S.C. officials want opinions on Sunday hunting on public land


Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2021 6:00 am

COLUMBIA (AP) – South Carolina is asking for public input on whether state leased Wildlife Management Areas should be open for hunting on Sundays.

The Department of Natural Resources has an online survey up until July 28 as well as four public hearings planned across the state during the next two weeks.

The 1.2 million acres of public land in South Carolina is also used for fishing, hiking, bird watching and other ways to observe nature.

Hunters can use the public land during season, but state law only allows hunting on Sunday on private land.

The first of four public hearings on the hunting changes is today at the Clemson Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence. There is a meeting Thursday at the Clinton National Guard Armory on July 19 at the Santee Cooper Auditorium in Moncks Corner and July 26 at a site that hasn’t been determined in Columbia.

Deer hunters can get free lifetime hunting license by trapping coyotes


Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2021 5:00 pm


The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is asking deer hunters to help save the state’s deer population by helping to control a growing coyote population.
According to DNR, coyotes first appeared in SC about 30 years ago and continue to expand greatly in numbers. Coyotes are negatively impacting our official State Animal, the White-tailed deer, by preying heavily on deer fawns.
Since 2002, DNR officials report that South Carolina’s deer population has declined by more than 30 percent. “While our deer population is still healthy, we do not want to see it decline further,” according to information provided by SCDNR.
To help with this problem, deer hunters are asked to trap coyotes.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has a Coyote Harvest Incentive Program. This was created in 2016 and is meant to be a coyote tagging and reward program.
Here’s how it works: the S.C. DNR traps, tags and releases four coyotes per game zone. Anyone who successfully takes and reports a tagged coyote will be rewarded with a free lifetime hunting license.
The person reporting the tagged coyote has the option to designate anyone for the lifetime license, such as a child, relative or friend, as stated by SCDNR in its program information.
In the last three years, 64 coyotes have been tagged and released. An additional 16 were tagged in 2020.
The trapping and harvest programs seem to be working in South Carolina.
According to statistics provided by the S.C. DNR, coyote populations have declined by 25 percent since 2014.

Coyote Facts
Average adult coyote is 35 pounds, but can exceed 50 pounds.
Coyotes are mostly grayish-brown to reddish-tan; nearly all black is not uncommon.
Coyotes reproduce in late winter, have a 63-day gestation period, and produce 5-7 pups per litter.
Expanding coyote populations are likely to impact local deer and small game. However, overtime coyote populations are expected to stabilize allowing deer, turkey and small game to still exist in healthy numbers in South Carolina, said DNR.

Where did coyotes come from?
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has never imported and released coyotes into the state for any reason, including deer management.
Coyotes first appeared in the upstate in 1978, they are now present in all counties of South Carolina.
Coyotes were illegally imported into South Carolina for hound running.
Eastern migration of coyotes has also resulted in natural expansion of the species in South Carolina.

Turkey hunters in SC required to use electronic harvest reporting system

The South Carolina turkey hunting season opens March 22 on private lands in Game Zones 3 and 4. Jay Cantrell/SCDNR/Provided

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Opening day for the 2021 turkey hunting season is just around the corner and there’s one major change from a year ago for the approximately 50,000 hunters who target gobblers in South Carolina.

The season structure and bag limits remain the same, but this year electronic reporting will be mandatory through SC Game Check.

“This was actually part of the season legislation that was passed in 2019 and went into effect last year. The harvest reporting part had a one-year implementation and we’re there now,” said Charles Ruth, Big Game Coordinator for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

SC Game Check is in the process of being rolled out now and turkey hunters will receive information on methods for reporting harvested turkeys when they receive their hunting tags.

SC striving to make waterways safer with boater education course


SC striving to make waterways safer with boater education course

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“There will be three ways to report,” Ruth said. “Shortly, they will be able to download a free mobile app. It’s really slick. Once people download and set up their profile it won’t take 20 seconds to report a turkey. There will be a web-based reporting system on our website (dnr.sc.gov) that’s very simple. And there also will be a toll-free number you can call, although we’re trying to steer people away from that. It’s a key punch thing and you have to enter your customer ID by keypad, pick your county of harvest. It’s a typical phone key punch entry.”

The seasonal bag limit for residents remains at three birds, no more than one per day, and hunters are limited to just one turkey during the first 10 days of the season. Non-resident hunters will be limited to two birds. State residents are required to purchase a set of three tags for $5 while the two tags for non-residents are $100. Ruth said hunters who are eligible for free tags — youth hunters, lifetime license holders and senior license holders — will receive their tags if they requested them last year. If they did not request the tags then they need to do so before hunting this year.

The 40-day season on private lands in Game Zones 3 and 4, which includes most of the lower part of the state including Charleston, is March 22-April 30. The season on Game Zones 1 and 2 is April 1-May 10. Statewide season on Wildlife Management Areas is April 1-April 30. Check Wildlife Management Areas for specific hunting dates on these properties.

Ruth said the 2020 turkey harvest was down about 19 percent compared to 2019, continuing a downward harvest trend.

