Among the countless activities one can partake in while in Currituck County, North Carolina, hunting near the Currituck Sound has been popular with locals and visitors alike for many years. Currituck Sound was connected directly to the Atlantic Ocean until the early 1800s by one or more inlets through the Outer Banks. Shifting sands eventually closed the inlets, changing the Sound from a high-salinity estuarine environment to a low-salinity estuarine environment. The marshes and waters of Currituck sound became well known for prime water hunting grounds.
Since the early 1800s, the Currituck Sound is on the migration path for ducks, Canada geese, and other water birds. The village of Duck in Currituck County was named for the large numbers of waterfowl that once made their home in the area. Currituck Sound, which borders the Outer Banks from Kitty Hawk north to the Virginia Line, was once the most bountiful and popular waterfowl hunting destinations in the country. Historians noted that the fresh water of the Currituck Sound attracted so many water birds that when they lifted in flight, they would actually block out the sun.
In the late nineteenth century, northern businessmen began buying tracts of land in the marshes and the small islands to construct hunt clubs. The most famous of these is the Currituck Club in Corolla. In the winter months, hunters would arrive from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Local residents would serve as caretakers, servants and guides, providing them with much needed income.
For over 75 years, Currituck’s waters were hunted until the bird population was nearly decimated. Stringent wildlife protection laws closed the hunt clubs and the population of waterfowl has steadily increased.
Before hunting for duck or other waterfowl, a few of rules and regulations must be followed:
• Public waterfowl hunting is allowed by permit only from designated sites in the Wildlife Refuge. A North Carolina Waterfowl Hunt Permit or a Refuge Hunt permit, a valid hunting license, State and Federal waterfowl stamps must be carried when hunting.
• Youth hunters (under the age of 16) may participate in any hunt provided they have passed the State-approved hunter safety course and are accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years old.
• November to January is state waterfowl season. Mid-January through March is snow geese only season. Hunting is only allowed on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
• All hunters are subject to inspections of permits, licenses, bag limits, hunting equipment, boats, vehicles and their contents during compliance checks.
• Possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited while hunting.
• Taking any wildlife or plants away from the designated hunting areas is prohibited
• Use of an un-permitted guide is prohibited.
• Littering is prohibited. If you pack it in, pack it out.