The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking public comment on upcoming migratory game bird hunting seasons, as well as advising hunters of several important changes to the 2018-19 seasons.
Comments can be submitted online through April 8. The Commission will select the season dates at its April 26 business meeting in Raleigh, based on public comments received.
Hunters should note the following changes to the hunting seasons for migratory birds, which include waterfowl, doves, woodcock, rails and snipe:
• Compensatory days will now be allowed for waterfowl and webless species (doves, woodcock, rails and snipe). Previously, due to federal guidelines, North Carolina was required to count Sundays as a hunting day for webless species even though there are state prohibitions for hunting all migratory game birds on Sunday. Proposed season dates for these species will now reflect the availability of these compensatory days for all migratory birds.
• The final dove season dates chosen may allow for additional late season dove hunting opportunities since the closing framework date for doves is now Jan. 31. Previously dove seasons were required to close no later than Jan. 15.
• The Southern James Bay Population (SJBP) Hunt Zone for Canada geese is being discontinued. Counties previously included in the SJBP zone will now become part of the Resident Population Hunt Zone. Southern James Bay geese are a shared resource between the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways with principal wintering areas in Ohio, Michigan and surrounding states. Discontinuation of the SJBP zone in North Carolina is primarily a result of a change in management philosophy for this group of geese.
• The federal brant season frameworks will now allow a 60-day season with a two-bird daily bag. As an alternative, the Commission seeks feedback on a reduced brant season that overlaps the third segment of the duck hunting season. This would represent no change from the previous hunting season since state surveys, along with information from local guides and hunters, indicate that brant numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years.
The Commission’s website lists the federal frameworks from which seasons may be selected and a direct link to a map of North Carolina’s Canada goose hunt zones.
For more information on migratory game birds in North Carolina, visit the Commission’s What to Hunt page.