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North Carolina Waterfowl Hunting


Season / Zone Dates Notes
Ducks, Mergansers and Coots
(except Black & Mottled ducks)
Oct 7 – Oct 10
Nov 14 – Dec 5
Dec 19 – Jan 30
Black & mottled ducks Same as other ducks after Nov 21
Sea Ducks Oct 1 – Jan 30 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.
Dark Geese
Resident Zone
Oct 7 – Oct 17
Nov 14 – Dec 5
Dec 19 – Feb 13
Includes Canada and White-fronted geese. View a map of the dark goose zones here: NC Seasons & Limits
Dark Geese
S. James Bay Zone
Oct 7 – Nov 9
Nov 14 – Dec 31
Dark Geese
Northeast Zone
Jan 15 – Jan 30 By permit only.
Light Geese Oct 13 – Feb 13 Includes snow, blue and Ross’s geese
Light Goose Conservation Order Feb 15 – Mar 31 By permit only. Electronic calls and unplugged shotguns are permitted.
Brant Dec 28 – Jan 30
Tundra Swan Nov 7 – Jan 30 By permit only.
Extended Falconry Oct 21 – Nov 2
Jan 27 – Feb 15
Falconers may also hunt during regular seasons. Not allowed on Sunday.
Youth Days Feb 6 & Feb 13 Open to hunters 15 years and younger accompanied by a licensed adult. The adult may not hunt duck, but may participate in other open seasons.

Additional Information

Bag Limit Species Daily Limit
Possession limit: 3 times daily bag limit
Duck 6, including no more than:

  • 4 scoters
  • 4 mallards (max. 2 female)
  • 2 scaup
  • 3 wood ducks
  • 2 redheads
  • 2 pintails
  • 1 black or mottled duck
  • 2 canvasback
  • 1 fulvous whistling duck
  • No harlequin ducks
Merganser 15
Coot 5 (max. 2 hooded mergansers)
Sea Duck 7, in sea duck area. Elsewhere sea ducks are part of the regular duck bag limit.
Light Geese 25, no possession limit
Light Goose Conservation Order No bag or possession limit
Dark Geese 5 in Resident Zone
5 in S. James Bay Zone
1 in Northeast Zone
Brant 1
Tundra Swan 1 per season with permit
Falconry 3 birds
Hunting Times Season Times
Regular 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
Light Goose Conservation Order 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset
Arms & Ammo Type Details
Shotgun 10 gauge or smaller, incapable of holding more than three shells
Shot Must be non-toxic
Archery Long and recurve bows with min. 40lb pull
Compound bows with min. 35lb pull
Crossbows with min. 150lb draw weight