Ruffed Grouse

Scientific Name: Bonasa umbelius 
Classification: Game Species

   

Additional Information

There are nine species of resident small game in North Carolina including, three species of rabbits (Eastern cottontail, Appalachian cottontail, and marsh rabbit), three squirrels (fox, red and gray squirrels) and three birds (quail, grouse and pheasants). Many differences exist between the species including their distributions, abundances, and future conservation challenges. Information about other types of small game species, including woodcock, doves, groundhogs, etc., can be found in other parts of this website.

Habitat changes over the past 40-50 years have presented the greatest challenge to management, and for the most part, have been detrimental to small game. Conservation challenges include urban growth, habitat fragmentation, exotic plants and insects, incompatible farming and forestry practices, and unchecked forest succession. Currently, undisturbed maturing forest conditions are beneficial for most squirrel species. However, habitats are deteriorating for bobwhite quail and grouse which are dependent upon early successional conditions. Remnant populations of pheasants, a non-native gamebird, also continue to decline on the Outer Banks where larger populations once existed.

In situations where habitat is created for these species, small game populations are often quick to respond due to their high reproductive rates and ability to colonize new areas. To address recent declines of these species dependent on early successional habitat, the Wildlife Resource commission has developed programs such as the CURE (Cooperative Upland Habitat Restoration and Enhancement) program.

Many people hunt small game species in North Carolina. Each year approximately 150,000 sportsmen/ sportswomen take more than 1.0 million trips afield in pursuit of resident small game species. Based on a survey of hunters during a recent hunting season, it was estimated that hunters harvested approximately 8,750 grouse, 230,000 quail, 382,500 rabbits, and 482,000 squirrels in North Carolina.


Help Wanted - Avid Bird Hunters

 

Species

2019-2020 Seasons

Regulations

Additional
Information

Armadillo

No Closed Season 

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

General Information

Beaver

Refer to Regulations Disgest

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

General Information

Bobcat

Oct. 14, 2019 - Feb. 29, 2020

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

General Information

Coyote

No Closed Season

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

General Information

5-County Coyote Hunting & Depredation Permits

 Crow

June 5, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020 – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of each week. Crows may also be hunted on Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Independence Day; except when these days fall on a Sunday.

Hunting Regulations

 

 Feral Swine

No Closed Season

Hunting Regulations

General Information

 Fox

Refer to “Fox Hunting & Trapping Seasons” publication at www.ncwildlife.org/foxseasons.

 

Fox Seasons by County

General Information

Groundhog

No Closed Season

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

 

Grouse

Oct. 14, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020

Hunting Regulations

General Information

Nutria

No Closed Season

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

 

Opossum

Oct. 14, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

General Information (PDF)

Pheasant (Male Only)

Nov. 23, 2019 - Feb. 1, 2020

Hunting Regulations

 

Quail

Nov. 23, 2019 - Feb. 29, 2020

Hunting Regulations

General Information

Rabbit (Includes Box-Trapping)

Oct. 14, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020

Hunting Regulations

 

Raccoon

Oct. 14, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

General Information

Skunk (striped)

No Closed Season

Hunting Regulations

Trapping Regulations

General Information (PDF)

Squirrel - Gray and Red

Oct. 14, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2020

Squirrel - Fox

Oct. 14, 2019 – Jan. 31, 2020

Hunting Regulations

General Information
Controlled Hunting Preserves

Regulations

General Information
Extended Falconry

Regulations


 

 

Hunter Harvest Survey Estimates

2013-2017 Grouse Hunting and Harvest Maps (PDF)

1949-2016 Grouse Harvest and Hunter Trends (PDF)