Each year thousands of special visitors flock to the Outer Banks. Arriving by air, these VIP travelers cluster around sounds, bays, ponds, pools, and open ocean. Like so many other “tourists,” they love those beautiful OBX waters!
When Is Duck Hunting Season?
Duck hunting season in the Outer Banks is open from October through early March, depending on the type of duck you plan to hunt. Before you plan your trip, visit the North Carolina Wildlife website for specific information about the various duck seasons. Be sure to apply for specific permits as needed. Hunting hours begin a half-hour before sunrise and end at sunset. Seasons for specific waterfowl are as follows:
- Ducks, Mergansers and Coots: October 2–5, November 9 – November 30, and December 14 – January 25
- Sea Ducks (In special sea duck area only): October 2 – January 31
- Dark Geese (Includes Canada geese and white-fronted geese):
- Resident population hunt zone: October 2–12, November 9–30, Dec. 14 – Feb. 8
- Southern James Bay hunt zone: Oct. 2–30, Nov. 9–Dec. 31
- Northeast hunt zone: January 10–25 (By permit only)
- Open Water — Open water duck hunting depends on a large spread of decoys and a reliable duck call. Because you will be hunting from a boat, you do not necessarily need to wear waders, although it is a good idea to keep a pair with you just in case.
- Blinds — If you hire a guide, he will most likely have established blinds to choose from. Variety is helpful in reaching your bag limit early in the day, so take advantage of the various types of blinds that your guide suggests.
- Shore — Field blinds can be a good option if you prefer to do your hunting from the shore. Layout blinds that blend into the landscape and can be easily moved provide excellent cover for hunting ducks on dry land.
Light Geese (Includes snow geese, blue geese, and Ross’ geese): October 16–19, November 9 – March 8Brant: December 23 – January 25Tundra Swan: November 9 – January 31Youth Waterfowl Days (Includes ducks, geese, brant, mergansers, coots and tundra swans with appropriate permits): February 1 and February 8
What Types Of Duck Hunting Are Available?
Duck guides usually offer a variety of hunting experiences in order to provide some variety and the best chance of helping hunters reach their bag limit. Some of the options offered include:
What Are The Best Places To Hunt?
The Outer Banks offer many miles of prime shoreline with excellent duck hunting possibilities. There are several favored spots for duck blinds up and down the coast, including:Currituck National Wildlife Refuge — You will need a shallow-draft boat to access the waterfowl in this area, but the excellent hunting is well worth the trip.Cape Hatteras National Seashore — There is an excellent section of the coastline along Cape Hatteras where ducks can almost always be found. It is important to remain within legal hunting grounds, however, because the nearby Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is closed to hunters.
Northern Outer Banks