The first day of September sent dove hunters to the sweltering fields to start North Carolina’s fall hunting seasons.
Duck hunters can hope for cooler weather when they get their turn starting Oct. 1. The three-segment season begins Oct. 1-4 for ducks, coots and mergansers under the dates for 2014-15 waterfowl seasons starting after Sept. 30, as released by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission on Friday.
Hunters interested in permit waterfowl hunts should mark Oct. 1, too: Most applications are due Oct. 1.
Youth waterfowl days will be Jan. 31 and Feb. 7 for hunters 15 and younger accompanied by licensed adults. Youths may target ducks, geese, brant, mergansers, coots and tundra swans. Licenses and permits are required, and all regulations apply.
Below are dates and daily bag limits. Possession limits are three times the daily bag unless noted. Find all regulations and licensing information, plus falconry seasons and goose hunt zone maps, in the regulations digest or at www.ncwildlife.org.
• Ducks: Oct. 1-4, Nov. 8-29, Dec. 13-Jan. 24; conventional bag: six ducks, including no more than four scoters, four mallards with no more than two hen mallards, three wood ducks, two scaup, two redheads, two pintails, one canvasback, one black or mottled duck (season closed until Nov. 22), and one fulvous whistling duck; harlequin duck closed
• Coots: Oct. 1-4, Nov. 8-29, Dec. 13-Jan. 24; limit 15
• Mergansers: Oct. 1-4, Nov. 8-29, Dec. 13-Jan. 24; limit five (two hooded)
• Sea ducks (scoters, eiders, long-tailed ducks; special sea duck area only): Oct. 1-Jan. 31; limit seven sea ducks in special sea duck area; in other areas, sea ducks are part of regular duck bag; no more than four scoters a day in either season
• Dark geese (Canada, white-fronted): Resident Population Hunt Zone, Oct. 1-11, Nov. 8-29, Dec. 13-Feb. 7, limit five; Southern James Bay Hunt Zone (Gaddy Goose refuge closed after Sept. 30): Oct. 1-28, Nov. 8-Dec. 31, limit five; Northeast Hunt Zone Jan. 9-24 (by permit only), limit one
• Light geese (snow, blue, Ross’): Oct. 15-18, Nov. 8-March 7; limit 25, no possession limit
• Brant: Dec. 22-Jan. 24; limit two
• Tundra swan: Nov. 8-Jan. 31; limit one per season by permit only
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