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McCain Tract Forest Management Area Hunters

NCDA&CS Research Stations Division McCain Tract Forest Management Area Hunting Program - Hoke County, NC

NCDA&CS Research Stations Division McCain Forest Management Area

Deer Hunting Program


The Research Stations Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) is pleased to offer deer hunting on the McCain Tract Forest Management Area in Hoke County. Randomly selected hunters will be given the opportunity to purchase hunting permits to deer hunt on the property during their assigned periods. Interested users are encouraged to thoroughly read the rules and regulations below prior to entering the lottery and potentially purchasing permits.

Statement of the Forest’s Purpose

The McCain Tract Forest Management Area is an experimental forest managed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Research Stations Division. This forest is managed primarily to maintain habitat for the federally-endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) through applied silviculture. The location of this property makes it a key component of the recovery effort for the Sandhills Subpopulation of the RCW. In addition to maintaining RCW foraging habitat that is shared by active clusters on Fort Bragg, we help form a portion of the habitat corridor that is being managed to connect Fort Bragg to the Sandhills Gamelands. Other uses of the forest include forest research, education, demonstration and the production of forest products. Prescribed burning, herbicide applications, timber harvests and other stand improvement work are frequent and necessary occurrences on the McCain Tract. These activities are dangerous but must take place to maintain quality habitat for RCWs and to meet our other forest management goals. Access is controlled in order to protect the integrity of any forest research taking place on the property and to preserve our ability to move quickly with management work such as prescribed burning and herbicides applications with regards to favorable weather conditions.

Program Administration and Management Authority


Recreational use of Division lands is managed as a component of the Division’s Forestry and Natural Resources Program. The Forest Manager, having met the qualifications to become a Registered Forester as determined in North Carolina G.S. 89B, is tasked with developing and implementing the overall Division forest management program. The Forest Manager is a representative of the NCDA&CS and speaks for the Department on matters concerning forest management on Division lands. The Forest Manager shall be the primary point of contact for information regarding the management of the McCain Tract. The Forest Manager is identified as:


Robert Ross, RF

Forest Manager

NCDA&CS Research Stations Division

(919) 707-3240 (office)

(919) 733-1754 (fax)

[email protected]


Annual Use Fee

The current cost of a bow hunting permit is $10.00. The current cost of a gun hunting permit is $12.00. This fee will cover the cost of use during the allotted hunting periods. This fee is non-negotiable and users must accept the risk that there will be days when hunting may be prohibited due to prescribed burning, timber harvesting, herbicide applications, or other forest management work. Refunds will not be provided because of forest closures. To mitigate issues associated with this likely occurrence, hunters will be provided with a list of surrounding properties which also allow hunting. Potential users are free to contact the forest manager to ask about a particular year’s planned forest management activities in order to help them decide whether or not to purchase a permit.

Number of Users and Allotment Methods

The opportunity to purchase a hunting permits and have the privilege to hunt on the McCain Tract will be offered to a total of 10 randomly selected users during bow season and 40 randomly selected users during gun season. This list of users will be drawn from a database containing interested riders managed by the Division. Users will be assigned an identification number. A random-number generator will then be used to select the 50 potential users’ identification numbers per year.

Periods of Use

The dates of the hunting periods depend on the annual hunting seasons posted by the Wildlife Resource Commission, but the following guide will provide you with an example of how periods are assigned.

Bow Season: (10 permits per period)

Period 1: September 12 - October 1.

Gun Season: (8 permits per period)

Period 1: October 17 - October 30.

Period 2: October 31 - November 13.

Period 3: November 14 - November 27.

Period 4: November 28 - December 11.

Period 5: December 12 - December 25.


The Research Stations will attempt to complete most management work outside of these period, but users must accept that there will be days within these period where use is restricted or possibly even prohibited due to forest management work.

User Acceptance of Terms


  • Forest Closures


The Forest Manager will maintain a list containing contact information for all users of the property. The Forest Manager will inform all users via e-mail when forest management work will be conducted on the property and the forest must be closed. Only portions of the forest impacted by management work will be closed if the existing trail system allows users to safely avoid project areas. If management areas cannot be safely avoided, entire forest closures for extended periods of time may be necessary. Closure specifics will be noted in the aforementioned forest closure e-mails. There is no minimum cutoff time after which the Forest Manager may not close the forest. Forest management work and the safety of our contractors and users will always take priority over recreational use.


