North Carolina Trapping Laws & Regulations

Trapping Seasons: Statewide and Specific County Regulations

Statewide Trapping Season: Oct. 1 - Feb. 29

Across the state, the general trapping season is set from October 1st to February 29th. This period applies universally, allowing for the trapping of various wildlife species as regulated by local laws.

Special Provisions for Coyotes and Beaver

  • Coyotes: In areas and times where fox trapping is legally permitted, coyotes can also be trapped. This extension provides more flexibility in managing coyote populations.
  • Beaver: For landowners experiencing damage due to beavers, there's an exemption. They can legally trap beavers on their property at any time without a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission. Additionally, landowners can delegate this task to others, provided they have the landowner’s permission.

Specific County Regulations: Fox Trapping

  • Duration: January 6th to January 27th.
  • Counties Involved: Clay, Graham, Henderson, Macon, and Tyrrell.
  • Bag Limits: Daily limit of two foxes and a season limit of ten.
  • Regulations:

Nutria Trapping East of I-77

  • Season: Open year-round with no bag limits, exclusively east of I-77. This policy aims to control the nutria population effectively.

Depredation Permit: Outside Regular Seasons

Outside the defined trapping seasons, trapping is only permissible under a Depredation Permit. This permit is issued free of charge by a Wildlife Enforcement Officer, District Biologist, or Wildlife Control Agent. It's granted in situations where wildlife is causing property damage. Permit holders must adhere to all trapping regulations and state laws.

Trapping Regulations and Requirements in North Carolina

Legal Species for Trapping

In North Carolina, the following species are legally permissible for trapping during the regulated season:

  • Armadillo
  • Beaver
  • Bobcat
  • Coyote
  • Groundhog
  • Mink
  • Muskrat
  • Nutria
  • Opossum
  • Otter
  • Raccoon
  • Skunk
  • Weasel

Fox Trapping: Gray and red foxes may only be trapped in accordance with state or local laws. For detailed information on fox trapping seasons, refer to Coyotes can be trapped both during the statewide regular season and any established fox-trapping season, adhering to the methods outlined in the statute.

Statewide Trapping Restrictions

  1. Tagging Requirements:

    • A carcass or pelt of a fox, bobcat, or otter must be tagged with an appropriate tag from the Wildlife Resources Commission before sale or transfer.
    • Obtain tags by calling 888-248-6834 or mail the fee to NCWRC. Bobcat and otter tags are free; fox tags cost $2.25 each.
    • The maximum number of tags per request is 50 for bobcat and 150 for otter.
  2. Beaver Lodge: It's illegal to open or damage a beaver lodge without a Wildlife Resources Commission permit.

  3. Sale and Transfer of Live Animals:

    • Prohibited, except for foxes or coyotes by licensed trappers to licensed fox preserves.
    • Live-trapped foxes and coyotes must be treated humanely and not held for more than 30 days after capture.
    • Transport of live foxes and coyotes requires a valid transportation permit.
  4. Wild Animals on Private Land: Trapping on another’s land requires written permission from the landowner or agent, dated within the previous year.

  5. Interference with Traps: Tampering with or stealing from traps set by others is illegal.

Statewide Trap Regulations

  1. Trap Identification:

    • All traps must have a weather-resistant tag with the trapper's name, address, or Trapper Identification Number (TIN).
    • TIN can be found on the trapping license.
  2. Trap Usage:

    • Illegal to set traps that suspend animals or birds when caught.
    • Using hooks to take wild animals or birds is prohibited.

Legal Trap Types

  1. Box/Cage Traps and Colony Traps

  2. Conibear™-type Traps:

    • Must be smooth-edged, without teeth or spikes.
    • Jaw spread regulations vary based on location and whether the trap is submerged.
    • Submerged traps require checking every 72 hours; half-submerged beaver traps must be checked daily.
  3. Foothold Traps:

    • Smooth-edged, without teeth or spikes.
    • Specific regulations for jaw spread and chain length.
  4. Snares:

    • Permissible only for beaver, unless local laws allow otherwise.

Attendance and Monitoring

  • Regular Checking: All traps must be inspected daily, except for fully submerged Conibear™-type traps, which require checking every 72 hours.
  • Remote Trap Checking Systems:
    • Allowed if they meet specific real-time monitoring and notification criteria.
    • Mandatory physical inspection within 24 hours of trap closure or system failure.

Unlawful Harassment of Persons Taking Wildlife Resources in North Carolina

Overview of the Law

In North Carolina, the law protects individuals lawfully engaged in the taking of wildlife resources from intentional interference. It's illegal for anyone to intentionally disrupt or disturb wildlife resources, with the intent of affecting lawful hunting, trapping, or fishing activities. This applies to both public and private properties.

Exceptions to the Law

  • Land Ownership: The law does not apply to activities on one's own or leased land.
  • Incidental Interference: If interference with wildlife resources occurs incidentally during other lawful activities like agriculture, mining, or recreation, the law does not apply.

Legal Consequences

  • First Offense: Misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both.
  • Subsequent Offenses: Fines for repeat violations are at the court's discretion (N.C.G.S. §113-295).

Appropriate Response to Unlawful Harassment

  • Contact Authorities: If you are subject to unlawful harassment while taking wildlife resources, immediately contact the nearest wildlife enforcement officer, the county sheriff's office, or local police. Inform them about the specific incident and express your desire to engage in lawful activities peacefully.
  • Provide Law Details: Advise the authorities of the existence of this specific law against harassment of persons legally taking wildlife resources.

What Not to Do

  • Avoid Confrontation: Do not engage in fights, make threats, or use profanity.
  • Remain Calm: Be aware that some individuals opposed to hunting may seek confrontation, possibly in the presence of media. Maintain composure and avoid escalating the situation.
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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.