Sale Of Wildlife Regulations

The Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) is charged with responsibility for the regulation and conservation of wildlife in North Carolina. It should be noted, however, that the federal government and, to a lesser degree, local governments also have regulations that deal with this subject. This response addresses only the WRC statutes and regulations pertaining to the sale of wildlife. Questions involving federal regulation should be addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Statutes pertaining to the sale of wildlife may be found in Chapter 113-291.3 of the North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS). Rules addressing this subject may be found in Title 15A of the North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC).

Tab/Accordion Items

As a general rule wildlife, in whole or in part, may not be bought or sold in North Carolina although the law does make some exceptions. This broad prohibition is set out in N.C.G.S. §113-291.3 as follows:

"Live wildlife and the nests and eggs of wild birds may be taken, possessed, transported, bought, sold, imported, exported, or otherwise acquired or disposed of only as specifically authorized in this Subchapter or its implementing rules. The Wildlife Resources Commission may impose necessary reporting, permit, and tagging requirements in regulating activities involving live wildlife and the nests and eggs of wild birds. The Wildlife Resources Commission may charge a reasonable fee to defray the cost of any tagging procedure."

NCGS §113-291.3 and §113-291.4 set out some exceptions to the general rule that wildlife may not be bought and sold. They are:

  • Lawfully taken wildlife may be sold to those persons who have licenses or permits from the WRC authorizing them to buy wildlife. For example, licensed fur dealers.
  • Dead rabbits and squirrels and their edible parts may be sold if not sold for resale.
  • Foxes taken with a depredation permit may be sold to a licensed fur dealer provided they are properly tagged according to Administrative Rules (see current Inland Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Regulations Digest).
  • Lawfully taken non-game animals open to hunting and lawfully taken non-game fish may be sold. The only non-game animals presently open to hunting are feral swine, nutria, armadillos, stripped skunks, groundhogs and coyote. The only open season for non-game birds is crow and the sale of crow is illegal under federal law.
  • Lawfully taken fur-bearing animals and their parts, including furs and pelts, may, subject to any tagging and reporting requirements, be possessed, transported, bought and sold to licensed fur dealers. Processed furs acquired through lawful channels within or without the State by persons other than fur dealers may be bought and sold.
  • Wildlife specimens or their parts that are mounted, stuffed, or otherwise permanently preserved may be sold with a Trophy Wildlife Sale permit.
  • The pelt or feathers of deer, elk, fox, pheasant, quail, rabbit, or squirrel (fox and gray) may be bought or sold for the purpose of making fishing flies provided that the source of these animals may be documented as being legally obtained from out of state sources or from lawfully operated commercial breeding facilities. Refer to 50 C.F.R. 20.91 for federal requirements related to buying and selling migratory game birds.
  • Raw hides from any lawfully-taken or possessed white-tailed deer may be sold.
  • Lawfully taken reptiles and amphibians may be sold. Bag limits and wildlife collection license requirements apply.

As stated above, the North Carolina Administrative Code also contains provisions pertinent to the sale of wildlife. 15A NCAC 10B .0118 "Sale of Wildlife" contains the following provisions:

The sale of game birds and game animals or parts is prohibited, except that processed products of lawfully taken game birds and animals other than those made from edible portions may be sold provided that no label or advertisement identifies the product as a game bird, game animal, or part thereof and provided further that the game bird or game animal was lawfully acquired and the product is not readily identifiable as a game bird or game animal or part thereof.

The sale of edible portions or products of game birds and game animals is prohibited, except as may otherwise be provided (see preceding paragraph).

Licensed trappers and hunters may sell the carcasses or pelts of coyote harvested during the trapping season to a licensed fur dealer. They may also sell coyotes found dead if the coyote was found during the open coyote season. Licensed trappers may also live-trap coyotes during any open trapping season for coyote for the purposes of selling them to licensed controlled fox hunting preserves.

In the counties of Dare, Hyde, Washington, Tyrrell, and Beaufort, coyotes taken under a depredation permit shall be reported to the Wildlife Resources Commission within 24 hours and disposed of as stated on the permit.


Any fox killed under a depredation permit may be disposed of in the same manner or upon compliance with the fur tagging requirements. The carcass or pelt may be sold to a licensed fur dealer.

The carcass or pelt of any furbearing animal killed during the open season for taking such furbearing animal either accidentally or for control of depredations to property, whether with or without a permit, may be sold to a licensed fur dealer provided that the person offering such carcass or pelt for sale has a valid hunting or trapping license, provided further that, bobcats and otters may only be sold upon compliance with any fur tagging requirement.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Rule, processed meat and other parts of American alligators, which have been lawfully taken in a state in which there is an open season for harvesting alligators, may be possessed, bought and sold when such products are marketed in packages or containers which are distinctly labeled to indicate the state in which they were taken and the identity, location, and lawful authority of the processor or distributor.