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Nongame Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon North Carolina Hunting & Fishing

General Information

Any animal not classified as a game fish, game animal, fur­bearer or game bird is considered to be nongame. There are, however, regulations that apply to the taking and collection of these wildlife resources. For animals not specified elsewhere in this Digest, the following guidelines apply:

  • Nongame Fish, Crustaceans and Mollusks – See Nongame Fish Regulations for infor­mation on collecting nongame fish, crustaceans and mol­lusks for personal use, sale and bait. A Scientific Fish Collection License is needed to take or collect any aquatic animal for scientific purposes. In addition, a special permit is required when the animal is a fresh­water mussel or any endangered, threatened or special concern species.
  • Mammals – A Wildlife Collection License is needed to take or collect any nongame mammal. If the animal is endangered, threatened or of special concern, an Endangered Species permit is required.
  • Birds – Most birds in North Carolina are defined as migratory and thus are protected by federal laws. Call the U.S. Fish and Wild­life Service for more information at 919-856-4786. The excep­tions are the English sparrow, pigeon, starling, mute swan, and Eurasian collared dove.
  • Reptiles – A Wildlife Collection License is needed to take or collect 5 or more turtles, lizards or snakes on an annual basis. For reptiles that are endangered, threatened or of special concern, an Endangered Species permit is required. Collection of 5 or more turtles within the family Emydidae (basking and box turtles) or Trionychidae (soft shell turtles) is prohibited without a Wildlife Collection License. Limits for turtles within the remaining families (includes snapping turtles) are 10 per day, and 100 per year. No snapping turtle less than 11 inches (curved top shell length) may be collected.
  • Amphibians – A Wildlife Collection License is needed to take or collect 25 or more frogs (includes toads) or salamanders (includes mudpuppies and “spring lizards”) in larval (tadpole) or adult form. For amphibians that are endangered, threatened or of special concern an Endangered Species permit is required.

Collection Licenses

  • Wildlife Collection License and Scientific Fish Collection License applications are available online at ncwildlife.org/SpeciesPermits. For more information about applying, call 888-248-6834.
  • The list of endangered, threatened and special concern species in North Carolina is online at ncwildlife.org/conserving
  • More information about nongame wildlife or holding animals in captivity is available online at ncwildlife.org/licensing or by calling 888-248-6834.
  • It is not necessary to obtain a Collection License before defend­ing yourself or another from a wildlife threat.

Measuring a Snapping Turtle

Curved Carapace Length

Measure the length of a snapping turtle along the curvature of the carapace (top shell) with a flexible tape measure that conforms to the snapping turtle’s shell from the nuchal scute (the scute directly behind the turtle’s head) to the base of the notch where the two scutes above the tail meet.