Methods of Take

Definition and Scope of "Taking" Wildlife

The term "take" encompasses all actions related to capturing, killing, pursuing, hunting, or otherwise harming or acquiring fisheries or wildlife resources. This definition is comprehensive, including all phases of the hunting process – before, during, and after the actual act, irrespective of the outcome.

Consistent Season Dates

Hunting seasons are typically consistent annually, starting on the same weekday each year. For instance, rabbit hunting season customarily begins on the Monday closest to October 15th and concludes on the last day of February. Seasonal adjustments, if any, due to regulatory changes are indicated in red ink. Variations from the previous year primarily result from the natural shifting of dates in the calendar.

General Hunting Restrictions

Specific lawful seasons and bag limits are applicable from the start to the end of the listed season. Special rules for Sunday hunting include:

  • No firearm hunting between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. except in controlled preserves.
  • Migratory bird hunting is forbidden.
  • Deer hunting with firearms is restricted when dogs are used.
  • Hunting within 500 yards of a place of worship is prohibited.
  • Archery hunting is exempt from these restrictions.

Shooting hours are confined to 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset for most game, with exceptions for raccoons, feral swine, opossums, and certain counties for coyotes. Migratory game birds have specific federally regulated hours.

Retrieval Practices

For big game, legal retrieval methods include using a portable light and a leashed dog post-sunset until 11:00 p.m. to locate wounded animals. Dispatch methods are limited to .22-caliber rimfire pistols, archery equipment, or appropriate handguns.

Archery Equipment Specifications

In North Carolina, archery equipment for hunting includes longbows, recurved bows, compound bows, crossbows, and slingbows. Minimum pull weights and broadhead specifications vary based on the game. For instance, a minimum pull of 40 pounds for longbows and recurved bows is required for bear, deer, elk, wild turkey, alligator, and feral swine hunting.

Shotgun and Pistol Regulations

  • Shotguns must be no larger than 10-gauge, and for migratory birds, they must be limited to a three-shell capacity.
  • Pistols are permitted for hunting various small game, with no restrictions on caliber or barrel length. Specific rules apply for deer and bear hunting.

Rifle and Blackpowder Use

  • Fully automatic rifles are prohibited.
  • Local laws may restrict rifle use in certain areas.
  • Blackpowder firearms are defined and regulated, particularly during the blackpowder deer season.

Baiting, Attractants, and Hunting with Dogs

  • Specific regulations apply to baiting and attractants for various wildlife, including birds, wild turkeys, and black bears.
  • Hunting with dogs is regulated differently across counties, with specific prohibitions in certain areas.
  • Training of dogs for hunting is subject to various rules, particularly during closed seasons.

Field Trials and Motor Vehicle Use

  • Commission-sanctioned field trials have specific guidelines.
  • Motor vehicles, boats, and vessels have restrictions in their use for hunting.

Safety and Ethical Hunting Practices

  • Hunter or blaze orange attire is mandatory for certain game hunting with firearms.
  • Use of artificial lights and electronic calls is regulated, with exceptions for certain game and circumstances.
  • Road hunting and other restricted methods, like the use of fire or hunting swimming deer, are governed by specific rules.

Additional Hunting Regulations in North Carolina

Local Laws and Restrictions

Local laws play a crucial role in hunting and trapping activities in North Carolina. There are various local regulations that might be more stringent than the general state rules. Hunters are advised to refer to the "Local Laws" section in the official Digest for detailed information on county-specific restrictions.

Exotic Species and Feral Swine

The introduction of exotic, non-indigenous wild animals or birds, and feral swine for the purpose of hunting or trapping is strictly prohibited in North Carolina. Exceptions exist only for licensed-controlled hunting preserves under specific circumstances.

Transfer and Gifting of Wildlife

Wildlife lawfully hunted in North Carolina can be gifted, provided the recipient does not exceed the legal possession limits. The recipient must have written documentation detailing the donor's name, address, and the licensing conditions under which the wildlife was taken. This is particularly critical for big game animals, where the authorization number must also be retained.

Trespassing and Hunting on Private Property

Open seasons do not equate to unrestricted access to private lands for hunting. Ethical hunting mandates obtaining permission from landowners before engaging in any hunting activity on their property. Some counties have mandated obtaining explicit permission for hunting on private lands.

State Fish Hatcheries

At state-owned fish hatcheries, possessing a loaded firearm within a posted restricted zone, or discharging a firearm into or across such a zone, is illegal.

Sale of Wildlife

In North Carolina, the sale of whole wildlife animals or their parts is generally prohibited, with specific exceptions. Detailed guidelines and exceptions are available on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's website.

Disposal of Wildlife Carcasses

The improper disposal of animal remains, including wildlife carcasses, is illegal in North Carolina. Permission is required for any form of disposal.

Import and Possession of Cervid Carcass Parts

Strict regulations govern the import, transport, and possession of cervid carcasses or parts originating outside North Carolina. Acceptable parts include boned-out meat, caped hides, antlers, cleaned skull plates, jaws, teeth, and finished taxidermy products, all subject to specific labeling requirements. These regulations aim to control and prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and other diseases.

For detailed regulations regarding the movement of cervid carcasses in CWD surveillance areas and more information on deer diseases, hunters should consult the Deer Regulations and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's website.

North Carolina General Hunting Laws and Regulations

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.