Numerous opportunities are available along the coast for the archer looking to harvest a deer this fall.
According to Sam Chappelear, regional wildlife coordinator at Fort Johnson on James Island, bowhunters will have ample opportunity to hunt about 383,000 acres that are in the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) program in Horry, Georgetown, Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties.
Along the upper half of the coast in Horry County, Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve WMA, Waccamaw River Heritage Preserve WMA, and Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve River Complex have a combined total of 24,966 acres that include an archery only season in September and/or October. Santee Coastal Reserve containing 7,500 acres is located in McClellanville and offers archery-only deer hunting on the mainland during the month of November. All of these locations offer an excellent opportunity to harvest hogs as well.
Hunters who hunt the Francis Marion National Forest can exclusively archery hunt the Hellhole WMA from Aug. 15 through Sept 30. On the Sewee Special Use Area, located in the Wambaw WMA, only archers may hunt deer throughout the entire specified season, which lasts four months. Bowhunting-only opportunities exist on the Waterhorn WMA in September and October, and this area also offers the opportunity to harvest hogs. Bowhunting may also be conducted any time deer hunting is allowed (except on days scheduled for deer hunting with dogs) on any of the WMAs within the Francis Marion National Forest.
Bonneau Ferry WMA, located off of SC 402 in Berkeley County, is open for archery hunting, (Side B of the property), during specified dates in September with another archery only season scheduled in November. Archers may not enter the area prior to one hour before legal sunrise, and scouting may be done on days when a hunt is not scheduled. All pertinent regulations are located at the entrances to the property.
The Edisto River WMA in Dorchester County (1,375 acres) is available for archery hunting during selected days in September. In Colleton County, archery hunts are scheduled on Bear Island, and are scattered throughout the months of October, November and December on the 8,048-acre Donnelley WMA. Opportunities also exist in Hampton and Jasper counties on Palachucola WMA (6,757 acres) and Tillman Sand Ridge Heritage Preserve WMA (1,422 acres). The newly acquired Hamilton Ridge tract (13,281 acres) in Hampton County also offers some archery only hunts during the months of October, November and December.
Exclusive archery-only areas exist on numerous WMAs throughout the entire region. Cartwheel Bay Heritage Preserve WMA (568 acres), in Horry County allows archery hunting only as does Sandy Island WMA (9,165 acres) located in Georgetown County. Other opportunities in Georgetown County for archers to harvest deer and hogs exist on Samworth WMA (impoundments only) and Santee Delta WMA. The Hall WMA (1,900 acres), Hatchery WMA (islands in the Hatchery itself), and Porcher WMA (1,126 acres), are archery-only for the entire deer season. These areas are located along the Lake Moultrie shoreline, the Diversion Canal and include some of the nearby islands located in Lake Marion. Another archery only area is Dungannon WMA (643 acres), located in Charleston County off SC 162.
Exclusive archery hunting is provided in Colleton and Beaufort counties with hunts on Otter, Ashe, Beet, Warren, Big, and South Williman Islands on the St. Helena Sound Heritage Preserve WMA along with hunts on Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve WMA (1,111 acres). Many other areas also offer bowhunting opportunities in conjunction with various gun seasons. Bowhunting may also be conducted on any of the above listed areas as well as other WMAs during specified gun hunts unless otherwise stated. All WMA regulations apply. Specific season dates and bag limits for these WMAs can be found in the 2006-2007 Rules and Regulations booklet, and is accessible online at www.dnr.sc.gov/regulations.html.