North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission: Licenses and Services

Overview of Licensing

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission primarily funds its public services through the sale of various licenses. These include licenses for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other related activities. Each type of license differs based on the activities authorized, the location and time of these activities, and the residency status of the license-holder. All licenses issued are nontransferable.

Purchasing Licenses

Licenses can be obtained through the following methods:

  1. Wildlife Service Agents: Visit an agent for immediate license issuance.
  2. Online: Go to for online purchases.
  3. Phone: Call 833-950-0575.
  4. Direct Commission Contact: Obtain licenses in person at the Wildlife Resources Commission in Raleigh (NCSU Centennial Campus, 1751 Varsity Drive, Raleigh, N.C. 27606).

A $5 transaction fee applies to the total order at the time of purchase.

Disabled Licenses

Disabled licenses and permits are available for North Carolina residents. These can be purchased online or in person at the Commission's headquarters in Raleigh. The Commission does not recognize disabled licenses or permits from other states. For more information or to apply, visit

License Information and Services

For detailed information on hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses, permit hunting opportunities, or to find a Wildlife Service Agent, visit

Reciprocal Fishing License Agreements

North Carolina has reciprocal fishing license agreements with Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia, allowing for certain fishing privileges in designated boundary waters. These agreements honor statewide hook-and-line fishing licenses from either North Carolina or the respective state. Key areas covered include:

  • Georgia: Chatuge Reservoir and accessible tributaries.
  • Tennessee: State-line portion of Slick Rock Creek and Calderwood Reservoir.
  • Virginia: Specific areas of the Dan and Staunton Rivers, Kerr and Gaston reservoirs, and related tributaries.

Note: There are no reciprocal agreements with South Carolina for boundary waters.

Wildlife Endowment Fund

The Wildlife Endowment Fund plays a crucial role in supporting North Carolina's wildlife heritage and conservation efforts. Revenue from lifetime license sales is directly deposited into this fund. Donations are also accepted. For more details, visit

License Requirements and Exceptions in North Carolina

License Identification Requirements

To legally exercise privileges granted by a Wildlife Resources Commission license, individuals must carry a photo ID. This ID should include their correct name, address, and date of birth. Acceptable forms include a North Carolina Driver License or DMV identification card.

Residency Definitions and Requirements

  • Resident: A person is a resident if they have lived in North Carolina for six months or have established a permanent residence for 60 days. A Certificate of Residency must be completed to confirm this status. Owning property in N.C. does not automatically confer residency if the individual claims residency in another state.

  • Students: Nonresident students attending a university, college, or community college in North Carolina are eligible for resident licenses. Valid student identification is required.

  • Military Stationed in N.C.: Nonresident U.S. Armed Forces members, including their spouses and children under 18 stationed in North Carolina, are considered residents for license purposes.

  • Military Stationed Outside N.C.: Active duty U.S. Armed Forces members outside North Carolina are deemed residents of the State for purchasing short-term and annual hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses.

  • Nonresident: This status applies to those who do not meet the above conditions for residency.

Hunter Education Course Requirement

As of July 1, 2013, purchasing a hunting license requires one of the following:

  • A hunter education certificate of competency.
  • A N.C. hunting heritage apprentice permit.
  • A N.C. hunting license issued before July 1, 2013.

Lifetime license purchasers must complete the hunter education course or hunt with a licensed adult.

Exceptions to License Requirements

  • Landowners and Lessees: May hunt, trap, and fish on their land without a license.

  • Military on Leave: Members of the U.S. Armed Forces on leave from duty outside of N.C. are exempt from license requirements for up to 30 days.

  • Youth Hunters and Trappers: Youth under 16 are exempt from hunting and trapping licenses but must adhere to certain conditions and obtain a License-Exempt Big Game Harvest Report Card and a Bear Management E-Stamp for bear hunting.

  • Fishing Exceptions: Youth under 16 do not require a fishing license. July 4th is a “Free Fishing Day” for all in public waters. Honorable discharged Armed Forces members are exempt from Mountain Heritage Trout fishing license requirements.

  • Residents with Unified Subsistence Inland/Coastal Recreational Fishing License Waiver: Exempt from inland and coastal recreational fishing license requirements.


Understanding these specific North Carolina licensing requirements and exceptions ensures compliance with state wildlife regulations. This is crucial for responsible and legal hunting, trapping, and fishing activities within the state. For more detailed information, visit

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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.