Commission sets 2017-18 migratory game bird seasons

Published 7:26 pm Monday, May 1, 2017

RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announces season dates, bag limits and applicable regulations for the 2017-18 waterfowl, webless migratory game bird (including doves) and extended falconry seasons. The new dates and information can be found on the Commission’s website.

This is the second year of a new regulatory schedule implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Previously, the schedule was divided into an early and late season process. The current regulatory process considers all migratory game bird seasons at once. This schedule allows the selected seasons to be published in the annual Regulations Digest, which will help hunters in planning.

Many seasons remain unchanged, but there are some notable changes to duck bag limits. For the 2017-18 season, the overall daily bag limit for ducks remains at six ducks per day, but the pintail bag limit has been reduced to one pintail per day. The bag limit for black ducks has increased to two black ducks per day.

The reduction in the pintail bag limit is a result of a 14-percent decline in the continental pintail population from the previous year. The increase in the black duck limit is a result of updated population modeling which suggests that previous levels of harvest do not negatively impact survival and, more generally, the size of the population. However, hunters should also note that both the black duck and mottled duck season is closed until Nov. 18. This will help minimize harvest of resident black ducks and prevent any potential misidentification issues between black and mottled ducks.

Finally, the number of tundra swan hunting permits available in North Carolina has increased from 5,000 to 6,250 permits. This increase is in response to recent increases in the eastern population of tundra swans and is allowed under the approved Eastern Population Tundra Swan Management Plan. Hunting for tundra swans is by permit only, and permit holders are allowed one tundra swan per year.