Exceptions for Obtaining a License




  • 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 U.S. Armed Forces serving outside N.C., or who is on full-time military duty outside the state in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces is exempt from hunting, inland and coastal fishing license requirements while on leave in this state for 30 days or less. When hunting or fishing under this exemption you must carry, on your person, your military ID card and a copy of the official document confirming you are on leave from a duty station outside of N.C. Individuals hunting bear must purchase a “Bear Management E-Stamp.” You must also comply with all reporting and hunter safety requirements as mandated by the Commission and purchase a federal duck stamp if waterfowl hunting.

Individuals exempt from the requirements of a hunting license must obtain a “License-Exempt Big Game Harvest Report Card” when hunting deer, bear or wild  turkey. Those hunting bear must also obtain a “Bear Management E-Stamp.”

Individuals exempt from hunting and fishing license requirements must adhere to designated seasons and limits.


Hunting and Trapping

  • Youth under age 16 are exempt from the requirement of a hunting license provided they comply with the following:
  • Youth who have not obtained a Certificate of Competency showing their completion of  the hunter safety course must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult when hunting.
  • Youth who have obtained a Certificate of Competency, may hunt without being accompanied  by an adult, but must carry their certificate while hunting.
  • Youth exempt from the hunting license requirement must obtain a “License-Exempt Big Game Harvest Report Card” when hunting deer, bear or wild turkey.
  • Youth hunting bear must also obtain a “Bear Management E-Stamp.”
  • Youth under age 16 are exempt from the requirement of a trapping license.

  • Youth under age 16 are exempt from the requirement of any fishing license 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 private pond is a body of water arising within and lying wholly upon the lands of a single owner or a single group of joint owners or tenants in common, and from which fish cannot escape, and into which fish of legal size cannot enter from public waters at any time. 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, including coastal waters, on this date.
  • A resident or nonresident of this State who served as a member of the Armed Forces and who separated under honorable conditions is exempt from the Mountain Heritage Trout fishing license requirements while fishing in waters designated by the Wildlife Resources Commission as Mountain Heritage Trout waters. In order to qualify the individual shall have valid documentation of their service on his or her person at all times during the fishing activity.
  • Residents with a valid Unified Subsistence Inland/Coastal Recreational Fishing License Waiver are exempt from the requirement of a basic inland (does not include trout fishing) and coastal recreational fishing license.