North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Bobcat

Scientific Name: Lynx rufus
Classification: Game Species and Furbearer 
Abundance: Common throughout state

Species Profile (PDF)


Photo: Colleen Olfenbuttel

 

     
 

Additional Bobcat Information

The bobcat gets its name from its short tail (about 5 inches long) that is dark above and white below, coloring that may serve a signaling function. The bobcat’s fur is short, dense and soft and is light brown to reddish brown on the back. The underside and insides of the legs are white with dark spots or bars.

The fur down the middle of the back may be darker, and bobcats may be grayer in the winter than at other times of the year. Adult bobcats are about two times as large as a domestic cat, standing 20 inches to 30 inches at the shoulder. Adult weights range from 10 to 40 pounds, with males being about one third larger than females.

Although bobcats are found in a wide range of habitats in North Carolina, wooded habitats of the Coastal Plain and mountains support the largest numbers.

Bottomland hardwoods, young pine stands, swamps and pocosins provide good bobcat habitation in eastern North Carolina. In the mountains, mature forests with openings or early successional forests nearby are favored. Hollow trees, rock piles, brush piles, root masses of uprooted trees or similar sites are common bobcat dens.

The bobcat is a carnivore that favors early successional prey such as rabbits and mice. Bobcats may also consume birds, cotton rats, white-tailed deer, rodents, gray squirrels, raccoons, opossums and snakes.

Bobcats are active year-round and can be active day or night, but tend to exhibit crepuscular (dawn and dusk) activity.  Bobcats are solitary except during the breeding season, which usually occurs during February or March. 

Learn more about by reading the Bobcat species profile.

Dec. 1 – Feb. 28

In and east of Hertford, Bertie, Martin, Pitt, Greene, Lenoir, Duplin, Pender and New Hanover counties.

View map on Eregulations.com

Nov. 1 – Feb. 28

In all other counties.

NOTE: In addition to the regular trapping seasons  listed above, coyotes may be taken in counties, areas  and times where fox-trapping is allowed by statute

View map on Eregulations.com

Beaver

Nov. 1, 2018 – Mar. 31, 2019  - Statewide for beaver only

NOTE: Landowners whose property is or has been  damaged or destroyed by beaver may take beaver on their property anytime by any lawful method without obtaining a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission. The landowner may obtain assistance from other persons in taking the depredating beaver by giving those persons permission to take beaver on the landowner’s property.

Feral Swine

There is no closed season and no bag limits for trapping feral swine. A hunting or trapping license is required, except for those persons who are license-exempt (see the regulations digest).  A feral swine trapping permit is also required, even for those persons who are license-exempt. This free permit is available online. Only box and corral traps are legal for trapping feral swine and the permit number must be displayed on all traps. Traps must be constructed in a manner such that a non-target animal (such as a bear) can easily be released or can escape without harm. All feral swine must be euthanized while in the trap and may not be removed alive from any trap. The permit does not authorize access to any property. Landowner permission is still required. Feral swine trapping on game lands is allowed only with permission of the Commission. Call 919-707-0150 to inquire about trapping feral swine on game lands.

Fox

Jan. 6 - 27, 2019

Fox trapping is allowed in Clay, Graham, Henderson, Macon and Tyrrell counties with a daily bag limit of  two and a season bag limit of 10. Trappers must have fox tags prior to taking foxes, and the sale of live foxes under this season is prohibited.

Click here for more county-specific information on fox harvest seasons.
 

Nutria

There is no closed season and no bag limit for trapping nutria east of I-77.


Module Expired - 8/1/2015 12:00:00 AM

In and east of Hertford, Bertie, Martin, Pitt, Greene, Lenoir, Duplin, Pender and New Hanover counties.

NOTE: In addition to the regular trapping seasons listed, coyotes may be taken in counties, areas and times where fox-trapping is allowed by statute. 


Click on the map below for larger view of map.


