NC Deer Season

John Lewis

Deer Season NC 2023-2024 New Regulations & dates

deer season, NC Deer Hunting Season, NC deer season 2023, north carolina

The NCWRC organizes the state’s annual deer hunting season, which takes place in late fall and January. It regulates the state’s deer population by establishing hunting seasons and bag restrictions for both bucks and does. Variations in antlerless deer bag restrictions may be made depending on the region. The NCWRC establishes and enforces all wildlife restrictions, including the state’s five deer zones with their respective shooting seasons and bag limitations. To be successful, hunters must be aware of and abide by these rules.

NC Deer hunting Season 2023-2024

North Carolina has three main deer hunting seasons: archery, black powder, and firearms. Black powder season normally begins around two weeks after the conclusion of archery season, which typically begins on the second Saturday of September and lasts until late September or early November. Each season also has its own set of regulations for what kinds of gear may be utilized.

NC Deer Hunting Seasons
NC Deer Hunting Seasons

North Carolina’s deer hunting seasons and zones are distinct and cannot be combined. If you wish to shoot an antlerless deer, you need to be informed of the either-sex seasons and the specific times of the year when you may legally do so. You should also be aware of the Urban Archery Season and Youth Deer Hunting Day. The most recent deer seasons are shown down below.

Below is the Latest Deer hunting schedule in NC

General Deer Season

NC Deer SeasonType of SeasonSeason Dates
NortheasternArcherySept 9 – Sept 29, 2023
BlackpowderSept 30 – Oct 13, 2023
GunOct 14, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
SoutheasternArcherySept 9 – Sept 29, 2023
BlackpowderSept 30 – Oct 13, 2023
GunOct 14, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
CentralArcherySept 9 – Oct 27, 2023
BlackpowderOct 28 – Nov 10, 2023
GunNov 11, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
NorthwesternArcherySept 9 – Nov 3, 2023
BlackpowderNov 4 – Nov 17, 2023
GunNov 18, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
WesternArcherySept 9 – Oct 1, 2023
BlackpowderOct 2 – Oct 14, 2023
ArcheryOct 15 – Nov 19, 2023
GunNov 20 – Dec 9, 2023
Archery (Antlered Only)Dec 10, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
Urban DeerArchery OnlyJan 13 – Feb 18, 2024

Antlered Season

Antlered SeasonHunting DatesZones
ArcherySept 9 – Oct 1Western
Oct 15 – Nov 19Western
Sept 9 – Nov 3Northwestern
Sept 9 – Oct 27Central
Sept 9 – Sept 29Northeastern
Sept 9 – Sept 29Southeastern
BlackpowderOct 2 – Oct 14Western
Nov 20 – Dec 9Western
Nov 4 – Nov 17Northwestern
Oct 28 – Nov 10Central
Sept 30 – Oct 13Northeastern
Sept 30 – Oct 13Southeastern
GunDec 10 – Jan 1, 2024Western
Nov 18 – Jan 1, 2024Northwestern
Nov 11 – Jan 1, 2024Central
Oct 14 – Jan 1, 2024Northeastern
Oct 14 – Jan 1, 2024Southeastern

Antlerless Season

Antlerless SeasonHunting DatesZones
Archery SeasonSept 9 – Nov 3Rutherford, Polk, Cleveland
Sept 9 – Oct 1Burke, Yancey, Mitchell, Caldwell, Avery
Oct 15 – Nov 19Burke, Yancey, Mitchell, Caldwell, Avery
Sept 9 – Oct 1Madison, McDowell
Oct 15 – Nov 19Madison, McDowell
Sept 9 – Oct 1Haywood, Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania
Oct 15 – Nov 19Haywood, Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania
Sept 9 – Oct 1Swain, Jackson, Macon, Graham, Cherokee, Clay
Oct 15 – Nov 19Swain, Jackson, Macon, Graham, Cherokee, Clay
All days when the applicable antlered archery season is open.
Other Northwestern, Central, Northeastern, Southeastern
Blackpowder SeasonNov 4 – Nov 17Rutherford, Polk, Cleveland
Oct 2 – Oct 14Burke, Yancey, Mitchell, Caldwell, Avery
Oct 2 – Oct 14Madison, McDowell
Oct 2 – Oct 7Haywood, Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania
7-OctSwain, Jackson, Macon, Graham, Cherokee, Clay
All open days during the applicable antlered blackpowder season.
Other Northwestern, Central, Northeastern, Southeastern
Gun SeasonNov 18 – Dec 16Rutherford, Polk, Cleveland
Nov 20 – Dec 2Burke, Yancey, Mitchell, Caldwell, Avery
Nov 20 – Nov 25Madison, McDowell
25-NovHaywood, Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania
NoneSwain, Jackson, Macon, Graham, Cherokee, Clay
All days that the applicable legal gun season is open.
Other Northwestern, Central, Northeastern, Southeastern

N.C. Deer Hunting Season Map & Best Deer Hunting Locations

The Nantahala, Pisgah, Croatan, and Uwharrie national forests all provide deer hunting, with the Nantahala and Pisgah forests boasting the greatest deer harvests on public property in the state during the previous hunting season. Last year’s hunting season yielded many deer in the B. Everett Jordan Game Lands in the Piedmont area, not far from Durham. There were also large deer tallies from the previous season in the Croatan and Uwharrie national forests.