“There are so many factors that I’m reluctant to point to any one,” Ruth said. “We had a completely new season structure. We had for the first time a limitation of one turkey for the first 10 days of the season. That was clearly an effort to reduce early harvest of these adult birds as relates to potential implications with breeding activity. And then you pile COVID on top of that.”

Ruth said there was a slight increase in hunter effort in South Carolina as well as other turkey hunting states in the region.

Fishing is 'good' on Santee Cooper lakes. Here's what's biting and how to catch them.


Fishing is ‘good’ on Santee Cooper lakes. Here’s what’s biting and how to catch them.

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“(Turkey season) is when the shutdown was going on big time,” Ruth said. “People had a lot more free time. We saw some increase but not a lot.”

Ruth said this year’s heavy rainfall should not affect South Carolina’s turkeys because they are adults. He did say abnormal rain events in May and June, during the nesting and brood-rearing season, would be of concern.

“But that’s a long way. We may be in a drought by then,” Ruth said. “Typically, a lot of rain in late spring, early summer is not good for turkey reproduction.”

SCDNR investigate after someone shot during hunting incident near Hartsville


by Tonya BrownThursday, December 24th 2020AA

SCDNR investigating hunting accident near Hartsville (Photo provided by ABC15 viewer)

SCDNR investigating hunting accident near Hartsville (Photo provided by ABC15 viewer)

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South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is investigating an early Thursday morning hunting accident that involved a shooting in Darlington County, according to Captain Ben Byers with DNR.

Byers said it happened on Hartsville Highway and it involved two people who were duck hunting together.

He added one of them accidentally shot the other.

No word on the person’s injury.

More information could be released later Thursday evening or as the investigation develops.

SC’s alligator hunting season off to a busy start

Volume 90%
With the 2020 Alligator Hunting Season in full swing, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource reported a record 7,172 hunters applied for the hunting permit over the summer. (WCIV)
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — With the 2020 Alligator Hunting Season in full swing, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource reported a record 7,172 hunters applied for the hunting permit over the summer. Only 1,000 permits are given out through a lottery system.

The season started on September 12th and runs until October 10th. Already in the first week, a 12-foot, 500-pound gator was caught at Lake Moultrie.

“Normally, we get a handful of 12-footers and maybe one or two 13-footers, and that’s one of the things we look at to gauge what’s going, because we don’t want to remove the big alligators,” explained Jay Butfiloski, Furbearer and Alligator Program Coordinator for SCDNR.

Alligators must be captured before a hunter can kill the animal and only one gator is allowed per permit. Meanwhile, only alligators four-feet or greater in length may be taken by a hunter and the animal must be tagged immediately with a harvest tag provided by SCDNR.

“It helps to reinforce alligators to be fearful of people. When we started this, we were sending a lot of our contracted agents to deal with nuisance alligator issues because they were getting comfortable with people, and as a lot of alligator hunters can profess right now, it’s really hard to get around one of them,” said Butfiloski.

The main threat to these reptiles today is habitat loss caused by wetland drainage and development. A cause in the increase in human-alligator interactions, with multiple fatal encounters.

“Those tend to happen, a lot of cases, around people’s homes who live in areas that have alligators and sometimes it is just a misidentification. Maybe a dog is by the water that they confuse as prey, but alligator attacks in our state are rare,” stated Butfiloski, “A lot of that can be attributed to increasing population, especially the coastal developments that we’re having. A lot of development where alligators’ habitat happens to be.”

You can learn more about the season and how to apply for a permit for the 2021 season on the SCDNR’s website.

Goose Creek man killed in hunting accident in Beaufort County, coroner’s office says


A Goose Creek man was killed on St. Helena Island on Saturday afternoon in a hunting accident, according to the Beaufort County Coroner’s Office.

Jay Allen Howard, 42, of Goose Creek, S.C. was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot in the chest by a member of his hunting group, according to Chief Deputy Coroner David Ott.

Ott said the group was in an open field behind Shiney Road on St. Helena Island after 4 p.m. Saturday.

Howard was walking back from his truck to the group when a deer jumped out between them. A hunter shot at the deer, striking Howard in the chest, according to Ott.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and S.C. Department of Natural Resources r

An autopsy was performed on Sunday, Ott said.

SCDNR is leading the investigation into the shooting, according to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Bob Bromage.

All the hunters were wearing orange safety vests, Ott said.

Man charged after Colleton Co. hunting accident that left father, daughter dead

Sean Peterson (Photo: Colleton County Sheriffs Office via VINELINK)

Months after a hunting accident killed a father and daughter, Colleton County officials have made an arrest.

Authorities said Sean M. Peterson was charged with two counts of negligent use of a firearm.

9-year-old Lauren Drawdy and her father, Kim, were fatally shot during the incident back in January.

Kim and Lauren Drawdy, father and daughter killed in Colleton County hunting accident. (Provided)

A coroner ruled the deaths accidental.