Trapping Seasons Map
In and west of Northampton, Halifax, Edgecombe, Wilson, Wayne, Sampson, Bladen, Columbus and Brunswick.

NOTE: In addition to the regular trapping seasons listed, coyotes may be taken in counties, areas and times where fox-trapping is allowed by statute.

 

Click on the map below for larger view of map.


Trapping Seasons Map

Nov. 1 - Mar. 31

Statewide for beaver only.

NOTE: Landowners whose property is or has been damaged or destroyed by beaver may take beaver on their property anytime by any lawful method without obtaining a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission. The landowner may obtain assistance from other persons in taking the depredating beaver by giving those persons permission to take beaver on the landowner’s property.

NOTE: Any other animals captured outside the regulated trapping season for that species cannot be possessed and must be released.

County Fox Harvest Seasons Legislated by the N.C. General Assembly (PDF)

 

NOTE: The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) has elected to classify foxes only as a game animals. This classification means that the WRC may not allow foxes to be taken by trapping during the regulated furbearer trapping seasons. The WRC  has no authority to implement or regulate fox trapping seasons. Fox trapping seasons must be approved by the NCGA.

There is no closed season and no bag limit for trapping nutria east of I-77.

 

2018-19 Trapping Regulations and Information

The following trapping regulations are effective August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019.

 

Statewide Restrictions

Attendance

Every trap must be visited daily and any animal caught therein removed, except for completely submerged Conibear™-type traps, which must be visited at least once every 72 hours and any animal caught therein removed.

Tagging Requirement

Bobcat and Otter Tags (CITES tags):

  • Needed to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of bobcat or otter carcasses or pelts.
  • All bobcat and otter carcasses or pelts shall be properly tagged within 30 days following the close of the applicable hunting or trapping season. The Commission will not ship tags 23 consecutive days from the close of the season.
  • $2.20 per tag
  • Call (888) 248-6834 for information on purchasing Bobcat and Otter tags.

Fox Tags:

  • Needed to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of a fox carcass or pelt.
  • All fox carcasses or pelts shall be properly tagged within 30 days following the close of the applicable hunting or trapping season. The Commission will not ship tags 23 consecutive days from the close of the season.
  • $2.25 per tag
  • Call (888) 248-6834 for information on purchasing fox tags.
  • No fox tags needed in Beaufort, Chowan, Davidson, Hyde, Johnston, Rockingham and Stokes counties and Winston-Salem due to local law exemption.

Legal Trap Types

Collarum Reporting Forms

Collarum-type traps can be used only on coyotes and only under a depredation permit. All non-targets must be released

All forms are in a PDF format

Fox Laws

Only the N.C. General Assembly has the authority to allow fox harvest in a county through passage of a local law. 

Click here for more county-specific information on fox harvest seasons

Local Laws

Unlawful Harassment

 

In North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to interfere intentionally with the lawful taking of wildlife resources or to drive, harass, or intentionally disturb any wildlife resources for the purpose of disrupting the lawful taking of wildlife resources on public or private property. NOTE: This law does not apply to activity by a person on land he owns or leases or to a person who incidentally interferes with the taking of wildlife resources while using the land for other lawful activity such as agriculture, mining, or recreation.

Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable for a first conviction by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, by imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or by both and punishable for a second or subsequent conviction by a fine left to the discretion of the court. (North Carolina General Statute 295)

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you experience unlawful harassment, immediately notify your nearest wildlife enforcement officer, county sheriff's office or local police department. Advise the authorities of this law and that you wish to hunt peacefully.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Do not provoke a fight, threaten reprisals or use profanity. Remember these anti-hunting activists are seeking confrontation and may be accompanied by the news media.

The WRC is looking for skulls from harvested bobcats.  The teeth collected from skulls helps us determine the age of animals harvested, which is turn helps us track populations. 

If you are interested in participating, please see the flier for contact information.

 

Furbearer Cooperator Flier (PDF 533 KB)

Furbearer Cooperator Data Sheet (PDF 247 KB)