The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open the statewide wild turkey season April 11 through May 9, preceded by a youth-only turkey season from April 4 -10.
The daily limit is one turkey, and the possession and season limit is two turkeys per hunter, only one of which may be taken during youth season.
During youth season, hunting is only allowed for those younger than 18 years of age, but hunters age 16 and 17 must be properly licensed. Those under the age of 16 are exempt from license requirements provided they are accompanied by a licensed adult at least 18 years of age. If youth are properly licensed or have successfully obtained a hunter education certificate, they may hunt without the supervision of an adult.
Based on the ongoing and rapidly evolving situation concerning the recent outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Commission’s hunter education classes have been canceled through April 30. Any potential hunter who needs to complete the hunter education certification can take one of the three online hunter education courses (with varying fees) that provide a convenient alternative to the classroom course.
The Commission has moved to temporarily waive the field day requirement for online courses, so once the online course is completed, a hunter education card can be printed in order to purchase a North Carolina hunting license. More information about online courses can be found at ncwildlife.org/huntered.
The Commission’s “Home from the Hunt” campaign offers these safety tips for turkey hunters:
• All bait must be consumed or removed for 10 days before that area can be legally hunted.
• Avoid wearing tom turkey-related colors, specifically red, white, blue or black.
• Stalking a turkey is dangerous, as it increases your chances of being mistaken for game.
• If another hunter approaches, alert them in a loud, clear voice to ensure they are aware of your location.
• Whenever walking through the woods, make sure your decoy or harvested turkey is either not visible or wrapped in blaze orange to avoid misidentification.
• Report any turkey harvested using the Big Game Harvest Report Card. License-exempt youths should report their harvest using a Big Game Harvest Report Card for License-Exempt Hunters.
• Remember that pistols, rifles or black powder rifles, dogs and electronic or recorded calls are prohibited from use during turkey season.
• Remember the importance of firearm safety: Treat all firearms as if they are loaded; keep your firearm muzzle pointed in a safe direction, never toward a person; never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot; and positively identify your target and what is behind it before pulling the trigger.
Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity such as poaching or baiting may be eligible to receive a reward (up to $1,000) by reporting information that leads to a conviction to the Turn-In-Poachers program. For information on eligible violations and to learn how to submit a tip, visit ncwildlife.org/wildtip.
For regulations and restrictions on turkey hunting, including information on youth season, do a web search on 2019-2020 Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest.