New S.C. deer hunting regulations to take effect this year

New S.C. deer hunting regulations to take effect this year
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - South Carolina deer hunters should start seeing deer tags for the 2019 season in their mailboxes soon, and there are significant changes to the antlerless tagging system that all hunters need to be aware of before taking to the field.

According to a press release from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, new for this year are improvements to the Antlerless Deer Tag program. A new law was passed by the General Assembly that eliminated the eight-date specific anterless tags, replacing them with two anterless tags that may be used on any day beginning Sept. 15 in game zones 2, 3, and 4, and Oct. 1 in game zone 1.

"Hunters in the past were limited by specific days to harvest antlerless deer," said Jay Cantrell, SCDNR big game biologist, in a statement. "This improvement gives people more opportunity and the flexibility to harvest deer when it is convenient for them. SCDNR and numerous legislators had heard from hunters over the last two years that were limited by tags that were only valid on certain Saturdays. A lot of folks have to work on Saturdays or have athletic events, family obligations and other constraints that limited their ability to hunt on Saturday. Throw in some weekends of bad weather or bad luck and opportunity was severely limited for the date specific tags.”

Harvest statistics show that 92% of S.C. hunters harvest two or fewer antlerless deer each season, the release stated.

For hunters who want additional opportunity to take antlerless deer, they are still able to purchase up to four optional antlerless tags for $5 each or participate in the property-based Deer Quota Program.

Residents that currently have an active annual or three-year hunting license and big game permit, combination license or sportsman license that will be valid when deer season begins on Aug. 15 should automatically receive a base set of deer tags at no cost.

Hunters are being asked to wait until at least Aug. 1 before inquiring about the status of their tags, the release stated.

License holders unsure about the status/expiration date of their hunting license, big game permit, or other SCDNR hunting privileges can click here to check a license status or to see when or if deer tags have been fulfilled.

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