Hunting, Fishing & Trapping Licenses

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission offers various types of licenses and permits that differ with regard to the activities they authorize. This site provides information about the licenses and permits available, the privileges they authorize and the associated fees. All licenses are nontransferable.


License Types and Fees



License Requirements



Purchase a License


There are many ways to purchase a license. Please note that a $2 transaction fee, as mandated by NCGS 113-270.1B, may apply at time of license purchase.

  • By Phone (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.): 888-248-6834


Need Assistance?


Customer service is available Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 888-248-6834 or


Forms and Applications



Frequently Asked Questions


What kind of license do I need?

This depends on the type of activity that you plan to do and also if you live in the state of North Carolina.  

  • Do you plan to hunt, trap and/or fish (in coastal or inland waters) in North Carolina? 
  • How often would you participate in these activities this year? 
  • Are you a resident or non-resident of North Carolina? 

These are some of the questions that may help determine which license is best suited for you. For example, if you live outside of North Carolina and plan to make only one fishing trip to the state, then a non-resident, short-term license may be your best option. If you are resident and plan to hunt, fish and use the public Game Lands, then a resident Sportsman license may be your best option. Please review License Residents Guide and License Nonresidents Guide to determine the license that meets your needs.


At what age is a licensed required?

  • Youth under age 16 are exempt from the requirements of any fishing license and trout privilege license.
  • Youth under age 16 are exempt from the requirement of a hunting license provided they comply with the following:
    • Youth who have not obtained a Certificate of Competency showing their completion of the hunter safety course must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult when hunting.
    • Youth who have obtained a Certificate of Competency, may hunt without being accompanied by an adult, but must carry their certificate while hunting.
    • Youths exempt from the hunting license requirement must obtain a “License-Exempt Big Game Harvest Report Card” when hunting deer, bear or wild turkey. Youth hunting bear must also obtain a "Bear Management E-Stamp". There is no fee for the License-Exempt Big Game Harvest Report Card or Bear Management E-Stamp for youth.
  • Youth under age 16 are exempt from the requirement of a trapping license.


What is a privilege?

Annual and short-term licenses may have additional requirements called "privileges" that authorize particular hunting activities (example: hunting for big game). These privileges must be purchased in addition to the appropriate annual or short-term license. To determine which privileges are required in addition to the license, select Privilege Licenses.

All licensed hunters hunting migratory game birds (dove, rails, woodcock, snipe, or waterfowl) in North Carolina are required to have certification in the Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP). Certification can be obtained free of charge from any Wildlife Service Agent* when you purchase a hunting license. 


What is "HIP"?

Lifetime license-holders may also obtain HIP certification by going online, or  by calling 1-888-248-6834, or by visiting a Wildlife Service Agent*. Persons exempt by law from the hunting license requirement are not required to obtain the HIP certification.

*When issued at a Wildlife Service Agent, a $2 transaction fee may be applied to your total order.

Please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website and learn more about HIP!


Do I need a license for saltwater fishing?

Yes. As of January 1, 2007, any individuals 16 years or older who want to recreationally finfish in any water designated as coastal or joint waters of North Carolina must purchase a NC Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL). All license holders who purchased a NCWRC Lifetime Sportsman or Lifetime Comprehensive fishing license prior to January 1, 2006, are exempted from purchasing the CRFL.


Who is eligible for a volunteer firefighter, rescue and emergency medical services squad lifetime license?

Any volunteer firefighter who appears as a volunteer on the certified roster of eligible firefighters submitted to the NC State Firefighters’ Association for five consecutive fiscal years including the last fiscal year. Any volunteer rescue or emergency medical services squad members appearing on the certified roster of eligible rescue or emergency medical services squad members submitted to the North Carolina Association of Rescue and Emergency Medical Services, Inc for five consecutive fiscal years including the last fiscal year. The state fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th. Volunteer Firefighter, Rescue Squad and EMS Squad Lifetime License Frequently Asked Questions