North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

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Wildlife Commission Sets 2016-2017 Migratory Game Bird Seasons

- New Changes Coming to Sea Duck, Brant Seasons and Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days -

  • 26 April 2016
  • Number of views: 46896

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 26, 2016) — The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission announces season dates, bag limits and applicable regulations for the 2016-17 waterfowl, webless migratory game bird (including doves) and extended falconry seasons. The new dates and information can be found at http://www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/SeasonsLimits.aspx.

2016 marks the first year of a new regulatory schedule implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Previously, the schedule was divided into an early and late season process. The new regulatory process considers all migratory game bird seasons at once. This schedule will allow the selected seasons to be published in the annual Regulations Digest, which will help hunters in planning.

Hunters should be aware of several significant changes to waterfowl hunting seasons and guidelines for the 2016 season: specifically those relating to sea duck hunting, brant season and youth waterfowl hunting participation. 

Special Sea Duck Season

The special sea duck hunting season occurring in the special sea duck hunting area has been reduced from 107 days to 60 days. The season will run from Nov. 21 through Jan. 28. Sea ducks may be hunted in the special sea duck area during this time period. The special sea duck area is defined as the “waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and to those coastal waters south of U.S. 64 that are separated by a distance of at least 800 yards of open water from any shore, island or marsh.”

Additionally, the sea duck bag limit during the special season and within the special sea duck area has been reduced to five. This five-duck limit can consist of no more than four scoters, four long-tailed ducks and four eiders. The reduction in season length and bag limit is in response to suspected long-term declines in sea duck populations and a general lack of understanding regarding some aspects of sea duck biology.
The general duck season will overlap with sea duck season, but there will be a period during the general duck season when sea ducks cannot be hunted in the special sea duck areas:

General Duck Season Open
Special Sea Duck Season Closed
(Oct. 5 – Oct. 8 & Nov. 12 – Nov. 19)

General Duck Season Closed 
Special Sea Duck Season Open
(Dec. 5 – Dec. 16)

General Duck Season Open
Special Sea Duck Season Open
(Nov. 21 – Dec. 3 & Dec. 17 – Jan. 28)

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.


Brant Season

The 2016-17 brant hunting season has been set for Dec. 17 through Jan. 28 and includes a one-bird daily bag limit. This 37-day season is less than the federal allowance of a 60-day season and a two-bird daily bag based on increasing concerns regarding the status of brant in North Carolina. Brant have experienced four successive years of poor nesting on their breeding grounds in northern Canada and the population wintering in the state has declined over time.

For more information on migratory game birds in North Carolina, click here.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting

After a change to federal rules, youth aged 16 and 17 are now allowed to participate during two special youth waterfowl hunting days. Previously, participation was limited to youth under the age of 16. Special Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days for the 2016-17 season have been set for Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, 2017.

New guidelines for participation in Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days include:

Youth under the age of 16 who hold a valid hunter education certification

Youth under the age of 16 with no valid hunter education certification

Youth age 16 or 17

Youth must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older

Youth must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult 18 years of age or older

Youth must be properly licensed

Youth must be HIP certified and have a federal duck stamp

Youth must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older


Note:
Accompanying adults that are properly licensed cannot duck hunt but may participate in other seasons that are open on Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.

Media Contact:

Ryan Kennemur
919-707-0186
ryan.kennemur@ncwildlife.org

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