For more details on the NC deer location map, you may visit the below websites:

Eregulations Website

NC Wildlife Website

Harvesting a Deer

Hunters in North Carolina must have their Big Game Harvest Report card and Big Game hunting license when hunting. Before removing a harvested deer from the crime scene, the hunter must record the date and month of the kill by punching or cutting the appropriate information from the report card. The deer may then be transported after being field dressed. Deer must be registered with the NCWRC before being processed or transferred to another party. You may sign up over the phone, on their website, or in a local office of their wildlife service agent.


• When hunting deer, certain times of day are restricted. Except in managed hunting areas, firearms hunting is prohibited at certain times on Sundays.

• Hunting within 500 yards of a religious building is illegal. Certain counties forbid deer hunting with dogs, but a leashed dog with a portable light may assist hunters in finding a downed or wounded deer.

• Archers can kill a wounded deer with a.22 rimfire pistol.

• Hunting from an aircraft, boat, or automobile is forbidden in most regions, although some counties allow it for deer.

• When firearms are allowed, “hunter orange” must be worn for visibility.

• Some counties restrict deer hunting with artificial lights, electronic calls, and from a public road or right-of-way.

• Killing a deer in water over its shins is illegal.

• Hunters require permission to hunt on private property.

• During the season, you may take six deer, including two antlered deer. Bonus Antlerless Deer licenses don’t boost the quantity of deer harvested.

Deer hunting safety guidelines must be followed due to weapons and other potentially harmful equipment. Both bow and rifle hunters should cover their heads until ready to shoot.

• Hunters must know what they’re shooting at and what’s in the backdrop. Any injuries a hunter causes are their responsibility.

• When hunting deer, many people perch high up in a tree since the animals have no natural enemies from above and are thus more likely to approach the hunters.

Hunting License

North Carolina requires hunters to be at least 16 years old and possess a valid hunting license. For those who call North Carolina home, the state offers several different hunting and fishing permits: the Resident State Hunting License, the Resident Combination Hunting/Fishing License, the Resident Comprehensive Hunting License, and the Resident Sportsman License.

The basic and cheapest option is the Hunting license; the Combination license also allows fishing, and the Comprehensive license grants even more hunting rights. The Sportsman license is the pinnacle of outdoor enthusiast licensing, allowing its bearer expanded access to hunting and fishing. Deer hunting is one of the few types of hunting for which a license is not required for those under the age of 16, but a License-Exempt Big Game Harvest Report Card must be obtained. To go hunting in North Carolina, non-residents over 16 must first get a Nonresident State Hunting License. The 10-day and annual Nonresident State Hunting Licenses available to non-residents provide the same hunting rights as the year-long Resident licenses.

There are four options for getting a license right now. Due to the sensitive nature of the necessary documents, some licensing items may only be received by mail or in person from the Commission. There is a possible $2 transaction charge applied to each order.

Buy Online:

Buy Over Phone:


(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Buy in Person:

Licenses can be obtained in person at the Wildlife Resources Commission’s NCSU Centennial Campus location in Raleigh, North Carolina, address as below:  

NCSU Centennial Campus, 

1751 Varsity Drive, 

Raleigh, N.C.

By Mail:

At NCWRC, 1707 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1700.

Hunting License Fees

Note: For a complete list of Hunting License Fees, you may find it in our article North Carolina Hunting Seasons.

When does deer season start in North Carolina?

On September 9, 2023, all deer zones in North Carolina will begin their deer seasons. However, based on the deer zone and the hunting method, different hunting seasons and closing dates apply. Except for the Urban Deer Season, which concludes on February 18, 2024, the season typically terminates on January 2, 2024.

What are the different hunting seasons for deer in North Carolina?

Deer hunting seasons in North Carolina are divided into zones with different periods and equipment limitations. Eastern zone bow and arrow hunting is September 12–October 9, muzzleloader hunting October 10–October 16, and rifle hunting October 17–January 1. Bow and arrow, muzzleloader, and rifle hunting have unique schedules in the Central, Northwestern, Western, Northeastern, and Southeastern zones. Antlered deer seasons differ in the Central, Northwestern, and Western zones. Urban Archery Season runs from January 13 to February 18, and Youth Deer Hunting Day on September 23, 2023, encourages young hunters.

What are the bag limits for deer in North Carolina?

The season and possession bag limit for deer in North Carolina is six, with two antlered and four antlerless. Hunters have freedom throughout the season since there is no daily bag restriction. Season and possession limits do not apply to Bonus Antlerless Harvest Report Card-harvested antlerless deer. The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) exempts antlerless deer with harvest tags from statewide bag limitations. North Carolina deer hunters should be aware of these requirements to comply with the state’s hunting laws.

Regulation Source: NC Wildlife

John Lewis
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