The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has approved the season dates for dove and other webless migratory game birds, as well as September seasons for Canada geese and teal.
Seasons and bag limits for most species are similar to last year with the notable exception of the dove hunting season. This year, 20 additional days were allowed and the Commission added a portion of those extra days to the early October segment of the season and added the remaining extra days to late November and early December.
Now, once the dove season reopens in late November, it will run until it closes in mid-January, effectively combining the second and third seasons into one extended second season. To lengthen dove season and create the uninterrupted second season, the Commission had to open the second dove season segment on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27), not the Monday prior to Thanksgiving that had become the norm for a number of years.
Hunters should also note that the first segment of the dove season opens on Labor Day, which is Monday, Sept. 1. Although many hunters prefer the season to open the Saturday prior to Labor Day, federal guidelines do not allow state fish and wildlife agencies to open their migratory game bird seasons prior to Sept. 1.
Shooting hours for all species are ½ hour before sunrise until sunset unless otherwise noted. Dove hunters should note that shooting hours for the entire season, including opening day, begin at ½ hour before sunrise. The change to opening day shooting hours for doves was implemented several years ago.
Each year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provide frameworks from which to select the seasons and the Wildlife Commission chooses the actual dates within these guidelines. The Commission requested public input on the seasons throughout June on its website.