South Carolina Hunting
South Carolina is a hunter’s paradise, offering a diverse range of hunting opportunities for both resident and non-resident hunters. However, to ensure the sustainability of wildlife and maintain a safe hunting environment, the state has established comprehensive hunting regulations that all hunters must follow. In this article, we will explore the key hunting regulations in South Carolina, covering baiting, trespassing, bow and arrow usage, closed season hunting, hunting with dogs, drone usage, falconry hunting, open carry, and the requirements for hunting licenses, permits, and tags.
South Carolina Baiting Regulations
According to South Carolina hunting regulations, it is strictly prohibited for anyone to hunt or attempt to hunt game animals from an elevated area or trees within 300 feet of baited areas. Baited areas refer to places where food products or substances used to lure game animals have been exposed or scattered. However, farmland areas used for harvesting crops are not considered baited areas, even if they contain food products typically used to lure birds or game animals.
There is an exception to the baiting regulation when it comes to deer hunting. Hunters are allowed to take deer from trees and elevated areas within baited areas, regardless of the required distance.
Hunters must obtain permits from private landowners before hunting on their properties. Exceptions are only allowed if the hunter is the owner of the land. Additionally, hunters will be held liable for any damages to private properties while hunting on them. Landowners, on the other hand, will not be held responsible for any injuries sustained by hunters, even if they have granted permission to hunt on their property.
Prohibition for the Use of Bow and Arrows in South Carolina
South Carolina has specific regulations regarding the use of bows and arrows for hunting. It is strictly prohibited to use arrows coated with poisons or explosives for hunting. Likewise, using an edged head arrow to hunt bird games while they are in flight is not allowed. Hunting games with a bow is not permitted within an hour and 30 minutes after sunset and an hour prior to sunrise, regardless of the hunting season.
Hunting game animals with a bow and arrow from vehicles, whether in motion or not, is strictly prohibited. Moreover, hunters are not allowed to possess firearms and archery equipment while hunting in South Carolina. Finally, hunters should never transport their crossbows in a cocked position when in a vehicle.
South Carolina Closed Season Hunting
South Carolina does not have specified hunting and trapping seasons for certain games in the state. The games on this list include bobcats, sandhill cranes, grouse, mourning doves, and fishers. It is essential for hunters to be aware of the closed seasons to avoid any legal issues and contribute to wildlife conservation.
South Carolina Hunting Dog Regulations
Hunters must ensure their hunting dogs do not run at large while hunting. During daylight, hunters are allowed to train their dogs without the use of firearms. However, training hunting dogs during South Carolina hunting seasons is strictly prohibited.
Exceptions are allowed for training opossum and raccoon hunting dogs during specific periods of the year, such as between September 1st and October 1st and between March 1st and May 1st. Training hours during these periods should be between an hour after sunset and an hour prior to sunrise.
Hunting dogs must not be used to take or pursue games like deer and black bears. It is also prohibited to track wounded games with dogs. Certified dog handlers with a valid permit are the only ones allowed to use dogs for tracking and recovering wounded games during the specified hunting season.
Drones and Unmanned Aircraft Regulations
Using drones or any remotely controlled unmanned aircraft to hunt, trap, track, harass, recover, or scout wildlife and game animals is strictly prohibited in South Carolina. However, there are exceptions if the usage is approved by the relevant authority.
Falconry Hunting Regulations
Hunting with raptors (birds of prey) in South Carolina requires a Falconry permit or a state hunting license. Individuals under the age of 14 are not allowed to hunt any game with the use of raptors. Additionally, hunting migratory game birds with raptors on Sundays is prohibited.
Only hunters who pass the required examination and can demonstrate proper facilities for keeping raptors will be issued a falconry permit. Apprentice or beginning falconers can only be sponsored by experienced falconers.
It is also prohibited to possess firearms during the hunting of raptors in South Carolina.
Open Carry While Hunting
Hunters are allowed to open carry while hunting in South Carolina, except during archery season. During the archery season, open carry or possession of firearms is not permitted.
South Carolina Hunting Licenses, Permits, and Tags
To hunt in South Carolina, hunters need to obtain appropriate licenses, permits, and tags based on their residency, age, and the type of game they wish to hunt. Various hunting licenses are available, including firearm licenses, bow and arrow licenses, and youth licenses.
For firearm hunting, residents between the ages of 16 and 64 require a Resident Firearm Hunting License, while apprentice hunters between the ages of 18 and 64 can obtain an Apprentice Firearm License. Senior residents aged 65 or older are eligible for a Senior Resident Firearm Hunting License, and the same applies to apprentice senior residents for the Apprentice Senior Residents Firearm License. Non-resident hunters can purchase a Non-Resident Firearm Hunting License.
Similar categories apply for bow and arrow hunting licenses, and youth licenses are available for young hunters aged 10 to 15 years.
Additionally, specific permits are required for hunting deer, turkey, and other game animals. Permits, tags, and stamps may be required for certain games, so hunters must ensure they have the necessary documentation before going on a hunting trip.
South Carolina Hunting Seasons
Hunting seasons in South Carolina vary for different games and the type of hunting weapon required. Deer hunting, for example, has specific archery and firearms seasons. Turkey hunting also has separate seasons based on hunting zones.
Other games such as quail, rabbit, squirrel, fox, and pheasant have their respective hunting seasons, and hunters are advised to review the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website for specific dates and regulations.
South Carolina Wildlife, Games, and Fishes
South Carolina offers a rich variety of wildlife and games for hunters. Turkey and deer are popular big game targets, while rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, and coyote are among the common small game animals hunted in the state.
Hunters should also be aware of the different shooting ranges available for practice and recreational shooting.
South Carolina Shooting Ranges
South Carolina boasts several shooting ranges open to the public. These ranges provide opportunities for hunters and enthusiasts to practice and refine their shooting skills in a safe environment. Some of the popular shooting ranges in South Carolina include Outdoor Adventure Center, Rapid City Trap Club, Ghost Town Sporting Clays, and Hunt Pointe Shooting Club, among others.
South Carolina Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease
For those interested in owning or leasing hunting lands in South Carolina, several options are available. From large hunting properties for sale to smaller tracts for lease, hunters can find various opportunities to fulfill their passion for hunting in the state.
South Carolina offers an abundance of hunting opportunities for both residents and non-residents. However, to ensure the preservation of wildlife and maintain a safe hunting environment, hunters must adhere to the state’s hunting regulations. Understanding the rules surrounding baiting, trespassing, bow and arrow usage, closed season hunting, hunting with dogs, drone usage, falconry hunting, open carry, and licensing requirements is crucial for every hunter.
Can I hunt within 300 feet of a baited area in South Carolina?
No, it is strictly prohibited to hunt or attempt to hunt game animals from an elevated area or trees within 300 feet of baited areas in South Carolina.
Are hunting dogs allowed in South Carolina? Yes, hunting dogs are allowed in South Carolina, but they must not run at large while hunting.
Do I need a permit to hunt on private lands in South Carolina? Yes, hunters must obtain permits from private landowners before hunting on their properties.
What are the age requirements for different hunting licenses in South Carolina? The age requirements for different hunting licenses vary based on the type of license and the hunter’s residency.
Can I use drones for hunting in South Carolina? No, using drones or any remotely controlled unmanned aircraft for hunting purposes is strictly prohibited, except if approved by the relevant authority.