North Carolina Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

512 North Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27604-1188
Phone: 919-707-0050
Fax: not available

North Carolina Deer Impact, Ecology and Deer Populations

There are an estimated 1.1 Million Deer state wide. The economic impact of North Carolina Deer hunting is estimated to be $600 million annually. The deer population in rural areas has been under control in recent years due to hunting. In Urban or populous areas the deer population has been increasing over the past 20 years due to hunting restrictions in these areas. Deer control is important due to the numerous issues that can arise such as the damage of yards, gardens, farm crops, plant extinction, forest damage and automobile accidents. They monitor the deer population
for diseases such as Chronic wasting disease, tuberculosis, lyme disease and parasites.

In North Carolina there has been a major population expansion over the past 15 years with the major increases in the Raleigh Durham and Charlotte areas. These areas have increasing problems with deer population growth due to expanding areas of building homes, businesses and roads. The white-tailed deer is the most hunted game in the state.Over the past 5 years there have been an average of 40,000 deer-vehicle collisions annual with an average of 5 fatalities and 1200 injuries a year. The deer’s are most active in the fall during the early morning and at night.

North Carolina Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations

All North Carolina Deer hunting persons must posses a valid current hunting license. Regulations and license requirements apply on federal lands. The different regions of North Carolina have specific hunting seasons. Anyone hunting deer during a deer firearms season must wear hunter orange. Landholders hunting on their land do not have to wear hunter orange. Deer with visible antlers may be taken during any open deer season. Anterless deer may only be taken during either-sex deer seasons. The use of commercially made mineral supplements specifically and exclusively marketed for attracting or feeding deer is allowed anywhere in the state, except on game lands.

During the North Carolina Deer Hunting archery season only bow and arrows and crossbows are legal. The big game hunting license allows a hunter to harvest up to 6 deer. All 6 deer can be antlerless for all areas of the state. The season limit for antlered deer in the Eastern Deer Season is 4. The season limit for antlered deer in the Central, Northwestern, and Western deer seasons is 2. Deer harvested during the Urban Archery Season must be registered by phone at 800-446-8663 or online ( ). It is not allowed to take deer that are swimming or in water above
the knees of the deer. Hunting from a boat or floating device is not allowed in some areas.

Identifying an Unattended Kill – The hunter must identify the carcass with their name, hunting license number and date of kill. Once an unattended animal is registered, it can then be identified with the authorization number.

Current North Carolina Deer Hunting Seasons

Eastern (Archery: Sept. 10 – Sept. 30) (Muzzleloader: Oct. 1 – Oct. 14) (Gun: Oct. 15 – Jan. 2)
Central (Archery: Sept. 10 – Oct. 28) (Muzzleloader: Oct. 29 – Nov. 11) (Gun: Nov. 12 – Jan. 2)
Northwestern (Archery: Sept. 10 – Nov. 4) (Muzzleloader: Nov. 5 – Nov. 18) (Gun: Nov. 19 – Jan. 2)

Western (Archery: Sept. 12 – Oct. 1 and Oct. 17 – Nov. 19) (Muzzleloader: Oct. 3 – Oct. 15) (Gun: Nov. 21 – Dec. 10)

North Carolina Deer Hunting Weapon Regulations

During the archery season the following are legal weapons: bows and arrows and crossbows. It is unlawful to carry any type of firearm or to use a dog while hunting deer during this season, except to retrieve a wounded deer. There is a Rifle season as well as a Muzzleloader season.

Other North Carolina Deer Hunting Resources

Hunting Resources:
Hunting Regulations:
Hunting Publications:
Deer Overview:

These websites feature links to Deer Season/Limits, Laws/Safety, License Information, Local Laws, Harvest Data, Publication Downloads and Distribution Maps. There may be variations in different counties and towns pertaining to local laws and local information about North Carolina Deer hunting.