North Carolina Offers Special Hunt Opportunities

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With more than 2 million acres of game lands open to public hunting, North Carolina is considered by many to be a hunter's paradise.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission enhances hunting opportunities throughout the state by offering a wide range of hunts through its "Special Hunt Opportunities in North Carolina" program — from waterfowl on Currituck National Wildlife Refuge in Currituck County to deer in Dupont State Forest in Henderson and Transylvania counties.

Because these opportunities involve special areas and species, participation is limited through a permit-allotment process. To apply for a permit, applicants should visit their nearest Wildlife Service Agent or call 1(888) 248-6834, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Fees to apply for these hunts are $5 each and $10 for tundra swan and Canada goose northeast zone permits.

Permits are either dispensed at the time of the sale for hunts with no hunter-participation (quota) limits or by draw process and mailed directly to applicants. For this reason, Lisa Hocutt, Customer Support Services section chief, advises all applicants to verify their hunt choices and mailing addresses for accuracy before leaving the Wildlife Service Agent location.

"An incorrect mailing address can delay or even prevent a permit from reaching the hunter in time for the hunt," Hocutt said. "If you've successfully applied for a swan permit but have not received it by Nov. 1, you need to contact the Wildlife Resources Commission at 1 (888) 248-6834 by Dec. 14 to see if it has been returned by the post office as undeliverable."

Hunters can find out if they've been selected for a particular hunt by visiting the Wildlife Resources Commission's Web site approximately three weeks after the application deadline has passed.

While random, computerized drawings ensure that all applicants have equal chances of being selected, many applications are disqualified before the selection process even begins because of applicant errors. The most common error is submitting more than one application for a hunt. Applicants can apply only once per hunt; the computer program automatically disqualifies duplicate applications for the same hunt.

Each permit hunt opportunity has an application deadline. Deadlines vary depending on hunt area and species. For instance, application deadlines for the tundra swan and northeast zone Canada goose hunts are Oct. 1 and Nov. 1, respectively. Permit application deadlines for deer range from Aug. 1 until season closes; for bear, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1. Application deadlines to hunt turkey are either Dec. 1 for the winter season or March 1 for spring season.

Permit seekers for tundra swan and Canada goose northeast zone hunts should have a valid hunting license and waterfowl privilege license prior to the application deadline; otherwise, their permit applications will be disqualified in the draw process.

Successful applicants of tundra swan and Canada goose northeast zone permits will be issued tags and questionnaires to complete and return at the end of the their hunts or at the end of the season, whichever comes first. The tags must be validated and attached to the bird according to the instructions provided with the tag.

Questionnaires must be returned by April 1 or the hunter is ineligible to participate in the permit-selection process next year.

The hunts are separated by species and by game land or refuge. The number of hunters (quota) selected for each hunt ranges from one to no limit. The Commission determines quotas by estimating the number of hunters the area can support plus an estimated number of "no-shows."

Permits are non-transferable and allow hunting only on specific dates for certain species. All bag limits, possession limits, and appropriate reporting requirements as outlined in the 2007-2008 North Carolina Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest apply.

Hunts are broken down into four categories:

  • * General hunts are offered throughout the state for bear, deer, dove, small game, Canada geese, tundra swan, turkey, waterfowl as well as furbearer trapping opportunities.
  • * Youth hunts are offered for participants accompanied by an adult. Age requirements vary per hunt so refer to the 2007-08 Special Hunt Opportunities in North Carolina guide.
  • * Youth and adult hunts allow an adult and a youth to hunt together as a party.
  • * Disabled Sportsman hunts are offered to hunters who possess one of the following: a Disabled Veteran or Totally Disabled Lifetime license; or a Disabled Sportsman Hunt Certification in addition to a valid hunting license.

For more information on the special hunts offered by the Commission, including area descriptions, quotas per hunt, hunt dates and special rules, download the agency's 2007-08 Special Hunts Opportunities in North Carolina guide, or call 1 (888) 248-6834.