Seasonal closures may be necessary in the event of widespread management work. An example of widespread management work would be the salvage of timber from large portions of the property following a large storm event.


  • Primitive Recreation Infrastructure


Users must accept that the McCain Tract is a working research and demonstration forest, and does not contain the amenities or staffing levels of a State Park. The recreational opportunities are best described as primitive. Trees that have fallen across trails, trails that are too bumpy for carriages or other recreation-based activities are not priority issues for the Division. Users must accept trails in “as-is” condition. Users are strongly encouraged to email or call the Forest Manager to identify these concerns, but the Division will only fix these issues as time and financial resources permit.


Trespassing hikers, ATV riders, horseback riders and carriage drivers, and others will likely continue to illegally access the property in spite of signage and your presence.Users are encouraged to contact local law enforcement personnel in these instances as the Forest Manager does not have law enforcement authority.


Users must agree to and sign an agreement containing the following terms:


  1. Hunting on the McCain Forest Management Area is a privilege, not a right. This use program may be eliminated if the integrity of the property, and the Division’s ability to maintain it, are jeopardized by recreational use.
  2. Management of red-cockaded woodpecker habitat, research, demonstration, and educational uses take priority over all recreational uses.
  3. The privilege to use this forest should not be interpreted as authority to guide the management of this forest resource. Management responsibilities are controlled entirely by the NCDA&CS Research Stations Forest Manager.
  4. Safety is a main concern. This is a working forest and users should dress appropriately for field conditions. Users may encounter wildlife, adverse weather, insects and other potentially dangerous conditions. Safety is each user’s responsibility.
  5. Users must provide a valid email address, street address and phone number to the Forest Manager prior to receiving hunting permits.
  6. Users will not access any part of the forest during a prescribed fire and must stay off the property for at least 48 hours after a burn has been completed.
  7. Users will not access the forest for a set time period following herbicide applications. The specific time period will be determined by the chemical labeling on the herbicide and will be communicated to the list of users via email before the herbicide application takes place.
  8. Users will keep out of timber sale areas until they are deemed safe to re-enter by the Forest Manager.
  9. Users accept that prescribed burning and herbicide applications are weather-dependent activities. Precise scheduling of these activities is impossible. Users accept that there will be days in which they will plan on hunting but cannot due to ongoing management work. Refunds will not be provided for hunting time lost due to management work.
  10. Hunters must have and carry a current North Carolina Hunting Liscense issued by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
  11. Hunters must carry a valid photo ID while hunting and be prepared for random checks to ensure that they have permits.
  12. NCDA&CS, its contractors, and researchers have the right of way on McCain. Under no circumstances shall hunters interfere with the aforementioned primary users.
  13. Uses that disturb or damage vegetation, soil surface conditions or native wildlife (other than deer, under WRC hunting guidelines) are not allowed.
  14. The collection of plants, animals other than deer or other resources from the property is strictly prohibited, unless specifically authorized by the Forest Manager.
  15. No drugs, alcohol, illegal activities or firearms are allowed on the property.
  16. No motor vehicles are allowed on the property without permission.
  17. The commercial use of the property by an outside vendor is strictly prohibited.
  18. No hunting on sundays
  19. No dogs
  20. No ATVs
  21. No vehicles off existing roads or easements
  22. No fires for any reason
  23. No camping of any kind on the property
  24. No bating – No corn, salt licks, or anything that attracts an animal to you or a certain place.
  25. Users agree to sign the attached indemnification clause.
  26. Access through the main entrance off of NC211 Only. No perimeter gates will be opened for access.
  27. Hunting in designated areas only. No hunting in safety zones. M
  28. Hunter must adhere to regulations as stated in the current year’s North Carolina Inland Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Regulation Digest.
Created by:   Robert Ross
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Available Slot

Deer Hunting at McCain - Bow Season

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Deer Hunting at McCain - Gun Season

Enter your name here if you want to be included in the lottery for gun season.

94 slots filled - more available
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