Hunting in North Carolina

New to Hunting?

 

Before the Hunt

Hunting information on a variety of hunting topics including equipment, methods, processing and more.

What to Hunt/Seasons & Limits

 

Where to Hunt & Shoot

Public Lands

 

Private Lands

Tips for Hunting of Private Land 

Landowner Protection Act

The new Landowner Protection Act provides two ways for landholders to post their lands to allow only hunters, trappers and anglers with written permission to legally enter their property:

  • As permitted in the past, the landholder can place notices, signs, or posters on the property boundaries at a distance of 200 yards apart or closer.
  • A new way for landholders to post their property is with purple paint. The landholder can paint a vertical line of purple paint on trees or posts around property boundary, or areas intended to prohibit trespass. The paint line needs to be at least 8" long and the bottom of the line should be between 3' and 5' from the base of the tree or post. The paint marks need to be placed 100 yards apart or closer.

Sportsmen need written permission, dated within the past 12 months, signed by the land owner or lessee, to hunt, fish, or trap on lands posted with signs or purple paint. You must carry written permission on your person. If a hunting club has leased the land, hunters must have a copy of their hunting club membership and a copy of the landowner permission given to that club. Wildlife officers will enforce the Landowner Protection Act.

The Landowner Protection Act does not change general trespass laws nor have any effect on lands which are not posted. It does not repeal any local acts currently in effect that require written permission to hunt, fish or trap.

North Carolina law encourages owners of land to make property available for recreational use. The law states that a landowner who allows someone, without charge, onto their land for recreational purposes owes them the same duty of care they would owe a trespasser.

Laws & Safety

Hunting Regulations

Game Lands

  • Game Lands Regulations
    This page contains information about game land restrictions, Youth Waterfowl Day, Disabled Access and Disabled Sportsman Programs. Also, either-sex seasons and other rules applying to individual game lands.

     
  • View Interactive Game Lands Maps
    Here you can view an interactive map of game lands. The view can be filtered by specific species, county and available access options such as camping grounds.  Also available are downloadable PDF maps of the game lands.

Local Laws

Big Game Harvest Reporting

Landowner Protection Act

Landowner Protection Act

 

The new Landowner Protection Act provides two ways for landholders to post their lands to allow only hunters, trappers and anglers with written permission to legally enter their property:

  • As permitted in the past, the landholder can place notices, signs, or posters on the property boundaries at a distance of 200 yards apart or closer.
  • A new way for landholders to post their property is with purple paint. The landholder can paint a vertical line of purple paint on trees or posts around property boundary, or areas intended to prohibit trespass. The paint line needs to be at least 8" long and the bottom of the line should be between 3' and 5' from the base of the tree or post. The paint marks need to be placed 100 yards apart or closer.

Sportsmen need written permission, dated within the past 12 months, signed by the land owner or lessee, to hunt, fish, or trap on lands posted with signs or purple paint. You must carry written permission on your person. If a hunting club has leased the land, hunters must have a copy of their hunting club membership and a copy of the landowner permission given to that club. Wildlife officers will enforce the Landowner Protection Act.

The Landowner Protection Act does not change general trespass laws nor have any effect on lands which are not posted. It does not repeal any local acts currently in effect that require written permission to hunt, fish or trap.

North Carolina law encourages owners of land to make property available for recreational use. The law states that a landowner who allows someone, without charge, onto their land for recreational purposes owes them the same duty of care they would owe a trespasser.


Unlawful Harassment

In North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to interfere intentionally with the lawful taking of wildlife resources or to drive, harass, or intentionally disturb any wildlife resources for the purpose of disrupting the lawful taking of wildlife resources on public or private property. NOTE: This law does not apply to activity by a person on land he owns or leases or to a person who incidentally interferes with the taking of wildlife resources while using the land for other lawful activity such as agriculture, mining, or recreation.

Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable for a first conviction by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, by imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or by both and punishable for a second or subsequent conviction by a fine left to the discretion of the court. (North Carolina General Statute 295)

WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you experience unlawful harassment, immediately notify your nearest wildlife enforcement officer, county sheriff's office or local police department. Advise the authorities of this law and that you wish to hunt peacefully.

WHAT NOT TO DO
Do not provoke a fight, threaten reprisals or use profanity. Remember these anti-hunting activists are seeking confrontation and may be accompanied by the news media.

Night Hunting Frequently Asked Questions

 

After the Hunt

It has been said that after the hunt the work begins. However, field dressing, game processing and preparing wild game for the table need not be difficult. With a little information and insight, after the hunt preparations can be accomplished easily.

   

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Additional Hunting Resources

Seen a Sick Deer?

If you have seen or harvested a sick deer, please contact your local District Biologist or the Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401.

Signs to look for:

  • Isolation from other animals
  • Listlessness or showing little or no interest in their surroundings
  • Lack of coordination
  • Frequent lowering of the head
  • Blank facial expressions
  • Walking in set patterns    
  • Drooling and grinding of teeth
  • Drinking lots of water and increased urination
  • Low weight

For more information, see our Deer Diseases page.

