2022-2023 North Carolina Deer Season Dates and Info

Are you counting down the days until North Carolina’s 2022-20223 deer season? We are! We are excited to be able to announce the upcoming deer season dates and regulations and hope you find this information beneficial. As always, North Carolina deer hunters will have plenty of opportunity to fill their tags this season, whether you hunt with archery equipment, a blackpowder rifle or modern firearm.

Below you’ll find the season dates for each region of the state, as well as some statewide deer hunting regulations. This is not a comprehensive list of all deer hunting regulations, so you should always refer to 2022-2023 Regulations Digest (available Aug. 1, 2022) from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for a complete list of regulations, season dates, and bag limits.

Deer Season Dates

Northeastern & Southeastern Deer Zone

Archery: September 10 — September 30, 2022

Blackpowder: October 1 — October 14, 2022

Gun: October 15, 2022 — January 2, 2023

Central Deer Zone

Archery: September 10 — October 28, 2022

Blackpowder: October 29 — November 11, 2022

Gun: November 12, 2022 — January 2, 2023

Northwestern Deer Zone

Archery: September 10 — November 4, 2022

Blackpowder: November 5 — November 18, 2022

Gun: November 19, 2022 — January 2, 2023

Western Deer Zone

Archery: September 10 — October 2, 2022; October 16 — November 20, 2022; December 11, 2022 — January 2, 2023 (antlered deer only)

Blackpowder: October 3 — October 15, 2022

Gun: November 21 — December 10, 2022

Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons

Introductory Season: November 26, 2022: Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania counties.

Conservative Season: November 21 – November 26, 2022: Avery, Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Mitchell, and Yancey counties.

Moderate Season: November 19 – December 2, 2022: Cleveland, Polk, and Rutherford counties.

Maximum Season: Entire Gun Season: All other counties and in Buncombe County east of NC 191 south of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, west of US 25 and north of NC 280 and in Henderson County east of NC 191 and north and west of NC 280.

No Season: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties.

Urban Archery Deer Season

Open in participating cities only- refer to the Regulations Digest for a list and contact information.

Archery Only: January 14 — February 19, 2023

Youth Deer Hunting Day

On this day, youth under the age of 18 may use any legal weapon to hunt deer of either-sex. Refer to the Regulations Digest for a description of legal weapons.

Youth ages 16 and 17 must be properly licensed to hunt deer.

Any Legal Weapon: September 24, 2022

Bag Limits

North Carolina deer hunters may take six deer per season — two antlered and four antlerless. There is no daily limit. Antlerless deer taken under the DMAP program and tagged with harvest tags provided with the program do not count against your statewide bag limit.

Note: Antlered deer are considered any deer with bony structures that protrude through the skin. Deer with knobs or buttons covered by skin or velvet are not considered antlered deer.

Antlerless deer taken during the Urban Archery Season should be recorded on your Bonus Antlerless Report Cards and do not count against your statewide limit. Two antlerless deer can be taken per card and unlimited cards are available to each hunter.

Either Sex Seasons

Youth Deer Hunting Day

  • Deer of either sex may be taken by hunters under the age of 18 on this day.

Archery

  • Deer of either sex may be taken during archery deer season in all areas (includes game lands) in and east of Watauga, Wilkes, Alexander, Catawba, Cleveland, Rutherford, and Polk counties.
  • Deer of either sex may be taken during the first and second archery deer seasons in all areas (includes game lands) in and west of Henderson, Buncombe, McDowell, Burke, Caldwell and Avery counties.

Blackpowder

  • Deer of either sex may be taken on the first Saturday of the black­powder firearm deer season in and west of Henderson, Buncombe, Yancey, Mitchell and Avery counties (includes game lands).
  • Deer of either sex may be taken anytime during the blackpowder firearm deer season in areas in the maximum either-sex gun season, and in and east of Polk, Rutherford, McDowell, Burke, Caldwell, Watauga and Ashe counties (includes game lands).

Gun

  • Deer of either sex may only be taken during the gun season during those dates indicated on North Carolina’s Deer Zone Maps and Game Lands Regulations. Most gun either-sex seasons fall under one of the following four categories in North Carolina:
    • Maximum: Either-sex harvest is allowed the entire gun season.
    • Moderate: Either-sex harvest is allowed the first open day of the regular season through the second Friday thereafter.
    • Conservative: Either-sex harvest is allowed the first open day of the regular season through the first Saturday thereafter.
    • Introductory: Either-sex harvest is allowed the first open Saturday of the regular gun season.

Legal Weapons

Archery — longbows, recurves, compound bows, crossbows or slingbows are all legal for deer hunting in North Carolina. Longbows, recurves and slingbows must have a minimum pull of 40 pounds. Compound bows must have at least 35 pounds of pull, and crossbows must have at least 100. Fixed-blade and mechanical broadheads with at least a 7/8-inch cutting diameter are legal.

Blackpowder — any muzzle-loading rifle, muzzle-loading shotgun, or muzzle-loading or cylinder-loading handgun that is designed to use blackpowder, blackpowder substitute, or any other propellant loaded through the muzzle, cylinder, or breech and that cannot use fixed ammunition. There are no caliber restrictions. Archery equipment may also be used during North Carolina’s blackpowder seasons.

Guns — North Carolina is one of the few states that doesn’t place any restrictions on firearms legal for deer hunting other than the use of fully automatic rifles is unlawful. All other rifles and pistols are legal for deer hunting. It’s worth noting that during archery season, only a .22 rimfire pistol can be used to dispatch a wounded deer.

Hunter Orange Requirements

Anyone hunting deer during North Carolina’s gun season must wear hunter orange visible from all sides. That includes hunting deer with archery equipment on Sundays. and anyone hunting on Youth Deer Hunting Day, regardless of age or weapon used. Landowners, their spouses and children hunting on land held by the landowner do not have to wear hunter orange.

North Carolina Hunting News

2022-2023 North Carolina Deer Season Dates and Info

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