Turkey Season in North Carolina – Rules and Regulations

March 16, 2021 – Published by Robinson Law Firm

The 2021 North Carolina regular turkey hunting season opens on April 10th and ends May 8th. The regular season is preceded by a “Youth-only” season from April 3rd through April 9th. Youth is defined as any hunter under the age of 18. Before hunting turkey in North Carolina, make sure you are properly licensed and are familiar with the rules and regulations for hunting, taking and reporting your harvest. Here are the basic rules and regulations if you plan to hunt turkeys in North Carolina.


Each hunter must have a Big Game Harvest Report Card in addition to a North Carolina hunting license. A youth hunter hunting with a parent who owns the land or leases the land for agricultural purposes is not required to have a hunting license but is still required to obtain a license exempt Big Game Harvest Report Card. Youth hunters under the age of 16 are not required to have a hunting license. A youth hunter under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult unless he/she has completed an approved hunter safety course and obtained a “Certificate of Competency.”


Hunters may harvest only male or bearded turkeys. The season limit is two turkeys per hunter and a one turkey daily limit. Hunting times are 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Turkeys may not be taken with the use of dogs or with a pistol or rifle.


Turkeys may not be taken with the aid or use of bait (e.g., corn, bird seed, etc…) or within 300 yards or any area where bait has been placed. An area is considered “baited” for ten days after the bait has been entirely consumed or removed.  Artificial decoys, both male and female, may be used to take turkeys as well as manual calls (e.g., mouth calls, box calls, pot calls…).


Once you harvest your turkey, you should validate your harvest by notching/cutting out the day/month on your Big Game Harvest Report Card. This should be done before you move the turkey from the area of harvest. Thereafter, you should register your harvest with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission by calling 1-800-I-GOT-ONE. This should be done before noon of the next day.


The violation of any of these laws can result in criminal charges, court costs, fines, and replacement costs for the turkey harvested ($1617.00), and the seizure and forfeiture of your firearm and any conveyance used in the process of taking or attempting to take the turkey.


If you have any questions about the laws for legally harvesting a turkey or any other North Carolina hunting laws, or if you have been charged with a hunting violation, contact The Robinson Law Firm immediately. We have represented hundreds of individuals charged with hunting violations and are also life-long hunters. We have the knowledge and experience to protect your rights when you are charged with a hunting violation.


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