Hunting, fishing license fee increases proposed

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

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If you didn’t like the increase in the prices of hunting and fishing licenses that went into effect last summer, get ready to be a little more unhappy.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has proposed license-fee increases pretty much across the board, and it is asking the public for comments.

A virtual hearing will be held on Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. Preregistration is required at

Here’s a handful of highlights to proposed license fee increases:

• statewide hunting goes from $25 to $30;

• statewide fishing goes from $25 to $30;

• big-game tags go from $14 to $17;

• a recreational saltwater license goes from $16 to $19;

• a freshwater-saltwater combo fishing license goes from $41 to $49;

• an annual Sportsman license goes from $53 to $63;

• an annual Sportsman plus saltwater fishing goes from $69 to $82;

• a combination hunting and freshwater fishing goes from $35 to $42;

• bear tags go from $11 to $14;

• a non-resident annual hunting license goes from $100 to $119.

In addition, most of the popular lifetime licenses – fishing, hunting, sportsman – are also scheduled to rise by some pretty stout amounts.

And remember, those are just the basic license costs; there’s a surcharge added at the cash register that pays the wildlife cooperator agent a little bit for his time, and there’s a surcharge added even when you buy the license directly from the commission.

Typically, when the commission begins the rule-making process, changes, if approved, will take place on Aug. 1.

Waterfowl seasons

Waterfowl seasons mostly closed on Jan. 31.

Statewide duck and sea duck season ended on the last day of the month, along with Canada goose seasons in the northeast hunt zone, brant and the permit-only tundra swan season.

Youth and veterans and members of the armed forces will have  Feb. 3 and 10 to get a field for ducks, geese, brant and tundra swan.

Seasons for Canada geese in the resident population zone and light geese will remain open through Feb. 10.

The seasons for dove and woodcock will also close on Jan. 31. Most small-game seasons will remain open through February.

Marine fisheries

flounder symposium

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is holding a Southern Flounder Symposium on March 20 in the Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern to discuss various topics related to the management of southern flounder in North Carolina waters – a topic that has drawn serious fire from recreational fishermen over the past several years.

The symposium, open to stakeholders and researchers, will kick off at 9 a.m.