Fishing and Hunting License Exemptions for N.C. Military Personnel



Spring is here, which means striper fishing on the Roanoke River is kicking into high gear, speckled trout and drum fishing is heating up along the coast, and the opening day of spring turkey season is right around the corner.

With all that’s going on outdoors, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is reminding military personnel that they can hunt and fish — in both fresh and coastal waters — without obtaining a license as long as they meet certain criteria.

To be exempted from fishing and hunting license requirements, military personnel must:

  • be a North Carolina resident,
  • be serving full-time active military duty outside of the state in the Armed Forces or a reserve component of the Armed Forces, and
  • be home on leave for 30 days or less.

In addition, when hunting or fishing, they must have with them a military identification card and a copy of the official document issued by their service unit confirming that they are on authorized leave from their duty station outside of North Carolina.

Military personnel also must comply with all reporting, regulatory and hunter safety requirements, including registering big game harvests, as mandated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and purchasing any federal migratory waterfowl stamps as required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Big Game Harvest Report Cards for license-exempt hunters can be obtained from wildlife service agents or by calling 1-888-248-6834.

Annual and short-term hunting, inland and coastal fishing licenses are included in the exemption.

For more information on fishing and hunting in North Carolina, or to find the nearest wildlife service agent, visit

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