Written by attorney Bill Powers

North Carolina Hunting Laws - NCGS 113-291.1 (PART I) for LEGAL PROFESSIONALS

§ 113-291.1. Manner of taking wild animals and wild birds.

(a) Except as otherwise provided, game may only be taken between a half hour before sunrise and a half hour after sunset and only by one or a combination of the following methods:

(1) With a rifle, except that rifles may not be used in taking wild turkeys.

(2) With a shotgun not larger than number 10 gauge.

(3) With a bow and arrow of a type prescribed in the rules of the Wildlife Resources Commission.

(4) With the use of dogs.

(5) By means of falconry.

Fur-bearing animals may be taken at any time during open trapping season with traps authorized under G.S. 113-291.6 and as otherwise authorized pursuant to this subsection, and rabbits may be box-trapped in accordance with rules of the Wildlife Resources Commission. The Wildlife Resources Commission may adopt rules prescribing the manner of taking wild birds and wild animals not classified as game. Use of pistols in taking wildlife is governed by subsection (g). The Wildlife Resources Commission may prescribe the manner of taking wild animals and wild birds on game lands and public hunting grounds.

(b) No wild animals or wild birds may be taken:

(1) From or with the use of any vehicle; vessel, other than one manually propelled; airplane; or other conveyance except that the use of vehicles and vessels is authorized:

a. As hunting stands, subject to the following limitations. No wild animal or wild bird may be taken from any vessel under sail, under power, or with the engine running or while still in motion from such propulsion. No wild animal or wild bird may be taken from any vehicle if it is in motion, the engine is running, or the passenger area of the vehicle is occupied. The prohibition of occupying the passenger area of a vehicle does not apply to a disabled individual whose mobility is restricted.

b. For transportation incidental to the taking.

(2) With the use or aid of any artificial light, net, trap, snare, electronic or recorded animal or bird call, or fire, except as may be otherwise provided by statute[;] provided, however, that crows and coyotes may be taken with the aid of electronic calling devices. No wild birds may be taken with the use or aid of salt, grain, fruit, or other bait. No black bear or wild boar may be taken with the use or aid of any salt, salt lick, grain, fruit, honey, sugar-based material, animal parts or products, or other bait, and no wild turkey may be taken from an area in which bait has been placed until the expiration of 10 days after the bait has been consumed or otherwise removed. The taking of wild animals and wild birds with poisons, drugs, explosives, and electricity is governed by G.S. 113-261, G.S. 113-262, and Article 22A of this Subchapter.

NC General Statutes - Chapter 113 Article 22 2

Upon finding that the placement of processed food products in areas frequented by black bears is detrimental to the health of individual black bears or is attracting and holding black bears in an area to the extent that the natural pattern of movement and distribution of black bears is disrupted and bears' vulnerability to mortality factors, including hunting, is increased to a level that causes concern for the population, the Wildlife Resources Commission may adopt rules to regulate, restrict, or prohibit the placement of those products and prescribe time limits during which hunting is prohibited in areas where those products have been placed.

Any person who is convicted of unlawfully taking bear or wild boar with the use or aid of any type of bait as provided by this subsection or by rules adopted pursuant to this subsection is punishable as provided by G.S. 113-294(c1).

(c) It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person taking wildlife to have in his possession any:

(1) Firearm equipped with a silencer or any device designed to silence, muffle, or minimize the report of the firearm. The firearm is considered equipped with the silencer or device whether it is attached to the firearm or separate but reasonably accessible for attachment during the taking of the wildlife.

(2) Weapon of mass death and destruction as defined in G.S. 14-288.8.

The Wildlife Resources Commission may prohibit individuals training dogs or taking particular species from carrying axes, saws, tree-climbing equipment, and other implements that may facilitate the unlawful taking of wildlife, except tree-climbing equipment may be carried and used by persons lawfully taking raccoons and opossums during open season.

(d) In accordance with governing rules of the Wildlife Resources Commission imposing further restrictions that may be necessary, hunters may conduct field trials with dogs in areas and at times authorized with the use of approved weapons and ammunition. The Wildlife Resources Commission may authorize organized retriever field trials, utilizing domestically raised waterfowl and game birds, to be held under its permit.

(d1) Except in areas closed to protect sensitive wildlife populations, and subject to conditions and restrictions contained in rules of the Wildlife Resources Commission, hunters may train dogs during the closed season:

(1) With the use of weapons and ammunition approved by the Wildlife Resources Commission;

(2) If reasonable control is exercised to prevent the dogs from running unsupervised at large and from killing wild animals and wild birds;

(3) On land owned or leased by the dog trainer or upon which the person has written permission to train dogs; and

(4) Using domestically raised waterfowl and game birds, provided the birds are marked and sources are documented as required by the Wildlife Resources Commission.

(e) Raccoons and opossum may be taken at night with dogs during seasons set by rules of the Wildlife Resources Commission with the use of artificial lights of a type designed or commonly used to aid in taking raccoon and opossum. No conveyance may be used in taking any raccoon or opossum at night, but incidental transportation of hunters and dogs to and from the site of hunting is permitted. The Wildlife Resources Commission may by rule prescribe restrictions respecting the taking of frogs, or other creatures not classified as wildlife which may be found in areas frequented by game, with the use of an artificial light, and may regulate the shining of lights at night in areas frequented by deer as provided in subsection (e1).

(e1) After hearing sufficient evidence and finding as a fact that an area frequented by deer is subject to substantial unlawful night deer hunting or that residents in the area have been

NC General Statutes - Chapter 113 Article 22 3

greatly inconvenienced by persons shining lights on deer, the Wildlife Resources Commission may by rule prohibit the intentional sweeping of that area with lights, or the intentional shining of lights on deer, during the period either:

(1) From 11:00 p.m. until one-half hour before sunrise; or

(2) From one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise.

Before adopting this rule, the Wildlife Resources Commission must propose it at a public hearing in the area to be closed and seek the reactions of the local inhabitants. The rule must exempt necessary shining of lights by landholders, motorists engaged in normal travel on the highway, and campers and others legitimately in the area, who are not attempting to attract wildlife. This subsection does not limit the right of hunters to take raccoon and opossum with dogs lawfully at night with a light under the terms of subsection (e).

(e2) If the Wildlife Resources Commission has enacted a rule under the authority of subsection (e1) prohibiting the shining of lights from 11:00 p.m. until one-half hour before sunrise in any county or area of a county, the Wildlife Resources Commission is authorized, without holding an additional public hearing, to extend the applicability of that rule to the period one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise upon receipt of a resolution from the board of commissioners of the county requesting extension of the period.

(f) To keep North Carolina provisions respecting migratory game birds in substantial conformity with applicable federal law and rules, the Wildlife Resources Commission may by rule, or as provided in subsection (f1) of this section, expand or modify provisions of this Article if necessary to achieve such conformity, including allowing the use of electronic calls. In particular, the Commission may prohibit the use of rifles, unplugged shotguns, live decoys, and sinkboxes in the taking of migratory game birds; vary shooting hours; adopt specific distances, not less than 300 yards, hunters must maintain from areas that have been baited, and fix the number of days afterwards during which it is still unlawful to take migratory game birds in the area; and adopt similar provisions with regard to the use of live decoys. In the absence of rules of the Wildlife Resources Commission to the contrary, the rules of the United States Department of the Interior prohibiting the use of rifles, unplugged shotguns, toxic shot and sinkboxes in taking migratory game birds in North Carolina shall apply, and any violation of such federal rules is unlawful.

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