North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Seasons & Limits for Migratory Game Birds

Ducks, Mergansers & Coots

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

General Duck Season

October 3 – October 6, 2018,

November 10 – December 1, 2018,

December 15, 2018 – January 26, 2019

- Season closed on black ducks and mottled ducks until November 17

Includes a total of 6 ducks with no more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders, 4 long-tailed ducks, 4 mallards with no more than 2 hen mallards, 3 wood ducks, 2 scaup, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 2 black ducks, 2 pintails, 1 mottled duck and 1 fulvous whistling duck.  The season on harlequin ducks is closed.  The season on black ducks and mottled ducks is closed until November 17.
 
 Mergansers  Same as general duck season 5 mergansers with no more than 2 hooded mergansers
 Coots  Same as general duck season 15 coots
 September Teal (includes green-winged, blue-winged and cinnamon teal) September 12 – September 29, 2018 (East of U.S. 17) 6
 Special Sea Duck Season (in the special sea duck area)
See additional information below.
November 19, 2018 – January 26, 2019 5 sea ducks with no more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders and 4 long-tailed ducks 

 

Because sea ducks are limited to 60 days of hunting exposure in any area, the following applies to when and where sea ducks may be taken:

General Duck Season Open 
Special Sea Duck Season Closed
(Oct. 3 – Oct. 6 & Nov. 10 – Nov. 17, 2018)
General Duck Season Closed  
Special Sea Duck Season Open
(Dec. 3 – Dec. 14, 2018)
General Duck Season Open 
Special Sea Duck Season Open
(Nov. 19 – Dec. 1, 2018 & Dec. 15, 2018 – Jan. 26, 2019)
 
 Sea ducks cannot be taken in the special sea duck area, but can be taken everywhere else. The general bag limit of six ducks with no more than four scoters, four long-tailed duck and four eiders applies.
Although sea ducks may not be taken in the special sea duck area during this time, other ducks may be taken in this area.
 Sea ducks can be taken only in the special sea duck area, but cannot be taken in other locations. The special sea duck bag limit applies and consists of five sea ducks with no more than four scoters, four long-tailed ducks and four eiders.  Sea ducks can be taken anywhere. Hunters should remember that the special sea duck limit applies when hunting in the special sea duck area and the general bag limit applies when hunting in all other areas.  When both seasons overlap, the special sea duck bag limit may be in addition to the limits applying to other ducks.

 

  • Possession limits are three times the daily bag unless otherwise specified
  • Shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until sunset unless otherwise specified

Youth Waterfowl Day(s)

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

Youth Waterfowl Day(s) February 2 & February 9, 2019 Includes ducks, geese, brant, mergansers, coots and tundra swans. Youth must have a valid permit if hunting tundra swans and dark geese (Northeast Hunt Zone)
 

Youth under the age of 18 may participate in accordance with the guidelines listed below:

  • Youth under the age of 16 who have obtained Hunter Education Certification must be accompanied by an adult age 18 or older
  • Youth under the age of 16 who have not successfully completed Hunter Education Certification must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult age 18 or older
  • Youth aged 16 & 17 must be properly licensed, must have HIP certification and a federal duck stamp and must be accompanied by an adult age 18 or older
  • Accompanying adults that are properly licensed cannot duck hunt but may participate in other seasons that are open on youth waterfowl days
  • Possession limits are three times the daily bag unless otherwise specified
  • Shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until sunset unless otherwise specified

Geese, Brant & Swans

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

Canada Goose
(September season)
 
September 1 – 29, 2018 (statewide)

Expanded hunting methods are allowed only during the September season AND only in the area west of U.S. Highway 17. The expanded methods include:
  • Extended shooting hours to ½ hour past sunset
  • Use of unplugged guns
  • Use of electronic calls
15
Canada Geese (Resident Population Zone) – includes  White-fronted geese October 3 – October 13, 2018,
November 10 – December 1, 2018,
December 15, 2018 – February 9, 2019
5 Canada geese or White-fronted geese either singly or in the aggregate
Canada Geese (Northeast Zone) – includes White-fronted geese January 11 – January 26, 2019  1 Canada goose or 1 White-fronted goose with a valid permit (unlimited point of sale permits available)
Brant December 15, 2018 – January 26, 2019 1
Light Geese (includes snow, blue and Ross’ geese) – regular season October 9, 2018 – February 9, 2019 25 (no possession limit)
Light Geese (includes snow, blue and Ross’ geese) – Conservation Order season February 11 – March 30, 2019
(by permit only)

Expanded hunting methods are allowed and include:
  • Extended shooting hours to ½ hour past sunset
  • Use of unplugged guns
  • Use of electronic calls
  •  no daily bag limit
  •  no possession limit
Tundra Swan November 10, 2018 – January 31, 2019 1 per season with valid permit

 

  • Possession limits are three times the daily bag unless otherwise specified
  • Shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until sunset unless otherwise specified

Doves and Other Webless Migratory Game Birds

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

Mourning Dove & White-winged dove
 
September 1 – October 6, 2018, 
November 17, 2018 – December 1, 2018, December 10, 2018 - January 31, 2019
15
Includes mourning doves or white-winged doves either singly or in the aggregate
King & Clapper Rails September 1 – October 13, 2018
October 22 – November 28, 2018
15
Includes king or clapper rails either singly or in the aggregate
Sora & Virginia Rails September 1 – October 13, 2018,
October 22 – November 28, 2018
25
Includes sora or Virginia rails either singly or in the aggregate
 
Gallinule & Moorhens September 1 – October 13, 2018,
October 22 – November 28, 2018
15
Includes gallinules or moorhens either singly or in the aggregate
 
Woodcock  December 8, 2018 – January 29, 2019 3
Common Snipe  October 27, 2018 – February 28, 2019 8

 

  • Possession limits are three times the daily bag unless otherwise specified
  • Shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until sunset unless otherwise specified

Extended Falconry Seasons for Migratory Game Birds

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

Mourning Dove & White-winged dove October 13 – October 27, 2018 3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate
King, Clapper, Sora and Virginia Rails December 1, 2018 – January 5, 2019 3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate
Gallinule & Moorhens December 1, 2018 – January 5, 2019 3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate
Woodcock November 3 – December 1, 2018, 
February 1 – February 28, 2019
3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate 
Ducks, mergansers & coots  October 23 – November 3, 2018, 
January 28 – February 16, 2019
3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate 

 

  • Possession limits are three times the daily bag unless otherwise specified
  • Falconry hours for all species are from ½ hour before sunrise until sunset.