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#06-208 August 7, 2006

New public hunting opportunities available in low country

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is providing additional opportunities for hunters heading into the field in pursuit of white-tailed deer, feral hogs and other game.

Hamilton Ridge Wildlife Management Area will open to the public this fall. The 13,281-acre Wildlife Management Area is located in southwestern Hampton County, along the Savannah River near the town of Garnett, and adjacent to the Webb Wildlife Center and Palachucola Wildlife Management Area.

Deer hunts with firearms will be offered by drawing only.  Applications for the drawing are currently available and the deadline to apply is September 1.  Interested hunters can contact the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Columbia at (803) 734-3886 or the Webb Wildlife Center at (803) 625-3569 to receive an application, for rules and regulations and more information.

Five gun hunts will occur from October through December.  The hunts begin on Thursday afternoons and continue through Saturday evenings.  A $25 fee (refundable if not drawn) is required along with the application and 45 hunters will be selected for each hunt period.  Selected hunters will be allowed to hunt anywhere on the property.  Stands will not be provided.

Additional opportunities will be available to hunters pursuing deer with archery equipment or muzzle- loading rifles.  No application is required, but hunters must sign-in and check-out any harvested game. Over two weeks of archery season and a one-week muzzleloader hunt are scheduled.

Hunters are required to have a state hunting license, big-game permit and Wildlife Management Area permit in order to participate in the deer hunts.  The Wildlife Management Area has quality deer management regulations, with antler restrictions requiring a minimum of 4 points on a side or a minimum 12-inch antler spread for legal harvest of bucks. Does will be legal for harvest also, with bag limits varying dependent on the hunting method.  Feral hogs may be taken on all deer hunts.  Additional hog hunting opportunities will be available in March and May with turkey hunts open during April. As with all Wildlife Management Areas, no hunting is allowed on Sundays.

Hunting for raccoons, gray squirrels, rabbits, and other small game and furbearers will be available beginning December 26 and will run until March 1, with Game Zone 11 seasons and limits applying (no quail or fox squirrel hunting will be allowed at this time).  The public will be able to access the property beginning October 1 for fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing; however, these and other recreational opportunities will be prohibited during deer hunts.  The DNR reminds hunters and other users that ATVs and horses are not allowed on the Wildlife Management Area.

Hamilton Ridge WMA deer hunt schedule, 3 Buck limit per year, regardless of method:

Hamilton Ridge WMA hog hunt schedule, no bag limit:

Hamilton Ridge WMA small game schedule:

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