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Recreational Licenses in North Carolina

North Carolina recreational licenses are required in order to fish for or hunt for most types of game within the borders of the state. The exact NC recreational licensing types that are necessary, and the rules you must follow, vary depending on the type of game you plan to catch, where you intend to catch it and the methods you plan to use. For example, special licenses are required to capture waterfowl or fish for specific marine species. Similarly, if you plan to hunt big game such as bears or deer, you must obtain the license or licenses needed for the exact hunting activity in which you intend to engage. NC recreational licenses are distributed and monitored by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). The NCWRC license requirements you need to meet in order to fish or hunt also vary based on whether you are a North Carolina resident or not. Information regarding North Carolina recreational license types is provided below.

North Carolina Hunting Licenses

North Carolina offers three primary types of game-hunting licenses. A basic hunting license allows you to hunt for standard small game that does not require additional licenses. If you plan to hunt for larger game, then you will need a comprehensive hunting license instead. The comprehensive hunting license will also allow you to hunt for waterfowl and will allow you to hunt on game preserves. However, you will also need a federal duck stamp for waterfowl hunting. In the event that you only plan to hunt on a preserve or you want to fox hunt or hunt for birds that have been raised in a pen, you will need the third type of NC hunting license, which is called a controlled hunting preserve license.

North Carolina Fishing Licenses

If you require a North Carolina fishing license, then you must obtain the proper license for the area in which you wish to fish. North Carolina issues coastal recreational fishing licenses as well as inland fishing licenses. You may also purchase a unified fishing license, allowing you to fish both inland and on the coast. A special North Carolina inland fishing devices license is also required in order to fish using nets, traps or other devices.

North Carolina Combination Recreational Licenses

If you intend to both fish and hunt during the course of the year, you can purchase one of several recreational licenses covering both activities. A combination hunting and inland fishing license will allow you to fish in joint or inland waters as well as hunt. A sportsman license will allow you to hunt on both water and land as well as the ability to hunt waterfowl and big game on game lands. You may instead purchase a unified sportsman/coastal fishing license, which will give you the same abilities above as well as allow you to fish in coastal waters and Public Mountain Trout Waters.

North Carolina Privilege Licenses

Depending on the North Carolina fish or game you intend to catch, you may be required to purchase a special privilege license in addition to a basic hunting, fishing or combination recreational license. For example, in North Carolina, a big game hunting privilege license is required in order for you to hunt for wild turkey, bear or deer. There are also special privilege licenses for trout fishing, migratory game bird hunting and hunting or trapping specifically on game lands.

North Carolina Resident and Nonresident Recreational Licenses

You must purchase either a resident or nonresident North Carolina recreational license based on your residency status. Many resident and nonresident license costs are the same for certain types of licenses, such as federal duck stamp and waterfowl hunting privilege licenses. However, some NC recreational license costs are higher for nonresidents, including big game hunting privilege licenses.

North Carolina Disabled Recreational Licenses

If you are disabled and also a lifetime North Carolina resident, then you qualify for a North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission disabled recreational license. There are several disabled hunting and fishing licenses available. For example, the totally disabled sportsman license is available if the Social Security Administration has deemed you to be permanently disabled. Special disabled recreational hunting and fishing licenses in NC are also available at a discount for veterans. Therefore, if you are a former service member and the Department of Veteran Affairs has certified you as disabled, you will qualify for the disabled veteran sportsman license instead of the standard disabled sportsman license. Regardless of your veteran or non-veteran status, you must still purchase additional privileged licenses when required to do so in order to hunt certain game.

North Carolina Child and Senior Recreational Licenses

NC hunting and fishing licenses are also available at discounted rates for children and senior citizens. For example, if you are a senior resident of North Carolina, then you can purchase a senior sportsman license for $15. However, you must still obtain additional special privilege licenses, such as federal duck stamps, if the game you are hunting or the place in which you are hunting require privilege licenses. There are also reduced rates for children under the age of 12.

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