2015-16 Waterfowl Seasons, Bag Limits, Other Limits Set

  • 28 August 2015
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RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 28, 2015) The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has set season dates, bag limits and applicable regulations for the 2015-16 waterfowl and extended falconry seasons. In July, the Commission approved the season dates for dove and other webless migratory game birds, as well as September seasons for Canada geese and teal.

Below are the 2015-16 bag limits, shooting hours and season dates for waterfowl seasons occurring after Sept. 30. Possession limits are three times the daily bag unless otherwise noted.

The Commission has elected to participate in the Light Goose Conservation Order Season, which begins Feb. 15, 2016.  This season will allow unplugged guns, electronic calls, extended shooting hours and no daily bag limit.  A free permit is required.  More information will be available at www.ncwildlife.org/lightgoose on Sept. 1.  These expanded hunting methods are not allowed during the regular light goose season that starts on Oct. 13, and a daily bag limit of 25 applies during the regular light goose season.  A Light Goose Conservation Order Season Permit is not required to participate in the regular season.


a)      Conventional bag: 6 ducks with no more than 4 scoters, 4 mallards with no more than 2 hen mallards, 3 wood ducks, 2 scaup, 2 redheads, 2 pintails, 2 canvasbacks, 1 black or mottled duck (season closed until Nov. 21), or 1 fulvous whistling duck. The season on harlequin ducks is closed. 

b)      Coots and Mergansers: 15 coots and 5 mergansers (2 hooded mergansers)

c)      Light Geese: 25 light geese (includes snow, blue and Ross’ geese), no possession limit;

d)     Dark Geese (includes Canada geese and White-fronted geese): 5 in the Resident Hunt Zone, 5 in the Southern James Bay Hunt Zone, and 1 in the Northeast Hunt Zone. 

e)      Sea Ducks (includes scoters, eiders and long-tailed ducks): 7 sea ducks in special sea duck area only. In other areas, sea ducks are part of the regular duck bag limit; no more than 4 scoters a day may be taken in either the special sea duck season or the regular duck season;

f)       Atlantic Brant: 1 bird daily

g)      Tundra Swan: 1 per season (with valid permit only)

SHOOTING HOURS:         One-half hour before sunrise to sunset (unless otherwise noted).

Possession limits are three times the daily bag unless otherwise noted.


Ducks, Mergansers and Coots

Oct. 7 – 10, Nov. 14 – Dec. 5 and Dec. 19 – Jan. 30 

[Black and mottled ducks closed until Nov. 21 ]

Sea Ducks (In special sea duck area only)

Oct. 1 – Jan. 30

Dark Geese (Includes Canada geese and white-fronted geese)  To view a map of the goose hunt zones, refer to the Regulations Digest or www.ncwildlife.org

Resident Population Hunt Zone: Oct. 7 – Oct. 17,

Nov. 14 – Dec. 5 and Dec. 19 – Feb. 13

Southern James Bay Hunt Zone: Oct. 7 – Nov. 9 and

Nov. 14 – Dec. 31 

Northeast Hunt Zone:  Jan. 15 – Jan. 30 (By permit only)

Light Geese (Includes snow and blue geese, and Ross’ geese)

Regular Season: Oct. 13 – Feb. 13

Conservation Order Season: Feb. 15 – Mar. 31 (By permit only) Electronic calls and unplugged guns are allowed.  No bag or possession limits.  Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.


Dec. 28 – Jan. 30

Tundra Swan

Nov. 7 – Jan. 30

(1 per season by permit only - 5,000 will be issued.)

Youth Waterfowl Days (Includes ducks, geese, brant, mergansers, coots and tundra swans.)  The youth must have a valid permit to hunt tundra swans and Canada geese (NE Hunt Zone only).

Feb. 6 and Feb. 13

Youth must be 15 years of age or younger and accompanied by a properly licensed adult.  The adult cannot duck hunt but may participate in other seasons that are open on youth waterfowl days.


Extended falconry seasons and bag limits are as follows. Extended falconry seasons for the webless species were approved by the Commission at its business meeting in July.






Oct. 12 – Nov. 16



King, Clapper, Sora and Virginia Rails

Nov. 23 – Dec. 28



Gallinule and Moorhens

Nov. 23 – Dec. 28




Nov. 4 – Dec. 7 &

Feb. 1 – Feb. 28



Ducks, mergansers and coots 1

Oct. 21 – Nov. 2 &

Jan. 27 – Feb. 15



 1 The taking of harlequin ducks is prohibited.

  • Falconers may also hunt during the applicable gun seasons.  Daily bag and possession limits of 3 and 9, respectively, also apply while hunting during the gun season.
  • Falconry hours for all species are from ½ hour before sunrise until sunset.
  • Falconry is not allowed on Sunday.
  • Daily bag and possession limits are for all species singly or in the aggregate.  For example, if the applicable season(s) are open, a daily bag may consist of 3 doves or 1 dove, 1 duck and 1 woodcock for a total of 3 migratory game birds.
For more information on hunting in North Carolina, visit the Hunting Page.;
Media Contact:
Jodie B. Owen

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