North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Seasons & Limits for Migratory Game Birds

Ducks, Mergansers & Coots

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

General Duck Season October 4 – October 7, 2017, November 11 – December 2, 2017, December 16, 2017 – January 27, 2018

- Season closed on black ducks and mottled ducks until November 18
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, 1 pintail, 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 18.
 
 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 13 – September 30, 2017 (East of U.S. 17) 6
 Special Sea Duck Season (in the special sea duck area)
See additional information below.
November 20, 2017 – January 27, 2018 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. 4 – Oct. 7 & Nov. 11 – Nov. 19, 2017)
General Duck Season Closed  
Special Sea Duck Season Open
(Dec. 4 – Dec. 15, 2017)
General Duck Season Open 
Special Sea Duck Season Open
(Nov. 20 – Dec. 2, 2017 & Dec. 16, 2017 – Jan. 27, 2018)
 
 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 3 & February 10, 2018 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 that have obtained North Carolina Hunter Certification must be accompanied by an adult age 18 or older
  • Youth under the age of 16 that have not successfully completed North Carolina Hunter 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 – 30, 2017 (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
Dark Geese (Resident Population Zone) – includes Canada Geese and White-fronted geese October 4 – October 14,
November 11 – December 2, 2017,
December 16, 2017 – February 10, 2018
 5
Dark Geese (SJBP Zone) – includes Canada Geese and White-fronted geese October 4 – November 3,
November 11 – December 30, 2017
 5
Dark Geese (Northeast Zone) – includes Canada Geese and White-fronted geese January 12 – January 27, 2018  1 with a valid permit (unlimited point of sale permits available)
Brant December 16, 2017 – January 27, 2018  1
Light Geese (includes snow, blue and Ross’ geese) – regular season October 10, 2017 – February 10, 2018  25 (no possession limit)
Light Geese (includes snow, blue and Ross’ geese) – Conservation Order season February 12 – March 31, 2018
(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 11, 2017 – January 31, 2018  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 2 – October 7, 2017, 
November 22, 2017 – January 15, 2018
15
Includes mourning doves or white-winged doves either singly or in the aggregate
King & Clapper Rails  September 2 – October 21,
November 3 – November 22, 2017
15
Includes king or clapper rails either singly or in the aggregate
Sora & Virginia Rails  September 2 – October 21,
November 3 – November 22, 2017
25
Includes sora or Virginia rails either singly or in the aggregate
 
Gallinule & Moorhens  September 2 – October 21,
November 3 – November 22, 2017
15
Includes gallinules or moorhens either singly or in the aggregate
 
Woodcock  December 14, 2017 – January 27, 2018 3
Common Snipe  November 14, 2017 – February 28, 2018 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 14 – October 28, 2017 3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate
King, Clapper, Sora and Virginia Rails December 2, 2017 – January 6, 2018 3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate
Gallinule & Moorhens December 2, 2017 – January 6, 2018 3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate
Woodcock November 4 – December 2, 2017, 
February 1 – February 28, 2018
3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate 
Ducks, mergansers & coots  October 24 – November 4, 2017, 
January 29 – February 17, 2018
 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.