The 2017 deer hunting season is a distant memory for most hunters, and while many hunters are either looking forward to April’s opening day of turkey season or to the fall for the next deer season opener, other hunters are still in the woods taking advantage of the small game that are currently in season.
So what’s legal to hunt right now, what’s the limit, and how long will the season last?
Raccoon and possum: These hunting seasons are currently in, and will be until Feb. 28. Possum hunters have no daily bag limits, but raccoon hunters are limited to three raccoons per day. One quirky rule when hunting for either of these animals is that it’s illegal to carry axes or saws while hunting them. It’s also illegal to shoot raccoons during daylight hours when west of U.S. 1, except in Richmond County.
Squirrel: While fox squirrel season ended on Dec. 31, it’s still legal to hunt gray and red squirrels through Feb. 28. The daily combined limit of squirrels is eight.
Rabbit: Hunters can box-trap or shoot rabbits through Feb. 28, and can kill a limit of five per day. Box-trapping does not require a trapping license, but does require a hunting license.
Quail: With a daily limit of six, quail season is open through Feb. 28.
Grouse: Grouse season runs through Feb. 28 with a daily limit of three, and a season limit of 30.
Crows: Crow hunting season ends Feb. 28, but they are only legal to hunt on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of each week.
Bobcat: Hunters can hunt bobcats through Feb. 28. No limits are enforced for these game animals.
Fox: Fox season with dogs only (no firearms) is open year-round, but some areas of the state restrict this type of hunting, and some counties have different conditions when hunting foxes. See www.ncwildlife.org/foxseasons for more information.
The following small game animals are legal to hunt all year: groundhog, nutria, coyote, striped skunk, armadillo, and wild hogs. Aside from having no closed seasons, hunting these animals also carries no bag limit.
Turkey hunting season is just around the corner, and pretty soon every fish that swims will be biting, but for now, these small game seasons can keep you off the couch and enjoying the outdoors.