North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Hunting In North Carolina

Before the Hunt

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

What to Hunt / Seasons & Limits

Big Game

Big Game” status includes species that can be hunted and must be registered with the NCWRC upon harvest.

You can also call 800-I-GOT-ONE (800-446-8663) to report your harvest.

Review a list of your previous harvests with authorization numbers.  You can also print a personalized harvest certificate for display.

View live county, regional or statewide harvest totals and trends for deer, bear or turkey. 

Black Bear

Black Bear Ursus americanus

photo by: Mike Carraway

Please click image for additional information

 

2018-2019 Bear Season Dates

Western Bear Season

(Mountain Bear Mgmt Unit)

Oct. 5 - Nov. 17, 2018 -  In and west of Surry, Wilkes, Caldwell, Burke and Cleveland counties

Dec. 10, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019 - In and west of Surry, Wilkes, Caldwell, Burke and Cleveland counties

 

Piedmont Bear Season

​(Piedmont Bear Mgmt. Unit)

Nov. 10, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019 -  Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson,   Durham, Granville, Guilford, Lee,

Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Orange,   Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Stanly, and   Union counties

Oct. 13, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019 -  Franklin, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Moore, Richmond, Scotland, Vance, Wake and Warren counties 

Nov. 17, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019 -  Alexander, Catawba, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Stokes and Yadkin counties

 

Eastern Bear Season

​(Coastal Bear Mgmt. Unit)

Zone 1:  Nov 10 - 25, 2018 - Dare, Hyde and Tyrrell counties

               Dec. 8 - 23, 2018 - Dare, Hyde and Tyrrell counties

 

Zone 2:  Nov. 10 - 18, 2018 - Currituck, Gates and Perquimans counties

               Dec. 8 - 23, 2018 - Currituck, Gates and Perquimans counties

 

Zone 2:  Nov. 9 - 18, 2018 - Camden, Chowan and Pasquotank counties

               Dec. 8 - 23, 2018 - Camden, Chowan and Pasquotank counties

 

Zone 3:  Nov. 10 - 18, 2018 - Beaufort, Bertie, Craven, Hertford, Jones, Martin and Washington counties

               Dec. 8 - 23, 2018 - Beaufort, Bertie, Craven, Hertford, Jones, Martin and Washington counties

 

Zone 4:  Nov. 17 - Dec. 16, 2018 -  Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Lenoir, Nash, Northampton, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson counties

 

Zone 5:  Nov. 12 , 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019 -  Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow,

Pamlico, Pender, Robeson and Sampson counties

White-tailed Deer

White-tail Deer Odocoileus virginianus

Photo by: Ken Taylor

Click image to see additional information

 

2018-2019 Deer Season

Western Deer Season

  • Archery:  Sept. 8 - 30, 2018

      Oct. 14 - Nov. 18, 2018

      Dec. 9, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019 (antlered deer only)

  • Blackpowder:  Oct. 1 - 13, 2018
  • Gun:  Nov. 19 - Dec. 8, 2018
  • Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons
    • ​No Season:  Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties
    • ​Introductory Season:  Nov. 24, 2018 - Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties
    • Conservative Season:  Nov. 19 - 24, 2018 - Avery, Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties

 

Northwestern Deer Season

  • Archery:  Sept. 8 -  Nov. 2, 2018
  • Blackpowder:  Nov. 3 - 16, 2018
  • Gun:  Nov. 17, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019
  • Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons
    • ​Moderate Season:  Nov. 17 - Nov. 30, 2018 - Cleveland, Polk and Rutherford counties

Central Deer Season

  • Archery:  Sept. 8 -  Oct. 26, 2018
  • Blackpowder:  Oct. 27 - Nov. 9, 2018
  • Gun:  Nov. 10, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019
  • 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. 8 -  28, 2018
  • Blackpowder:  Sept. 29 - Oct. 12, 2018
  • Gun:  Oct. 13, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019
  • 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. 8 -  28, 2018
  • Blackpowder:  Sept. 29 - Oct. 12, 2018
  • Gun:  Oct. 13, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019
  • 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. 22, 2018

 

Deer Urban Archery Season

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

  • Archery Only:  Jan. 12 - Feb. 17, 2019

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo

Photo by: NWTF

Click image to see additional information

 

2017-2018 Wild Turkey Regulations

 

Wild Turkey Spring Season (2017- 2018 Season)

(male or bearded turkey only)

  • April 14- May 12, 2018 - Statewide

 

Wild Turkey YOUTH ONLY Season

(male or bearded turkey only)

  • April 7- 13, 2018 - Statewide

2018-2019 Turkey Season Dates

Wild Turkey Spring Season (2018- 2019 Season)

(male or bearded turkey only)

  • April 13- May 11, 2019 - Statewide

 

Wild Turkey YOUTH ONLY Season

(male or bearded turkey only)

  • April 6- 12, 2019 - Statewide

Small Game and Other Seasons

Mourning Doves

Species  Season Dates and Informaiton

 Doves (includes mourning

 and white-winged dove)

 Seasons / Limits​

 Extended Falconry Seasons

 State Regulations

 Federal Regultions

 Game Land Dove Fields

 Surveys and Reports

Waterfowl

Webless Migratory Game Birds (woodcock, rail, snipe)

