NC Deer Season 2019
With the first day of North Carolina deer hunting season little more than a month away – in most zones archery season starts on or around September 7 – it pays to be aware of hunting rules and to familiarize yourself with some tips and tactics that will help you get the most out of your 2019 deer hunting experience.
Regulations, Limits & Licenses
Archery season kicks off fall hunting on September 7th for a period of between 3 weeks in the Northeastern and Southeastern zones of the state to 10 weeks or more in the wild western part of North Carolina. Blackpowder and gun hunting seasons follow shortly thereafter, and on one special date, Youth Deer Hunting Day – September 28, in 2019 – individuals under the age of 18 may hunt deer using any legal weapon to do so, although adults 18 and older are only allowed to use the weapon that is legal for the season.
Some of the most basic rules and regulations for deer hunting season are the following:
- Anyone hunting deer – including those under 18, on Youth Deer Hunting Day – during a firearms season or hunting with archery equipment on a Sunday is obliged to wear bright orange clothing that is visible from any direction.
- The use of commercially available mineral supplements to feed and attract deer is permitted anywhere in the state with the exception of private game lands, although the placement of any processed foods as bait is specifically forbidden during black bear season.
- Although there is no daily bag limit, the season and possession limit is six deer. The limit includes two antlered and two antlerless animals; additional antlerless deer are sometimes allowed during archery season.
- Hunting licenses are sold to the public through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission which will regulate when and where hunting activities might take place. A license may ONLY be purchased if a hunter is able to provide a hunter’s education certificate of competency, a NC hunting heritage apprentice permit, or an NC hunting license obtained prior to July of 2013.
Exceptions to these rules include –
- Youth under the age of 16 who are accompanied by a properly licensed adult;
- A landowner who hunts primarily for the purposes of cultivation;
- A state resident who is a member of the Armed Forces serving outside of North Carolina, or who is on military duty outside the state but who is on leave inside the state for 30 days or less.
- Certain deer hunting zones allow the use of hunting dogs, and some do not. Generally speaking, zones in the Eastern part of the state allow the use of dogs, and zones in the West prohibit their use.
Game Lands Regulations
North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission oversees over 2,000,000 acres of both public and private lands in our state for the purpose of hunting, trapping and inland fishing. In addition to a standard hunting license, a permit is required through the Commission to hunt, trap, train dogs or participate in field trials (events in which hunting dogs compete with one another) on game lands. Seasonal hunting dates apply to public and private game lands just as they do elsewhere in the state, though motorized vehicles on game lands are only allowed in areas in which they are specifically allowed. Finally, it is against the law to discharge a weapon on public or private game lands from a vehicle or within 150 yards of any residence or official building. Firearms may be carried either openly or concealed, with a valid concealed handgun permit.
Urban Archery Season
Some municipalities now allow periodic deer hunting in order to reduce deer populations in their cities and towns. Certain public areas within those zones allow for the harvesting of deer of either sex, with seasonal bag and possession limits applying just as they do for the general archery season. Private landowners are under no obligation to allow hunting on their property during Urban Archery Season, but with proper written permission, hunters may utilize private lands.
Optional Gear Specific to Deer Hunting
It’s important to be prepared during the season with the proper equipment, which may include the following.
- A hunting blind is a structure or cover that conceals the hunter from wildlife. The blind might accommodate one individual or several and is either placed on the ground or is elevated.
- A tree stand, or deer stand, is a platform used by a hunter to raise him or her off the ground in order to provide a better view of the surrounding area.
- Thermal clothing that is made of a quiet, camouflage-type material and is typically full of pockets and compartments is commonly used, especially during the cooler months of hunting season.
- A handheld GPS unit is useful both in tracking deer and providing the hunter with an added level of safety in being able to backtrack out of an area in case of an emergency.
Learn more: NC Deer Season 2019