AS ANOTHER SUMMER COMMENCES and the heat begins to build, so begins our outdoor planning. With these adventures comes a laundry list of things to tackle in order to maximize that summertime sun. Many of our lists include items ranging from bug sprays to new hiking boots, but they sometimes fail to include the finer points of securing permits/licenses and the acknowledgment of our state and local laws. We understand! Taking care of the administrative stuff is easy to forget. But don’t let a fine or court appearance get in the way of enjoying your time on the water or otherwise with your family and friends. I've comprised a list of popular recreational activities along with some North Carolina's applicable laws and regulations to heed while retreating outdoors this summer. Of course, there's no way to include everything under the recreational regulatory sun in this one blog, but this will shed some light on some of the precursory steps to take if you are not knowledgeable or just need a quick refresher about these activities.
Before you cast your line in North Carolina, you first need to obtain a fishing license if you are 16 years old and over. Where you decide to fish will determine the type of license you need to obtain, as there are different licenses for fishing the inlands and fishing coastal regions. Some licenses also require additional privileges which are sometimes free but still need to be secured. There are many places to obtain a license but one of the easiest ways is to go to the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission page and purchase the permit online. Always remember that there are size requirements for certain fish, catch/bag limits and that some fish might not be in season for harvest. If you’ve never fished before or have let your licenses expire, July 4th is free fishing day! This means that fishers do not need a license to fish anglers in North Carolina on that day (the limits above on size and bag still apply, though!).
Whether you are floating local on Lake Norman or venturing to another of our beautiful North Carolina waters, make sure you are in compliance with the safety laws that North Carolina and the local municipality have in place. Notably, if you are born on or after Jan 1, 1988, you typically must take and pass a boater’s safety course when operating a boat powered by 10 horsepower or more on public waterways. The NC Wildlife Commission offers these in-person courses for FREE all over the state. You can also take the courses online though another party other than the NC Wildlife Commission for a small fee. Always be sure to have a life vest for each person on your vessel and that you understand how to correctly navigate the waters by understanding the meaning of different regulatory markers and navigational buoys. If you really live that #LakeLife or #SaltLife, pass this information along. High-traffic times, such as July 4th, are only fun as long as everyone makes it through in one piece . . . and without a court date.
Our North Carolina coast boasts some of the most picturesque beaches. Depending on the city you're in, each has different applicable laws and regulations. These regulations typically pertain to alcohol consumption, bonfires, driving, pets and beach safety. Some beaches allow the consumption of alcohol on the beach and some do not. Even more, most beach authorities prohibit glass bottles of any sort. This just means you get to raid the can shelf at your local craft beer retailer. Additionally, each beach will typically have a leash requirement and leash length requirement for your dogs and may not even allow your dogs during certain time in the season. Hop on your phone's browser and conduct a quick search on beach regulations before you venture out to the surf.
If throwing on your camo and heading out into the woods this summer, or even looking to get into it come fall, be sure to check the boxes and procure the requisite license(s) before you venture out for your first hunt. This typically means taking a hunter’s safety course, which is a necessity if you want to obtain a hunting license in North Carolina. The North Carolina Wildlife Commission also offers these courses for FREE year-round. Like fishing, you need to obtain a license for the animal you are hunting and must obtain additional privilege licenses, such as a Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification, to hunt migratory birds.
Although people under the age of 16 are the only people required to wear a helmet when biking on public roadways or paths, it's no stretch to say that it's still probably in your best interest to wear one. North Carolina requires you to have a lamp on the front of your bike and to also have either a lamp or a reflective mirror on the rear of your bicycle. Hop over to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to find the full list of state laws for cyclists.
If you have any additional questions about permits or safety regulations in place for any of the activities listed above, check the regulating bodies mentioned above. They are all filled with helpful knowledge, checklists and nuggets on how to secure the perfect summer. Our wildlife officers here in North Carolina are, like us, passionate about the diversity of activity this great state has to offer. Just be sure to do your due diligence before casting a line or drawing that bow. Most of the permits listed above are easy to obtain and can save you from a lot of headache and wasted time. When preparing for these adventures be sure to check out the local outdoors store because they can always offer useful advice to make a trip truly unforgettable. All of us here at Carolina Craft Legal hope you have a safe, wonderful summer. And as always, we appreciate you stopping by the blog.
Until next week. Cheers!