North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

2018-19 North Carolina Regulations Digest

North Carolina offers some excellent hunting opportunities. If you are a resident or visitor to the state, please review the links below to ensure that you understand the rules, regulations and other guidelines.

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

Hunting

Hunting Regulations

Game Lands

Game Lands Information

  • Game Lands Regulations  
    This page contains information about game land restrictions, Youth Waterfowl Day, Disabled Access and Disabled Sportsman Programs. Also, either-sex seasons and other rules applying to individual game lands.
     
  • View Interactive Game Lands Maps
    Here you can view an interactive map of game lands.  The view can be customized to see specific species  and other available options such as camping grounds. Driving directions to the game lands are another selection on the map. Also available are downloadable maps of the game lands.

Local Laws

 

Local Laws Information

Big Game Harvest Reporting

Landowner Protection Act

The new Landowner Protection Act provides two ways for landholders to post their lands to allow only hunters, trappers and anglers with written permission to legally enter their property:

  • As permitted in the past, the landholder can place notices, signs, or posters on the property boundaries at a distance of 200 yards apart or closer.
  • A new way for landholders to post their property is with purple paint. The landholder can paint a vertical line of purple paint on trees or posts around property boundary, or areas intended to prohibit trespass. The paint line needs to be at least 8" long and the bottom of the line should be between 3' and 5' from the base of the tree or post. The paint marks need to be placed 100 yards apart or closer.

Sportsmen need written permission, dated within the past 12 months, signed by the land owner or lessee, to hunt, fish, or trap on lands posted with signs or purple paint. You must carry written permission on your person. If a hunting club has leased the land, hunters must have a copy of their hunting club membership and a copy of the landowner permission given to that club. Wildlife officers will enforce the Landowner Protection Act.

The Landowner Protection Act does not change general trespass laws nor have any effect on lands which are not posted. It does not repeal any local acts currently in effect that require written permission to hunt, fish or trap.

North Carolina law encourages owners of land to make property available for recreational use. The law states that a landowner who allows someone, without charge, onto their land for recreational purposes owes them the same duty of care they would owe a trespasser.


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.

Night Hunting FAQs

Fishing

North Carolina offers some great fishing opportunities. If you are a resident or visitor to the state, please review the links below to ensure that you understand the rules, regulations and other guidelines.

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

Inland Fishing

Inland Fishing Regulations
Regulatory authority between the Wildlife Resources Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. Inland game fish regulations include Manner of Taking, Seasons and Using Trotlines and Set-hooks.

 

 

Saltwater Fishing

Trapping

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.

Nongame & Other Regulations

The Wildlife Resources Commission has a much broader regulatory responsibility than just the recreational activities of hunting, trapping and fishing. General Statutes charge the Commission with stewardship of all wildlife resources. As a result, the Commission enforces other rules, many pertaining to nongame wildlife. Nongame animals are defined in the General Statutes as "all wild animals except game and fur-bearing animals". Please see the Definition of Terms applied to governing possession, buying and selling of wildlife for more information.
 

Nongame Regulations

 Possession and Collection
Rules about possession, collection, taking and transporting nongame wildlife.

NC's State and Federally Listed Wildlife Species (pdf)
List of protected species in North Carolina

Other Regulations

Possession and Collection
Facts about possession of wildlife. 
 
Sale of Wildlife Regulations
Rules for buying and selling wildlife. 

Wildlife Depredation
Regulations applying to wildlife that cause property damage.

If you require more specific information about a situation, you may contact the Wildlife Enforcement Division. For a legal opinion concerning a specific question, you may wish to consult a private attorney.

Proposed Regulations

 

Proclamations

Resolutions

Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

 

Related Information