With three major sounds, a half-dozen big rivers, hundreds of feeder creeks and small streams — all located along the Atlantic Flyway —  coastal game lands dominate public-land waterfowl hunting in North Carolina.

Recognizing the attraction of ducks, geese and swans to the area, the Commission has carved out many game lands, purchased properties and built dozens of impoundments.

Chris Kent, a Commission biologist, said the J. Morgan Futch Game Land, which spreads across 600 Tyrrell County acres north of the Little Alligator River, is a top public-hunting area for waterfowl. Hunters must apply for $5 permits by Sept. 1 for early-season hunts and Oct. 1 for late-season hunts.

“Futch has 15 impoundments and 21 blinds,” Kent said, “including one for a disabled person and companion.”

Teal, ringnecks, mallards, some wood ducks, widgeon and a few pintails offer regular flyovers.

Goose Creek in Beaufort County features 13 impoundments off Goose Creek and four at Pamlico Point’s Bear Island. Permits are needed for all Goose Creek impoundments. Application deadlines are the same: Sept. 1 for early season hunts and Oct. 1 for late-season hunts. The Roanoke River Game Land offers early- and late-season permit hunts for four areas. 

Kent said that Lantern Acres, which covers 1,825 acres in Tyrrell County adjacent to Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is “coming on strong as a waterfowl game land. 

“Lantern Acres (Tyrrell County, 1825 acres next to Pocosin Lakes NWR) is coming on strong as a waterfowl game land,” Kent said.

The Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge has 16 blinds near the lake’s southern shoreline available for permit hunts. Application date for blinds is Oct. 1. Hunters who are drawn may bring up to two buddies. The application fee is $5, but a $15 per hunter fee is required the morning of the hunt at 5 o’clock. If permit-holders don’t show up, hunters standing by may be chosen for those blinds.