Colleton County officials added that they are confident that justice will be served in this case.

SC hunter charged with accidentally killing father and daughter, mistaking them for deer

Deer hunting season (copy)
File/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Provided

Months after a Colleton County man and his 9-year-old daughter were killed in a hunting accident, authorities have filed charges against the fellow hunter they say mistook them for deer and opened fire.

Sean Peterson, a 30-year-old Colleton County resident, faces two counts of negligent use of a firearm while engaged in hunting that resulted in death. If convicted of the misdemeanor, he faces up to three years in prison for each count.

Investigators with the state Department of Natural Resources said the three hunters were trying to drive deer near Walterboro on New Year’s Day.

Thirty-year-old Kim Drawdy and his daughter Lauren were taking advantage of the last day of deer season when Peterson saw movement and opened fire, thinking the father and daughter were deer, DNR spokesman Robert McCullough said.

Lauren was a fourth-grade student at Cottageville Elementary School, and her father graduated from Walterboro High School. His Facebook page showed the pair bonded over hunting.

South Carolina has a few hunting accidents each year, though most people recover. In 2019, two people died in hunting accidents involving firearms, according to DNR spokesman David Lucas.

32,000 Bird Flu Victims to Get Billboard Tribute

Flock Killed Because of Deadly Outbreak; PETA Says, Let’s Prevent Pandemics and Save Animals’ Lives by Going Vegan

For Immediate Release:
April 16, 2020

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Chesterfield County, S.C. – Because 32,000 turkeys were killed at a local farm after an outbreak of deadly bird flu sickened them and endangered workers, PETA is set to place a billboard nearby that proclaims, “See the Individual. Go Vegan.

“Any place that crams stressed animals together in their own waste—which all factory farms do—creates breeding grounds for disease,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA’s message is that we can avoid deadly diseases and save gentle birds’ lives by choosing to eat vegan foods, including those that taste just like turkey but don’t cause anyone harm.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens.

In addition to helping prevent potential pandemics, everyone who goes vegan spares nearly 200 animals a year daily suffering and a terrifying death. In slaughterhouses, turkeys are hung by their feet from metal shackles and dragged through an electrified bath, and they’re often still conscious when their throats are slit and they’re dumped into scalding-hot water to remove their feathers.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

Turkey hunting ‘perfect’ social distancing outdoors activity in South Carolina

Turkey hunters on public lands in South Carolina are  prohibited from fanning or reaping. Provided

Compared to many other pursuits, turkey hunting may be the perfect outlet for outdoors enthusiasts who are paying attention to the current social distancing guidelines. While approximately 50,000 people hunt turkeys in South Carolina, it’s mostly a solitary pursuit.

Although Lowcountry hunters with access to private lands have been taking advantage of the state’s turkey hunting season since March 22, the rest of the state and those who don’t have access to private hunting property can join in this week.

The season opened on private lands in Game Zones 3 and 4 (basically the lower portion of the state) on March 22 and remains open there until April 30. The rest of the state opens April 1 on private lands, with the season extending until May 10 in Game Zones 1 and 2. The season on Wildlife Management Areas statewide is April 1-May 5.

South Carolina’s turkey hunting season opens April 1 on public lands. Jay Cantrell/SCDNR

There are some changes hunters should be aware of and Charles Ruth, big game coordinator for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, urges hunters to visit the department’s website (dnr.sc.gov) and familiarize themselves with the turkey hunting regulations and any changes that may take place.

Wildlife Management Areas remain open, but lottery hunts on the state’s Wildlife Management Areas have been canceled. Those who have been drawn to participate in the lottery hunts generally gather at a designated site on the WMA property for instructions, but large gatherings are not a good idea in light of the current coronavirus situation.

The limit for resident hunters is three birds while the limit for non-resident hunters is two birds. But there has been a reduction in the daily bag limit to one bird per day, and hunters can take only one gobbler during the first 10 days of the season.

“If a hunter has already bagged a bird, they cannot bag another until April .The hunter can take another hunter, but he cannot have his shotgun and actively try to harvest a bird. He can guide or call for someone else,” Ruth said.

“That was something the legislature did to try and moderate some of the excessive early harvest of these mature toms as it relates to breeding and nesting.”

For the first time there is a fee for tags, with resident hunters obtaining three tags for $5 while non-residents will pay $100 for two tags.

This year there’s also a new regulation prohibiting the practice of fanning, or reaping, on public lands.

“It’s a technique that’s gained some popularity in the last six to eight 8 years,” Ruth said, explaining that’s it’s a popular method of hunting in the Midwest. “You take a turkey tail fan or … some folks use a large picture of a tail fan and either attach it to their gun or hold it on a stick out in front of them and stalk a turkey. In a typical scenario, the bird is out in the field and the hunter hides behind the tail fan and crawls or stalks the bird. It apparently works very well. The birds see that fan and either lock down, or run right at the hunter.

“The reason we have that prohibition on public land is purely a safety issue. There have been a couple of fatalities nationwide related to that. But it does not apply to private property.”