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Bear Hunting In North Carolina


Action Alert!

On February 25, 2022, Despite the overwhelming public opposition that included 2,744 comments, 86% percent in opposition, and our petition with over 7,600 signatures, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) voted unanimously to open up the Pisgah, Panthertown-Bonas Defeat, and Standing Indian Bear Sanctuaries to bear hunting and hunting with dogs. In addition, they approved a regulation that changed the term "designated bear sanctuary" to "designated bear management area."


North Carolina Bear Sanctuaries were established more than fifty years ago and were created to protect bears. The bear sanctuaries have become revered destinations for residents and tourists alike. The beauty, serene environment and the prospect of seeing bears have drawn people from all over the world. These once peaceful escapes will soon be taken over by bear hunters and hunting dogs, which endangers bears, other wildlife, the people who live in these areas, and those who visit. 


The NCWRC initiated the proposal (G13-Bears) to hunt in bear sanctuaries under the guise that bears were overpopulating. They stated that the U.S. Forest Service requested the proposal to address increased "bear-human interactions." The NCWRC failed to mention that the request was submitted in 2018, and the USFS only requested the Panthertown Bear Sanctuary to be opened to hunting. Additionally, the problem with bear-human interactions has since been subsequently resolved by introducing food lockers. Over the past two years, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has not received any complaints regarding bear-human interactions, and there are plans to install more food lockers as a proactive measure in preventing future bear-human interactions.


The truth is bears are not overpopulating or causing any bear-human conflicts. The NCWRC pushed this false narrative to appease trophy hunting organizations such as Safari Club International, which provides substantial funds to wildlife agencies. Wildlife agencies cater to minority special interest groups while ignoring the majority of their stakeholders. It is important to note that science and data have proven that hunting does not reduce bear-human conflicts. 


All hope is not lost. The fight is not over!

Once the NCWRC adopts a rule, it must be approved by the Rules Review Commission (RRC). 


We spoke with a representative from the RRC who has informed us of the proper procedures to follow when objecting to a rule. The NCWRC's newly adopted rules regarding bear sanctuaries (15A NCAC 10D .0106 BEAR SANCTUARIES) will be considered at the RRC's April meeting. The RRC must receive ten or more letters requesting a delayed effective date and legislative review of the rules. You do not have to be a North Carolina resident to write an objection. We are formulating an easy step-by-step call to action to submit your objection in compliance with the statutory grounds put forth by the RRC. An action alert will be posted soon. If you have any questions or inquiries, please email us at


In the meantime, please sign our petition and keep the pressure on the NCWRC Commissioners by letting them know how you feel about their decision to kill bears and endanger the public.



Stop Trophy Hunters From Killing NC Bears In Designated Bear Sanctuaries


Contact the NCWRC Commissioners.

Monty R. Crump, Chairman

801 Williamsburg Drive

Rockingham, NC 28379



Thomas L. Fonville, Vice-Chairman

3308 Bellewood Forest Circle

Raleigh, NC 27612


No email.


Kelly Davis

Post Office Box 51

Swan Quarter, NC 27885



Michael (Mike) K. Alford

1408 Western Blvd.

Jacksonville, NC 28546



Wes Seegars

401 Patetown Road

Goldsboro, NC 27530



Stephen L. Windham

Post Office Box 1489

Wilmington, NC 28402



Thomas (Tom) M. Haislip, Jr.

2307 Rockwood Drive

Sanford, NC 27330



James (Jim) Ruffin

2871 Galsworthy Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27106



David Hoyle, Jr.

Post Office Box 708

Dallas, NC 28034


Brad Stanback

Post Office Box 1259

Canton, NC 28716



Hayden Rogers

158 Waldroup Road

Brasstown, NC 28902



J. Carlton (J.C.) Cole

Post Office Box 400

Hertford, NC 27944



Thomas A. Berry

2200 East Bessemer Ave.

Greensboro, NC 27402



John M. Alexander, Jr.

Post Office Box 26837

Raleigh, NC 27611



Mark Craig

1620 Fairfax Road

Greensboro, NC 27407



Landon G. Zimmer

Post Office Box 2628

Wilmington, NC 28401



Vernon (Ray) Clifton, Jr.

720 Campbell Road

Clarkton, NC 28433



John T. Coley IV

Post Office Box 38

Holly Springs, NC 27540


John A. Stone

Post Office Box 82

Pinehurst, NC 28370


General Bear hunting Information

When Did Bear Hunting Start In North Carolina?

In 1927 the first regulated hunting season for bears was established. 

Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear management units)?

The State has three Bear Management Units, two of which have individual Hunting Zones:

  • Mountain Bear Management Unit

  • Piedmont Bear Management Unit; 3 Zones in the Unit

  • Coastal Bear Management Unit; 5 Zones in the Unit

When Is Bear Hunting Season?

Mountain Bear Management Unit

  • Oct. 12 - Nov. 21 and Dec. 14 - Jan. 1


Piedmont Bear Management Unit:

  • Zone 1: Nov. 14- Jan. 1

  • Zone 2: Oct. 17 - Jan. 1

  • Zone 3: Nov. 21 - Jan. 1


Coastal Bear Management Unit:

  • Zone 1:  Nov 14 - 29, 2020 and Dec. 12 - 27

  • Zone 2:  Nov. 14 - 22 and Dec. 12 - 27

  • Zone 3:  Nov. 14 - 22 and Dec. 12 - 27

  • Zone 4:  Nov. 21 - Dec. 20

  • Zone 5:  Nov. 9 - Jan. 1

Note: Camden, Chowan, and  Pasquotank Counties of Zone 2 opens Nov 9
*Each BMU and its zones (if any) have different dates and regulations for baiting and hunting with dogs. To see what counties and specific parts of counties fall under which rules, you can click here-

What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Longbows and Recurved bows with a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds; Com¬pound bows with a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds; Crossbows with a minimum draw weight of 100 pounds; Arrows with a fixed minimum broadhead width of 7/8 inch or a mechanically opening broad¬head with a minimum width of 7/8 inch.

Firearms: Shotguns no larger than 10 gauge; All Pistols (No Regulations); All Rifles except for fully-automatic.

Muzzleloaders: Muzzleloading rifles, handguns, and shotguns. 

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

No. Killing cubs or mothers with cubs is illegal.

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

Yes. Baiting is legal, but it must be only unprocessed food.  

Is Dog Hunting Permitted In North Carolina?

Yes. The use of dogs is permitted.

What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

Immediately after harvesting a bear and before it is moved, hunters must appropriately validate their Big Game Harvest Report Card. They then have 24 hours to report the kill and must do so before the carcass is skinned, dressed, or dismembered (unless the kill occurs in a remote area that prevents bear from being transported as an entire carcass).

There are three ways a hunter can report the kill:

By Phone: 800-446-8663 (A touch-tone telephone is required)

Online: At

In-Person: Locations for the NCWRC can be found here -
Hunters will be given an authorization number and must record it on their Big Game Harvest Report Card. 

What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

  1. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC)

  2. North Carolina Wildlife Federation

When Does North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Hold Their Meetings?

The NCWRC has six scheduled meetings a year. Dates can be found here -

Are The Meetings Open To The Public?

Yes. Public meeting dates, times and locations will be posted here -

Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and North Carolina’s elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes.

John T. Coley IV, Chairman of the North Carolina 

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission -

Islanders Hunt Club -

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