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.
- Youth under age 16 are exempt from the requirements of a basic inland 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 big game.
(There is no fee for the License-Exempt Big Game Harvest Report Card.)
Basic annual and short-term licenses may have additional requirements called"privileges" that authorize particular hunting and fishing activities(example: hunting for big game or fishing in designated trout waters). These privileges must be purchased in addition to the appropriate basic 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.
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!
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).
General information about NC Coastal Recreational Fishing License can be found and the NC Division of Marine Fisheries website. If you would like to purchase a Coastal Recreational Fishing License, click here.
Reporting big game harvests is a requirement in North Carolina. Hunters should carry their Big Game Harvest Report Card (formerly known as tags) with them while hunting deer, bear and wild turkey. Upon harvesting a big game animal, hunters are required to immediately validate (punch out) the appropriate crosshair symbol on the report card. Hunters must report the kill within 24 hours by calling 1-800-I-GOT-ONE, by going online, or by visiting a participating Wildlife Service Agent.
The Big Game Harvest Report Card contains a Harvest ID number located above each harvest authorization line. Hunters will be required to provide a Harvest ID number when reporting each harvest. This number will be used to verify that the hunter currently holds an active report card and to access the big game harvest reporting system. Once verified by the system, the hunter will be asked a series of questions associated with their harvest. At the end of the reporting process, the hunter will receive an authorization number which should be recorded on the appropriate line on the Big Game Harvest Report Card and is required to legally posses the harvest.
Big Game Harvest Report Cards can be obtained by going online, by calling 1-888-248-6834, or by visiting a Wildlife Service Agent*. Active big game hunting license privileges are required when obtaining a report card. Lifetime license-holders may obtain their big game harvest report card without a $2 transaction fee by going directly to Lifetime License Information. Persons exempt by law from the big game hunting license must obtain a big game harvest report card for "license exempt hunters" by calling 1-888-248-6834 or by visiting a Wildlife Service Agent*. (Note: license-exempt big game harvest report cards are not available online.)
Big Game Harvest Report Cards will always expire on June 30 of each year. If your hunting license is still valid after the report card expires, you may obtain a replenishment card by calling 1-888-248-6834, or by visiting a Wildlife Service Agent*.
*A $2 transaction fee may be applied to your total order.
Nonresident students may purchase a resident license while attending a university, college, or community college in NC. When purchasing your license at a Wildlife Service Agent, you must show your valid student identification.
Due to documentation requirements, Infant and Youth Lifetime Licenses cannot be purchased online. Infant and Youth Licenses can be applied for at any Wildlife Service Agent, by mail, or in person with the Commission.
Infant and youth applications must be received at WRC Headquarters or processed at a Wildlife Service Agent the day before the child turns 1 or 12 years of age. Applications received on or after the child’s 1st or 12th birthday CANNOT be processed as an infant or youth license.
A copy of the birth certificate must accompany applications for infant and youth licenses.
Applications are available under Forms & Applications.
Due to documentation requirements Disabled Licenses can only be applied for by mail and in person. Applications are available under Forms & Applications.
- Disabled Veteran Lifetime License
This license shall be issued only to an individual resident of North Carolina who is a fifty percent or more disabled veteran as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, remaining valid for the lifetime of the individual so long as the individual remains fifty percent or more disabled. Certification from the Department of Veterans Affairs must be submitted with the application.
- Totally Disabled Inland Fishing
This license shall be issued only to an individual resident of North Carolina who is TOTALLY disabled as determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and remains valid for the lifetime of the individual so long as the individual remains totally disabled. Certification from the SSA must be submitted with the application.