Species Season Dates and Information
 Woodcock

 Seasons / Limits

 Extended Falconry Seasons  

 State Regulations

 Federal Regulations (Summary)

 Snipe

 Seasons / Limits

 State Regulations

 Federal Regulations (Summary)

 Rails (includes Sora &

 Clapper, King, & 

 Virginia Rail)

 Seasons / Limits

 Extended Falconry Season

 State Regulations

 Federal Reglations (Summary)

Where to Hunt

  Public Lands 

 

 

 

 

 

  Private Land Hunting Tips

Sportsmen now need written permission, dated within the past 12 months, signed by the landowner or lessee, to hunt, fish, or trap on private lands posted with signs or purple paint.​

 

Landowner Protection Act

EXAMPLES

Laws & Safety

Hunting Regulations

Local Laws

Landowner Protection Act

The 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 FAQ's

Additional Informaiton

Disabled Programs

 

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.

 

  • Donations

Hunting Publications

Click image to view document.

 

2017-18 North Carolina Inland Fishing, Hunting, & Trapping Regulations Digest

Contains information on license requirements, inland fishing regulations, hunting regulations, trapping regulations, Game Lands regulations and restrictions, local laws, Big Game Harvest Reports, and Permit Hunt Opportunities.

This publication is available free of charge.

By Mail
Request a copy be mailed to you
(opens in a new window)

View Online
Download PDF booklet
 
Contact 
Obtain a digest from one our Wildlife Service Agents.
 
Write or Call
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
1707 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1707
(919) 707-0391

 

Click image to view document.

 

County Fox Harvest Seasons Legislated by the North Carolina General Assembly

This document provides a general listing of current statutes pertaining to allowing the harvest of foxes by the NCGA. It includes all known “local laws” as well as a listing of those counties that fall under the fox firearms season set by G.S. 113-291-4A. “Local laws” which prohibit an activity or harvest are listed in the Regulations Digest.

Additional Hunting Resources

Important Hunter Information

Hunting Heritage

 

2012 Hunting Matters! "Hats On" Mentoring Campaign Final Report

 


Hunting Heritage Program Strategic Plan


Hunter Retention and Recruitment in North Carolina: Analysis and Implicaions from the "Maintaining the Heritage" 2005 Workshop

Hunter Education Information

The Hunter Education Program of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission provides free hunter education courses throughout the year in every county.  More than a firearm safety course, instruction includes ethics and responsibility, conservation and wildlife management, wildlife identification, survival and first aid, specialty hunting and tree stand safety.

There are no minimum age requirements, however, classes are taught at a sixth grade level and tests must be completed without assistance. Courses are a minimum of 6 hours, taught by wildlife officers, hunter education specialists and certified volunteer instructors, and certification is accepted in every state and province in North America.

Due to hunter education, hunting accidents have decreased by over 50% during the last twenty years making hunting one of the safest recreational activities.

 

 

  • Online Courses
    • Currently, there are four online hunter education courses (with varying fees) that provide a convenient alternative to the classroom course.  Once you complete an online course, you will need to attend a local, 2-hour review session with proctored exam to complete certification.  Click here to register for a review session near you.

 

 

 

  • Home from the Hunt Learn more about Home from the Hunt, a nationally recognized campaign that encourages everyone to be prepared and be safe during time spent outdoors.

 

 

Improving Hunting Skills

  • Skill-Based Seminars -  Visit the Skills-based Seminars calendar page for the current schedule.
    • Turkey Hunting
    • Squirrel Hunting
    • Waterfowl Hunting
    • Deer Hunting 101
    • Deer Processing

 (For question or more information, contact Walter "Deet" James at walter.james@ncwildlife.org,  919-707-0059 (office), or

 984-202-1387 (mobile).

 

 

 

Additional Publications

  Fox and Coyote Populations Study Final Report (April 1, 2012)

In June 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly directed the Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission) to study fox and coyote populations and to recommend management methods and controls designed to ensure statewide conservation of fox populations while managing adverse effects of coyote populations. Since that time, the Commission has gathered information about the attitudes and perspectives of numerous stakeholder groups.

In addition, the Commission compiled all available information on the harvest and status of foxes and coyotes by hunters and trappers. Included herein is a detailed presentation of the different authorities for regulating take of foxes and coyotes, including the Commission’s limited authority for regulating take of foxes, and the resulting significant variation in fox hunting and trapping seasons.


 

   Quick Facts: From the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife -Associated Recreation (USFWS)

The 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation is a comprehensive source of wildlife-related recreation information. Information is provided in national and state printed reports and at https://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/fhw06-nat.pdf 


 

   Tarheel Wildlife

A Guide for Managing Wildlife on Private Lands In North Carolina.


   Click for information on The Upland Gazette

 

Stay up-to-date with North Carolina small game issues and wildlife habitat information in the Upland Gazette newsletter!



  Wildlife Restoration in North Carolina 

Learn more about the Wildlife Restoration Program in North Carolina and its accomplishments in this report.

Surveys and Reports

Recipes

Seen a Sick Deer?

If you have seen or harvested a sick deer, please call your local District Biologist or the Wildlife Helpline at 1-866-318-2401.

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.