North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Exceptions for Obtaining a License

  • A youth under age 16, accompanied by a properly licensed adult, may enjoy those privileges conveyed by the licenses held by the accompanying adult.
  • A youth under 16, who has obtained a certificate of competency showing his or her completion of the hunter safety course, may hunt without a license, but must carry his or her certificate while hunting.
  • A landowner or person leasing land primarily for cultivation, their spouse, and dependents under 18 residing with them, may hunt, trap and fish on such land without a license.
  • A resident of this state who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States serving outside the state, or who is on full-time military duty outside the state in a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States is exempt from hunting, inland and coastal fishing license requirements while on leave in this state for 30 days or less. Those who qualify for this exemption shall carry on his or her person at all times, during the hunting or fishing activity, their military identification card and a copy of the official document confirming they are on authorized leave from a duty station outside of North Carolina.
An individual exempt from the requirements of a hunting license must obtain a “Big Game Harvest Report Card” from the Wildlife Resources Commission or a wildlife service agent, at no charge, when exercising the privileges of big game hunting.

  • Persons under age 16 are exempt from the requirement of a basic inland fishing and trout privilege license.
  • The game lands license is not required to fish in any waters on game lands or Wildlife Conservation Areas.
  • An inland fishing license is not required to fish in a private pond. A pond or lake located on land owned by a public body such as a state supported university or a governmental entity is not a private pond.
  • July 4th is declared “FREE FISHING DAY,” and a fishing license and trout privilege license are not required in any public waters on this date.
  • Residents with a valid Unified Subsistence Inland/Coastal Recreation Fishing License Waiver are exempt from requirement of a basic inland or coastal recreational fishing license.