Requirements - Land qualifies as wildlife conservation land if it meets the following size, ownership, and use requirements:
Size: The land must consist of at least 20 contiguous acres
Ownership: The land must be owned by an individual, a family business entity, or family trust and must have been owned by the same owner for the previous five years. If the land is owned by a family trust, the land meets the ownership requirement if the land was owned by one or more beneficiaries of the family trust for the required time.
Use: The land must be managed under a written wildlife habitat conservation agreement with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission that is in effect as of January 1 of the year of which the benefit is claimed.
The Wildlife Habitat Conservation agreement requires the owner do one or more of the following:
Protect an animal species that lives on the land; conserve priority animal wildlife habitats which are longleaf pine forest, early successional habitat, small wetland communities, stream and riparian zone, rock outcrop or bat cave.
The land has been classified under Statute 105-277.3 when the Wildlife Habitat Conservation agreement was signed or the owner must demonstrate to both the Wildlife Resources Commission and the assessor that the owner used the land for a purpose specified in the Wildlife Habitat Conservation agreement for three years preceding January 1st of the year for which the benefit is claimed
Agreements are only issued through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Cherokee County does not issue agreements. Obtaining a Wildlife Habitat Conservation Agreement does not defer personal property ad valorem taxes.