Last Updated on July 14, 2022 by Brian Grossman
Making plans for North Carolina’s 2022-2023 deer season? You’ve come to the right place! Here are the season dates for archery, primitive weapons and firearms, as well as the general rules and regulations you need to know for the upcoming season.
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.
2022-2023 Deer Season Dates
Northeastern and Southeastern Deer Zone
September 10 — September 30, 2022
October 1 — October 14, 2022
October 15, 2022 — January 2, 2023
Central Deer Zone
September 10 — October 28, 2022
October 29 — November 11, 2022
November 12, 2022 — January 2, 2023
Northwestern Deer Zone
September 10 — November 4, 2022
November 5 — November 18, 2022
November 19, 2022 — January 2, 2023
Western Deer Zone
September 10 — October 2, 2022; October 16 — November 20, 2022; December 11, 2022 — January 2, 2023 (antlered deer only)
October 3 — October 15, 2022
November 21 — December 10, 2022
Gun Either-Sex Deer Seasons
November 26, 2022
Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania counties.
November 21 – November 26, 2022
Avery, Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Mitchell, and Yancey counties.
November 19 – December 2, 2022
Cleveland, Polk, and Rutherford counties.
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.
Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties.
Urban Archery Deer Season
January 14 — February 19, 2023
Open in participating cities only- refer to the NCWRC website for a list and contact information.
Youth Deer Hunting Day
ANY LEGAL WEAPON:
September 24, 2022
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.