NCWRC sets 2020-21 migratory game bird seasons

migratory bird
North Carolina's 2020-21 migratory game bird seasons have been set.

Time to plan out your migratory bird hunts

At its business meeting last week, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission set season dates, bag limits and applicable regulations for the 2020-21 waterfowl, webless migratory game bird (including doves), and extended falconry seasons.

Selected seasons also will be published in the 2020-21 Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest.

While many seasons remain unchanged, some notable changes are:

  • In response to a decrease in the estimated number of Eastern Population Tundra Swans, the number of available swan hunting permits allocated to North Carolina will be reduced from 6,115 to 4,895.
  • During the open portions of the general duck season, the bag limit for scaup will be one scaup daily from Oct 7-Jan. 7, and two scaup daily from Jan. 8-30.
  • Brant hunting will run concurrently with the last segment of the general duck hunting season (Dec. 19-Jan. 30) with a one-brant daily bag limit.
  • Beginning in the 2020-21 hunting season, the federal framework season ending date for rails, gallinules and moorhens has changed from the last Sunday in January to Jan. 31.

Read a more detailed overview of the important changes to the 2020-21 seasons.

State will be split into Coastal and Inland duck zones

The Commission also announced its intention to establish two state duck hunting zones beginning in the 2021-2022 hunting season. Interstate 95 will form the boundary between the Coastal and Inland duck zones. Up to three season segments are allowed within each zone. The number of season segments, up to the allowable, and season dates within zones can change annually. Federal frameworks require these duck hunting zones to remain in place through the 2025-2026 season. For the 2021-2022 season, the Commission will set season dates within each zone at its April 2021 meeting.

For more information on migratory game bird hunting in North Carolina, visit the Commission’s What to Hunt page.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, the sales counter at the Wildlife Commission’s headquarters in Raleigh is closed. We encourage the public to visit our website,, to purchase fishing, trapping and hunting licenses and to renew a vessel registration. The Commission’s License, Vessel Registration, and Wildlife Helpline Call Centers are open from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. For the most up-to-date information on agency-related closures, cancellations and postponements visit

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