How Can the NC Wildlife Resources Commission improve compliance with wildlife regulations and, in turn, public safety?

Project started: August 24, 2022
Department or Agency: NC Wildlife Resources Commission

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Data AnalyticsPublic SafetyRegulatory ComplianceWildlife

Project Overview


The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) is the regulatory agency responsible for conservation and regulation of the State’s wildlife resources as defined in G.S. 113-129(17). The NCWRC’s Law Enforcement Division is responsible for enforcement of wildlife regulations and employs approximately 150 field officers statewide to enforce wildlife regulations and promote compliance in the State’s 100 counties.

Non-compliance with laws and rules can be costly in terms of public safety and agency resources. As such, the NCWRC is exploring partnership opportunities for an evaluation of current wildlife laws and rules and agency practices to improve compliance with hunting, fishing, and/or boating regulations across the state and increase public safety. The intended outcome of the project will be to employ practices that efficiently and effectively improve compliance, increase public safety, and reduce the number of incidents of those who participate in NCWRC regulated activities.

This project will be conducted in two phases. Phase one will involve data review and analysis of violations, citations issued, and outcomes, to identify trends in noncompliance. Potential areas of exploration include identifying trends in the types of citations issued, most common violations by district, citations most successfully prosecuted, and/or the areas or times of days when certain violations occur. Additional data on education and outreach efforts may be used to identify potential correlations between these activities and compliance. Interviews may also be conducted with NCWRC Law Enforcement Officers and other agency staff to help explain trends. Recommendations will then be developed for practices that have positive impacts on compliance and safety, regulations that have higher success rates, and allocation of resources to positively impact compliance rates.

Phase two will involve experimental trial(s), or pilot testing, based on the recommendations of phase one. This would involve testing alternate methods for outreach and enforcement to assess their impact on compliance rates and public safety. The project team will test the efficacy and effectiveness of those methods and develop recommendations for implementation.


  • Review data to identify NCWRC Law Enforcement Officer practices and agency programs that have a positive impact on compliance and safety. 
  • Develop recommendations for allocating officers, resources, and agency efforts. 
  • Create, test, and evaluate alternative methods for improving compliance with wildlife regulations and increasing public safety. 

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) hosted a research partnership meeting on Thursday, September 22 to discuss this project. Click here for the meeting recording and NCWRC slide deck.

Anticipated deliverables

  • NCWRC and research partners will develop specific deliverables. Anticipated deliverables include detailed research reports on the outcomes of phase I and II, presentation(s) to NCWRC staff, and project progress reports.

Planned use of results

The NCWRC plans to use the results for evidence-based decision making on the creation and modification of regulations, agency practices, and allocation of resources to increase compliance and public safety. The results will also inform outreach and communication efforts on regulation changes. These results will also be applicable to other regulatory agencies.


OSP, agency partners, and research partners work together to determine if a project has costs, what funding may be available, and possibilities for pursuing funding, if needed.

The NCWRC will support the project by providing data, contact information, and connections with NCWRC Law Enforcement Officers and other agency staff. NCWRC will also assist in the development and implementation of alternate methods to improve compliance. Further support will be available during interview development and data collection.


Five years of data on wildlife law enforcement activities:

  • Checks, arrests (citations), warnings, and court outcomes  
  • Categorized by WRC management districts, individual officers, and activity type (hunting, fishing, boating, night/day, etc.) (For example, 2,300 hunting arrests and 19,000 anglers checked in District 6 from 2017-2022.)  
  • Staff activities and allocation of time 
  • Resources used (outreach materials, signage, etc.) 
  • Call center data 

Five years of data on Wildlife Education Division classes and programs:

  • Location and date information 
  • Course content 
  • Staff activities 

Five years of data on specific outreach campaigns:

  • Press release information 
  • Data analytics 

All wildlife laws and rules.

The project is in progress.

We plan to post results and deliverables when the project is complete. In the meantime, we welcome questions about the project.

Project point of contact

NC Office of Strategic Partnerships

Project Team

NC State University

NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Wake Forest University

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