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North Carolina hunting licenses are required for all prospective hunters who hope to hunt game in NC wildernesses. Prior to getting a hunting license, decide which license you would like to obtain and the time span for which you would like to hold it. Factors that go into the decision-making process include an applicant’s age and the type of game they plan to pursue. Licenses to hunt are regulated by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). The NCWRC carries a plethora of recreational license types that appeal to the avid outdoorsmen. In addition to issuing hunting licenses and permits to hunt game, the Commission also offers combination hunting and fishing licenses. Combination packages include both inland and coastal fishing options. A prospective hunter can find out where to buy hunting licenses in North Carolina once one decides the type of license he or she is after. Currently, three methods exist for purchasing hunting credentials: online, by phone and in person. Online applicants can enjoy the convenience of paying for and acquiring their hunting document all at one time. Buying a hunting license in person is a straightforward process as well because authorized vendors are located at retail locations throughout the Tar Heel State. The final step involved in obtaining an NC license to hunt is getting hunter education certification. Any person seeking a hunting license in North Carolina must first complete an approved course on hunter safety. For more information on this requirement and on how to get a hunting license, read the sections below:

  • Types of hunting licenses in North Carolina
  • How to buy hunting licenses in North Carolina
  • Hunter education in North Carolina
  • How to replace hunting licenses in North Carolina

What types of hunting licenses are available in North Carolina?

The NCWRC offers a variety of hunting licenses for both residents and non-residents of North Carolina. Licenses to hunt are classified using certain factors such as the applicant’s age, the type of animal he or she plans to hunt and the length of time for which he or she would like the license to be valid. Hunting license options in North Carolina include:

  • Comprehensive hunting licenses (big game, small game and waterfowl).
  • Combination hunting and inland fishing licenses.
  • Unified sportsman/coastal recreational fishing licenses.
  • Lifetime hunting licenses.

North Carolina visitors and residents can obtain licenses to hunt for either a short or long period of time. A 10-day hunting license as well as annual hunting and trapping licenses are available for purchase. Additionally, avid outdoorsmen and women have the option of purchasing a lifetime hunting and fishing license, which allows the licensee privileges for the duration of his or her life. Lifetime hunting and inland fishing licenses are available, as are lifetime hunting, inland and coastal fishing licenses. Sportsmen licenses, as combination licenses are referred to, are an investment for individuals that plan to enjoy the outdoors for years to come.

Residents of North Carolina are entitled to hunting licenses at lower rates than their nonresident counterparts. Additionally, certain segments of the population have access to hunting credentials at an even lower rate than the general public. For instance, seniors, disabled veterans and persons with disabilities are all eligible for hunting licenses at a fraction of the cost of regularly priced credentials. Discounted license types include sportsmen packages as well.

To get an NC hunting license, complete the hunting license application process through the NCWRC. You will also need to fulfill the hunter education requirements.

How do I purchase hunting licenses in North Carolina?

Buying hunting licenses in North Carolina requires that applicants know exactly which hunting license they need for their purposes. The NCWRC offers multiple options for purchasing hunting licenses. In each of them, an applicant will need to provide personal information to officials prior to receiving a license. Hunting license purchase options include online, by-phone and in-person transactions.

Hunting license applicants may be charged a small service fee at the time of purchase. Also, certain license types that require additional documentation (i.e. infant, youth, disabled) cannot be purchased online or over the phone.

Am I required to take any North Carolina hunting classes in order to purchase a hunting license?

Prior to purchasing an NC hunting license, every hunting permit applicant in the state must meet the hunter education requirements. A couple of options are available through the Commission to satisfy the education requirement, including an online and an in-person hunter education course.

Instructor-led courses provided by the NCWRC last a minimum of six hours. Classes are taught in each county throughout the year. Upon completion of the course, students will receive their hunter education card in the mail within 14 days.

Online courses are also available to take to receive a hunter education certificate. Though, they are subject to a fee payable to the third-party vendor. Students who complete the online course must then sign up for a two-hour local review session referred to as the Internet Field Day. At field day, hunter education applicants must pass their final examination to receive a certificate of completion.

In addition to the basic hunter education course that each NC hunting license applicant must take, the NCWRC offers advanced courses that are optional to take. Advanced courses include training in bowhunting and single-topic courses such as trapping, orienteering, muzzleloading and effective tree-stand use.

Along with hunting safety techniques, other topics discussed in the basic hunter education courses include:

  • Hunting ethics.
  • Firearm safety.
  • Hunter’s responsibility.
  • Wildlife management/identification.

North Carolina hunter education certificates of completion are accepted by every state wildlife department in the country. With your North Carolina certificate, you can buy hunting licenses in any other state as well.

How do I replace a lost North Carolina hunting license?

If you lose your North Carolina hunting license, print and complete a Replacement Hunting/Fishing License Application. The downloadable application form may be obtained online and mailed to the address designated on the form, along with the applicable fee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. All throughout the United States, hunters safety classes must be completed in order for applicants to obtain their desired hunting permits and stamps. Failure to take this specific course will result in the rejection of your hunting license request, thus requiring you to start over.
Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to buy hunting licenses in a variety of ways, including online (through your state department’s portal), by mail, by phone or in person. Choose the option that is most convenient for you. Make sure to also have any type of official documentation and payment for fees on hand.
No. Different states have different limits and regulations on hunting licensure. Certain animals may be considered “prohibited species,” whereas other animals may be legal to hunt, so long as you have the necessary hunting permit/stamp. Keep in mind that if you do hunt for any type of prohibited species, you will be subject to serious consequences.
Yes. States typically offer various short-term hunters license options, such as one-day and one-week passes, to those who do not meet residency requirements. In order to receive issuance of a short-term hunting license, make sure to get in touch with your state/hunting wildlife department to find out the available methods you have to apply.
In the event your hunting credentials are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, contact your state hunting/wildlife department to order a hunting license replacement. You may have to make an in-person visit to a local office to complete the process. At the time of your replacement request, you may be asked to present your state driving license or another type of identification.
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