113-291.4.  Regulation of foxes; study of fox and fur-bearer populations.

(a)        All of the regulatory powers granted the Wildlife Resources Commission generally with respect to game, wild animals, and wildlife apply to foxes unless there are specific overriding restrictions in this section.

(b)        Except for any closed season under subsection (h), foxes may be taken with dogs both night and day on a year-round basis.

(c)        Foxes may not be taken with firearms except:

(1)        As provided in subsection (f) or (i) of this section or G.S. 113-291.4A(a).

(2)        As an incidental method of humanely killing them following any lawful method of taking that does not result in death.

(3)        When they are lawfully shot under laws and rules pertaining to the destruction of animals committing depredations to property.

(d)       Foxes may not be taken with the aid of any electronic calling device.

(e)        The Wildlife Resources Commission is directed to improve its capabilities for studying fox and fur-bearer populations generally and, on the basis of its present knowledge and future studies, to implement management methods and impose controls designed to produce optimum fox and fur-bearer populations in the various areas of the State.

(f)        If, on the basis of its studies and other information available, the Wildlife Resources Commission determines the population of foxes in an area is fully adequate to support a harvesting of that population, the Wildlife Resources Commission may, upon passage of local legislation permitting same, open a season for taking foxes by trapping. When the season is open for trapping, foxes may also be taken by the use of methods lawful for taking game animals, including the use of firearms. Any bag, possession, or season limits imposed on foxes taken from the area in question will apply in the aggregate to all foxes killed without regard to the method of taking.

(f1)      In those counties in which open seasons for taking foxes with weapons and by trapping were established between June 18, 1982, and July 1, 1987, in accordance with the procedure then set forth in subsection (f) of this section, the Wildlife Resources Commission is authorized to continue such seasons from year to year so long as the fox populations of such counties remain adequate to support the resulting harvest. The counties referred to in this subsection are as follows: Caswell, Clay, Graham, Henderson, Hyde, Macon, and Tyrrell.

(g)        The Wildlife Resources Commission may provide for the sale of foxes lawfully taken in areas of open season as provided in subsection (f), under a system providing strict controls. The Wildlife Resources Commission must implement a system of tagging foxes and fox furs with a special fox tag, and the Commission may charge two dollars and twenty-five cents ($2.25) for each tag furnished to hunters, trappers, and fur dealers. The fox tag or tags must be procured before taking foxes by any method designed to kill foxes or when the intent is to harvest foxes. The number of tags furnished to any individual may be limited as to area and as to number in accordance with area, bag, possession, or season limits that may be imposed on foxes. No person may continue to hunt or trap foxes under this fox harvesting provision unless he still has at least one valid unused fox tag lawful for use in the area in question. A person hunting foxes with dogs not intending to kill them need not have any fox tag, but any fox accidentally killed by that hunter must be disposed of without sale as provided below, and no foxes not tagged may be sold. The Wildlife Resources Commission may by rule provide reporting and controlled-disposition requirements, not including sale, of foxes killed accidentally by dog hunters, motor vehicles, and in other situations; it may also impose strict controls on the disposition of foxes taken by owners of property under the laws and rules relating to depredations, and authorize sale under controlled conditions of foxes taken under depredation permits.

(h)        In any area of the State in which the Wildlife Resources Commission determines that hunting of foxes with dogs has an appreciably harmful effect upon turkey restoration projects, it may declare a closed season for an appropriate length of time upon the taking with dogs of all species of wild animals and birds. Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 113-291.1(d) or (d1), this subsection does not prohibit lawful field trials or the training of dogs.

(i)         Upon notification by the State Health Director of the presence of a contagious animal disease in a local fox population, the Commission is authorized to establish such population control measures as are appropriate until notified by public health authorities that the problem is deemed to have passed.  (1979, c. 830, s. 1; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1203, ss. 1-3; 1985, c. 476, s. 2; 1987, c. 726, s. 1; c. 827, s. 98; 1989, c. 504, s. 2; c. 616, s. 4; c. 727, s. 113; 1991, c. 483, s. 1(a), (b); 1993, c. 208, s. 4; 2008-102, s. 3.)