Ducks, Mergansers & Coots

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

General Duck Season

Inland Duck Zone:

October 21 – October 23, 2021

November 6 – November 27, 2021

December 18, 2021 – January 31, 2022  

(black ducks and mottled ducks is closed until November 20)

Coastal Duck Zone:

October 29 – October 30, 2021

November 6 – November 29, 2021

December 18, 2021 – January 31, 2022 

(black ducks and mottled ducks is closed until November 20)

Daily bag limits are the same in each duck zone.

Includes a total of 6 ducks with no more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders, 4 long-tailed ducks, 3 wood ducks, 2 mallards (only 1 hen mallard), 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 2 black ducks, 1 pintail, 1 mottled duck and 1 fulvous whistling duck.
  • Prior to January 8 the scaup bag limit is 1, on January 8 and after it is 2.
  • The season on harlequin ducks is closed.
 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 11 – September 29, 2021 6
(The September Teal Season is open only in the area east of U.S. Highway 17)
 Special Sea Duck Season (in the special sea duck area)
 
November 23, 2021 – January 31, 2022 5 sea ducks with no more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders and 4 long-tailed ducks 

 

The taking of sea ducks (scoter, eider and long-tailed ducks), except during the regular duck season shall be limited to 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. Special sea duck bag limits and seasons apply in these areas.

Because sea ducks are limited to 60 days of hunting exposure in any area, there will be certain dates and locations where sea ducks may or may not be taken. Please see the following:

General Duck Season Open; Special Sea Duck Season Closed
Oct. 29 - Oct 30 & Nov. 6 - Nov. 22, 2021 - 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 ducks 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.

General Duck Season Closed; Special Sea Duck Season Open
Nov. 30 - Dec. 17, 2021 - Sea ducks can be taken only in the special sea duck area, and 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.

General Duck Season Open; Special Sea Duck Season Open
Nov. 23 - Nov. 29, 2021 & Dec 18, 2021 - Jan 31, 2022 - 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

Geese, Brant & Swans

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

Canada Goose
(September season)
 
September 1 – 30, 2021 (statewide)
 

 

15  
In the area west of US Highway 17 only, expanded hunting methods are allowed for Canada geese. 
These include:
  • Extended shooting hours to ½ hour past sunset
  • Use of unplugged guns
  • Use of electronic calls

This applies to this area only during the month of September

Canada Geese (Resident Population Zone) – includes  White-fronted geese October 21 – October 30, 2021,
November 6 – November 29, 2021,
December 18, 2021 – February 12, 2022
5 Canada geese or White-fronted geese either singly or in the aggregate
Canada Geese (Northeast Hunt Zone) – includes White-fronted geese January 15 – January 31, 2022  1 Canada goose or 1 White-fronted goose with a valid permit (unlimited point of sale permits available)
Brant December 18, 2021 – January 31, 2022  1
Light Geese (includes snow and Ross’s geese) – regular season October 12, 2021 – February 12, 2022 25 (no possession limit)
 
Light Geese (includes snow and Ross’s geese) – Conservation Order season February 14 – March 31, 2022 (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
  • to learn more or apply for a permit after July 1. go to ncwildlife.org/LightGoose 
Tundra Swan November 6, 2021 – January 31, 2022 1 per season with special permit
  • Limited number of permits will be issued to hunt tundra swans.  Permits will be issued by a random drawing authorizing each permit holder to harvest one tundra swan.  Refer to ncwildlife.org/PermitHunt or call 888-248-6834 for application information and requirements.

 

  • 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 5 & February 12, 2022 (Statewide) Same bag limit as during the regular waterfowl season(s).  Waterfowl hunting outside the regular season is allowed on the day(s) officially designated as "Youth Waterfowl Day."  Legal species include ducks, geese, brant, tundra swans, mergansers, and coots.  Youth must have a valid permit if hunting tundra swans and Canada geese (Northeast Hunt Zone only).  Refer to the Game Lands Section for guidelines on hunting game lands, including permit-only areas.
 

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

Veteran's/Military Waterfowl Day(s)

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag 

Veterans/Military Waterfowl Day(s) February 5 & February 12, 2022 (Statewide)     Same bag limit as during the regular waterfowl season(s).  Waterfowl hunting outside the regular season is allowed on the day(s) officially designated as "Veterans/ Military Waterfowl Day."  Legal species include ducks, geese, brant, tundra swans, mergansers, and coots.  

Veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including National Guard and Reserves on the active duty (other than for training) may participate in accordance with the guidelines below. 

Must be properly licensed with valid credentials, must have HIP certification and a federal duck stamp.
Must have a valid permit to hunt tundra swans and Canada geese (Northeast Hunt Zone Only).  Refer to the Game Lands Section for guidelines on hunting game lands, including permit-only areas.

Doves and Other Webless Migratory Game Birds

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag

Mourning Dove & White-winged dove
 
September 4 – October 2, 2021, 
November 6 – November 27, 2021,
December 9, 2021 - January 31, 2022
15
Either singly or in the aggregate for Mourning Doves and White-winged Doves
King & Clapper Rails September 4 – September 14, 2021
October 2 - December 11, 2021

 
15
Includes King or Clapper rails either singly or in the aggregate
Sora & Virginia Rails September 4 – September 14, 2021
October 2 - December 11, 2021

 
25
Includes Sora or Virginia rails either singly or in the aggregate

 
Gallinule & Moorhens September 4 – September 14, 2021
October 2 - December 11, 2021

 
15
Includes Gallinules or Moorhens either singly or in the aggregate

 
Woodcock  December 10, 2021 – January 31, 2022 3  Daily Limit
Common Snipe  October 27, 2021 – February 28, 2022 8  Daily Limit
  • 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 4 – October 16, 2021 3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate
Rails, Gallinule and Moorhens December 13, 2021 – January 15, 2022 3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate
Woodcock December 1, – December 11, 2021 
February 1 – February 26, 2022
3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate 
Ducks, mergansers & coots  October 4 – October 16, 2021, 
February 1 - 12, 2022
3 migratory game birds singly or in the aggregate 
  • Falconers may also hunt during the applicable gun seasons for migratory game birds.  The daily bag and possession limits of 3 and 9 respectively, also apply while hunting during the gun seasons.
  • Falconry hours for all species are from ½ hour before sunrise until sunset.
  • Falconry for migratory game birds is not allowed on Sundays.
  • Daily bag and possession limits are for all species singly or in the aggregate.  For example if the applicable season 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.