Hunting season dates for early migratory game birds have been set by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the agency reported yesterday (July 12).

The seasons set include dove, rails, gallinule, woodcock, teal and Canada geese.

The 2011–12 seasons dates are:

• Dove (mourning and white-winged)  – Sept. 3-Oct. 8, Nov. 21-26, Dec. 17-Jan. 13
• King and clapper rails – Sept. 1-Nov. 9
• Sora and Virginia rails – Sept. 1-Nov. 9
• Gallinule and moorhens – Sept. 1-Nov. 9
• Woodcock - Dec. 15-Jan. 28
• Common snipe – Nov. 14-Feb. 28
• Canada goose – Sept. 1-30 (statewide)
• Teal (blue-winged, green-winged, cinnamon)– Sept. 10-Sept. 28 (East of US Highway 17 Only)

The daily bag limit for doves, king and clapper rails, gallinule, moorhens and Canada geese will be 15 birds, with at 30-bird possession limit.

Daily and possession limits for sora and Virgnia rails will be 25 birds.

In that area west of U.S. Highway 17 only, expanded hunting methods are allowed for Canada geese. These include shooting hours that are extended to ½ hour after sunset, use of unplugged guns and electronic calls are permitted. This applies to this area only during the month of September.

Daily bag limits for all rails are for either single species or in the aggregate including different rail species.

Woodcock will be regulated under a three-bird daily limit, with a possession limit of six.

Common snipe daily bag limit will be eight, while the possession limit will be 16.

Teal hunters can take no more than four birds daily, with an eight-bird possession limit. 

Shooting hours for all species begin a half hour before sunrise and ends at sunset, except for opening day (Sept. 3) for dove during which shooting hours run from noon through sunset.

The Commission also approved 2011–12 extended falconry season dates for early migratory waterfowl:

• Dove – Oct. 15-Nov. 19
• King, clapper, sora and Virginia rails – Nov. 19-Dec. 24
• Gallinule and moorhens – Nov. 19-Dec. 24
• Woodcock – Nov. 7-Dec. 10, Jan. 30-Feb. 25

However, falconry is not allowed on Sunday.

Limits for each species will be three daily with a six-bird possession limit. While falconry is legal during the applicable gun seasons, the daily and possession limits remain three and six, respectively.

Also daily and possession limits are for all species singly or in the aggregate. For example, if the applicable season(s) are open, a daily bag may consist of 3 doves or 1 dove, 1 snipe and 1 woodcock for a total of 3 migratory game birds.

Hunting hours are the same as during gun seasons.