Black Bear

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

photo by: Mike Carraway

Please click image for additional information

 

2022-23 Bear Season Dates

Western Bear Season

(Mountain Bear Mgmt Unit)

Oct. 17 - Nov. 19, 2022 

  • In and west of Surry, Wilkes, Caldwell, Burke and Cleveland counties

Dec. 12, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023 

  • In and west of Surry, Wilkes, Caldwell, Burke and Cleveland counties

 

Piedmont Bear Season

​(Piedmont Bear Mgmt. Unit)

Nov. 12, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023

  • Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Durham, Granville, Guilford, Lee, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Stanly, and Union counties

Oct. 12, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023 

  • Franklin, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Moore, Richmond, Scotland, Vance, Wake and Warren counties 

Nov. 19, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023

  • Alexander, Catawba, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Stokes and Yadkin counties

 

Eastern Bear Season

​(Coastal Bear Mgmt. Unit)

Zone 1:  Nov 12 - 27, 2022 and Dec. 10 - 25, 2022

  • Dare, Hyde and Tyrrell counties

Zone 2:  Nov. 11 - 20, 2022 and Dec. 10 - 25, 2022

  • Camden*, Chowan*, Currituck, Gates, Pasquotank*, and Perquimans counties

               *Per local law, bear season opens Nov. 12, 2022 for these 3 counties

Zone 3:  Nov. 12 - 20, 2022 and  Dec. 10 - 25, 2022

  • Beaufort, Bertie, Craven, Hertford, Jones, Martin and Washington counties

Zone 4:  Nov. 19 - Dec. 18, 2022

  • Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Lenoir, Nash, Northampton, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson counties

Zone 5:  Nov. 14, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023 

  • Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico*, Pender, Robeson and Sampson counties

 *The use of dogs for hunting bears is prohibited in Pamlico county.

White-tailed Deer

White-tail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

Photo by: Ken Taylor

Click image to see additional information

 

2022-23 Deer Season

Deer Zone Maps

Limits

Western Deer Season
  • Archery:  Sept. 10 - Sept. 30, 2022
     Oct. 16 - Nov. 20, 2022
     Dec. 11, 2022- Jan. 2, 2023 (antlered deer only)
  • Blackpowder:  Oct. 3 -  Oct. 15, 2022
  • Gun:  Nov. 21 - Dec. 10, 2022
  • Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons
    • ​No Season:  Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties
    • ​Introductory Season:  Nov. 26, 2022 - Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties
    • Conservative Season:  Nov. 22 - 27, 2022 - Avery, Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties

Northwestern Deer Season

  • Archery:  Sept. 10 -  Nov. 4, 2022
  • Blackpowder:  Nov. 5 - 18, 2022
  • Gun:  Nov. 20, 2021 - Jan. 1, 2022
  • Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons
    • ​Moderate Season:  Nov. 19 - Dec. 2, 2022 - Cleveland, Polk and Rutherford counties

Central Deer Season

  • Archery:  Sept. 10 -  Oct. 28, 2022
  • Blackpowder:  Oct. 29 - Nov. 11, 2022
  • Gun:  Nov. 12, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023
  • Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons
    • ​Maximum Season:  Entire Gun Season - All other counties and in Buncombe County east of NC 191 south of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, west of US 25 and north of NC 280 and in Henderson County east of NC 191 and north and west of NC 280

Northeastern Deer Season

  • Archery:  Sept. 10 -  Sept. 30, 2022
  • Blackpowder:  Oct. 1 - Oct. 14, 2022
  • Gun:  Oct. 15, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023
  • Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons
    • ​Maximum Season:  Entire Gun Season - All other counties and in Buncombe County east of NC 191 south of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, west of US 25 and north of NC 280 and in Henderson County east of NC 191 and north and west of NC 280

Southeastern Deer Season

  • Archery:  Sept. 10 -  Sept. 30, 2022
  • Blackpowder:  Oct. 1 - Oct. 14, 2022
  • Gun:  Oct. 15, 2022 - Jan. 2, 2023
  • Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons
    • ​Maximum Season:  Entire Gun Season - All other counties and in Buncombe County east of NC 191 south of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, west of US 25 and north of NC 280 and in Henderson County east of NC 191 and north and west of NC 280

Youth Deer Hunting Day

On this day, youth under the age of 18 may use any legal weapon to hunt deer of either-sex. Refer to the Regulations Digest for a description of legal weapons. Youth ages 16 and 17 must be properly licensed to hunt deer.

  • Any Legal Weapon:  Sept. 24, 2022

 

Deer Urban Archery Season

Open in participating cities only (refer to the Regulations Digest for a list and contact information)

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Click image to see additional information

 

2022-23 Turkey Season Dates

2022-23 Wild Turkey Spring Season  (male or bearded turkey only)

  • April 9 - May 7, 2022 - Statewide
  • April 8 - May 6, 2023 - Statewide

 

2022-23 Wild Turkey YOUTH ONLY Season  (male or bearded turkey only)

  • April 2 - 8, 2022 - Statewide
  • April 1-7, 2023  - Statewide