Bear Hunting In North Carolina

Hunting Methods  Baiting - Hunting With Dogs

Bear hunting in North Carolina was a tradition for the Native tribes and was done respectfully and honorably for survival. But by the early 1900s, the bear population in the State suffered greatly from unregulated hunting and deforestation at the hands of early colonists.

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 -