What’s New For 2020-2021

Hunting Regulations Icon North Carolina Hunting & Fishing

As part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to keep you informed, we reserve this page of the digest each year to identify significant regulatory, legislative and agency-related changes that you should be aware of each season. Please note that the information found on this page is not a complete list of regulation changes. For your convenience, all regulation changes appear throughout the digest in RED.

Following is a list of significant changes for the 2020-2021 season:


  • A statewide regulation of no minimum size limit and no daily creel limit was established for Alabama Bass and Spotted Bass. See Warmwater Game Fish Regulations.
  • Black Bullhead, Brown Bullhead, Flat Bullhead, Snail Bullhead, White Catfish, and Yellow Bullhead were designated as Inland Game Fish when found in Inland Fishing Waters. See Inland Fishing Regulations. A statewide daily creel limit of 10 fish in combination was established. There is no minimum size limit or closed season. See Warmwater Game Fish Regulations.


  • Big Game Harvest Reporting:
    • Hunters must notch or cut out the month and date of harvest on their Big Game Harvest Report Card before moving from site of kill/harvest.
    • Hunters must report big game prior to leaving it unattended or transferring it to another individual.
    • All harvested big game must be reported prior to the animal being skinned or dismembered.
    • All harvested big game shall be reported by 12:00 pm the day following harvest.
    • Any big game animal left unattended or transferred to another must have an authorization number.
    • Big game harvested in remote areas must be registered by 12:00 p.m., the day after leaving the remote area. Please see Big Game Harvest Reporting for more information about big game harvest reporting.
  • The daily bag limit (from 12:00 noon to 12:00 noon) for bullfrogs is 24, and there is no closed season nor license requirement, except on Wildlife Resources Commission Property. See Nongame Regulations for more information.
  • The blackpowder season is now full season either-sex in the special deer season areas of Buncombe and Henderson County:
    • Buncombe: that part east of N.C. 191, south of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, west of U.S. 25 and north of N.C. 280.
    • Henderson: that part east of N.C. 191 and north and west of N.C. 280.

Game Lands

  • On Veteran and Military Waterfowl Days, veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), with valid credentials can hunt on game lands and impoundments not designated as permit-only areas. See General Game Land Regulations.
  • Horseback riding opportunities have been expanded at South Mountains Game Land. See Regulations for Specific Game Lands.
  • Target shooting has been prohibited at Sandy Mush Game Land. See Regulations for Specific Game Lands.
  • The pursuing or chasing of deer and bear with dogs for the purposes of training or hunting on the Pee Dee River Game Land south of US 74 is prohibited. See Regulations for Specific Game Lands.
  • Bullfrogs may be taken from April 1 – August 31 with a valid license (Game Land, hunting, fishing, etc.) that allows access to and the use of Wildlife Resources Commission Property. See General Game Land Regulations.


  • Licensed trappers will be issued a Trapper Identification Number (TIN) at the time they purchase or renew their trapping license. The TIN is printed on the license. Either the TIN and Commission telephone number (800-662-7137) or the trapper’s name and address can be used on the required weather-resistant permanent tag attached to the trap. If a trapper places a trap on the property of another, the Commission is required to disclose the identity of the trapper to the landowner where the trap is located at the landowner’s request. See Trapping Regulations.
  • Lifetime Trapping Licenses are now available for purchase by North Carolina residents. The cost is $300 and all proceeds from the sale of this license go to the Wildlife Endowment Fund.