hydraulic system is powered by a solar-powered, 12v deep-cycle battery. Set-up features include four rugged, steel-beam outriggers, each with adjustable stabilizers. The Huntmaster has a roomy 6x6-foot interior and can lift up to 750 pounds to 20 feet, providing a great vantage point and reducing the element of human scent for that hunt-of-a-lifetime opportunity.

In partnership with the N.C. Handicapped Sportsman and the WRC, sportsmen donated funds to provide 10 Huntmasters located in each of the agency’s nine districts. The Huntmaster may be reserved for organized wildlife recreation events only and are not available to individuals. Advanced reservation is required.
 

First priority is given to WRC-organized events. Second priority is given to partner agencies/organizations that provide public hunting or wildlife viewing opportunities for the disabled. Third priority is given to organized hunting or wildlife viewing events provided by established, private organizations. Application for Huntmaster reservation requires the name of the organization and contact information. The Huntmaster may also be reserved under the same priority structure for use at expos or other special events to promote hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities available for disabled North Carolinians.

For more information, see Huntmaster.

Track Chair

The Wildlife Commission provides track chairs for use by mobility-impaired sportsmen at organized wildlife recreation events. 

The track chairs, which were supplied by the N.C. Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Commission and other donors, are equipped with rubberized tracks instead of wheels and two 12-volt batteries, allowing the user to overcome many types of terrain for up to six hours. Each chair is outfitted with a fishing rod and long gun holder, providing greater access to hunting, shooting, angling and wildlife-watching opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Click here to reserve the track chairs for your organized event. For more information on the WRC track chair program, contact travis.casper@ncwildlife.org, 919-707-0337.

Fishing Programs

With help from the Sport Fish Restoration Fund, a federal excise tax and import duty on fishing equipment and motorboat fuel, the Commission has developed fishing sites and boating access areas across the state. The fishing access areas are known as Public Fishing Areas (PFAs), some of which are Community Fishing Program sites (CFPs). There are also boating access areas (BAAs) that allow free, 24-hour access to public bodies of water in North Carolina. Many of these locations are accessible to anglers with disabilities. Development at PFA sites varies from simple brush removal to the construction of accessible fishing piers and boat launching facilities. Most CFP sites are periodically stocked with catchable size channel catfish during the fishing season. 

Public Fishing Areas

Most PFAs are open to the public at no charge; however, use is generally restricted to fishing activities. The mooring of boats and jet skis, swimming and camping are prohibited at most PFAs. The total number of PFAs and the number of PFAs that are accessible is constantly increasing. For a complete up-to-date list of all PFAs, contact the Wildlife Resources Commission at 919-707-0220 or visit the N.C. Fishing Access Map.

Community Fishing Program Sites (CFPs)

Community Fishing Program sites (CFPs) are cooperatively operated by the Commission and local governments. CFPs are open to the public, and many have regular opening and closing hours.

Most CFPs are located in city- or county-owned parks; therefore, other recreational opportunities are usually available. Most CFPs have fishing facilities for persons with disabilities. As the number of CFPs is constantly increasing, contact the Fisheries division at 919 707-0220 for a current list or see the CFP sites here.

 

Tackle Loaner Program

First-time and novice anglers in North Carolina are encouraged to borrow rods and reels free of charge to join in the fishing fun this year. The loaner rods and reels are provided by various city and county parks statewide through the Commission's Tackle Loaner Program (TLP). 
 

The Commission created the Tackle Loaner Program to introduce North Carolinians, especially children, to fishing and to encourage novice anglers to continue developing their angling skills. The Commission has worked to expand the tackle loaner program to parks across the state, including those that are already participating in the Commission's Community Fishing Program.


The Tackle Loaner Program operates just like a library. Anglers of all ages register at participating parks to receive a tackle loaner ID card, which allows them to check out a rod and reel. Anglers under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian complete the registration form. After returning the loaner rods and reels to the park office, first-time participants under 16 years of age will receive a free mini-tackle box containing hooks, bobbers, sinkers, and a stringer. Tackle loaner ID cards can be used at other participating sites in North Carolina, but rods and reels must be returned to the original loaner site.
 

Be sure to also see Fishing Publications for more information. For further assistance or to receive a brochure with directions, contact (919) 707-0220. Directions to Community Fishing Program sites can also be also found on the N.C. Fishing Access Map.

 

 

Boating Access Areas

Boating is undoubtedly one of the state's more popular sports, with more than 200,000 boats registered in North Carolina. The Commission has established free, open 24-hours boating access areas (BAAs) across the state. Most of them are accessible for boaters with disabilities. New areas are being established on a continuing basis. View the interactive BAA Locator with identified disabled access.

Access Partners

  • For information on a wide variety of public and private programs, request a free copy of ACCESS North Carolina produced by the Vocational Rehabilitation Services, N.C. Department of Human Resources, and distributed in cooperation with (write to):

    Division of Travel and Tourism
    N.C. Department of Economic and Community Development
    Raleigh, NC 27611
    or call 1-800-Visit NC (1-800-847-4862)
  • For information on deer hunts, duck blinds, fishing piers and other accessible recreational opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries in the state, contact:

    Public Affairs Office
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Richard B. Russell Federal Building
    75 Spring Street, SW, Room 1200
    Atlanta, GA 30303
  • For information on accessible National Park Service programs in the state, contact:

    Office of Public Affairs
    National Park Service
    P.O. Box 37127
    Washington, D.C. 20013-7127
  • For information on hunting, fishing and other accessible outdoor recreational programs on National Forests in the state, contact:

    Public Affairs Office
    U.S. Forest Service
    P.O. Box 96090
    Washington, D.C. 20013-6090
  • For information on North Carolina's nature preserves, natural areas, parks and recreational areas contact:

    N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation
    P.O. Box 27687
    Raleigh, NC 27611-7687