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November 16, 2007

Late-season migratory bird season opens soon

The 2007-2008 late migratory bird seasons will soon be getting underway after approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some noted changes are differences in dates for State Youth Waterfowl Day and Federal Youth Waterfowl Days. The State days are Dec. 8, with Federal days set Feb. 2-3, 2008. Hunters should be aware that the age limitations for the youth and accompanying adult and the licensing and waterfowl stamp requirements for the adult differ between the State and Federal youth days.

The lack of water in some locations due to drought could lead to an alternate distribution of ducks and other waterfowl this season. "It's possible that coastal wetland complexes managed by tidal flooding could see more ducks this season, as opposed to areas that are left dry by the drought," said S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologist Dean Harrigal. "Also, inland areas with adequate food and water could see good waterfowl populations this year. In short, waterfowl will inhabit areas with adequate water and food supplies. Ducks follow the food and water."

Sandy Beach Waterfowl Management Area (WMA) will not be hunted this season. Hickory Top Greentree Reservoir WMA will not be flooded this season, and the only hunting opportunity will be in the permanently flooded portions of Cane’s Branch.

Copies of the regulations booklet and migratory bird brochure are available by writing to PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202; or by calling (803) 734-3886 in Columbia.

DUCKS (Excluding Sea Ducks)—Open Dates (All Dates Inclusive): Nov. 21-25; Dec. 14-Jan. 27 - Hunting hours: 1/2 Hour before sunrise until sunset - Bag limit: 6 total, including no more than 4 mallards (1 hen), 2 scaup, 1 pintail, 2 canvasbacks, 1 fulvous whistling duck, 1 black-bellied whistling duck, 2 wood ducks, 2 redheads and 1 black duck or 1 mottled duck. - Possession limit: 12 total, including no more than 8 mallards (2 hens), 4 scaup, 2 pintails, 4 canvasbacks, 2 fulvous whistling ducks, 2 black-bellied whistling ducks, 4 wood ducks, 4 redheads, (2 black ducks or 2 mottled ducks or 1 black duck and 1 mottled duck). -- Dec. 8, 2007 - State Youth Waterfowl Day - Only hunters 17 years of age or younger may hunt waterfowl (ducks, geese, mergansers and coots) on this day. The youth(s) must be accompanied by an adult of at least 21 years of age. The adult is not allowed to carry a gun or hunt, but must be properly licensed, including state and federal duck stamps and HIP Permit. Youth who are 16 and 17 years of age who hunt on this day are not required to be licensed or have a state waterfowl stamp but must possess a Federal Waterfowl Stamp and an HIP permit. Feb. 2-3, 2008 - Federal Youth Waterfowl Days - Only hunters 15 years of age or younger may hunt waterfowl (ducks, geese, mergansers and coots) on these days. The youth(s) must be accompanied by an adult of at least 18 years of age. The adult is not allowed to carry a gun or hunt, and does not have to be licensed. Daily and possession bag limits are the same as the regular duck season.

MERGANSERS—Open Dates (All Dates Inclusive): Nov. 21-25; Dec. 14-Jan. 27 - Hunting hours: 1/2 Hour before sunrise until sunset - Bag limit: 5 (not to include more than 1 Hooded Merganser) - Possession limit: 10 (not to include more than 2 Hooded Mergansers)

SEA DUCKS—Open Dates (All Dates Inclusive): Oct. 13-Jan. 27 - Hunting hours: 1/2 Hour before sunrise until sunset - Bag limit: 7 (Not to include more than 4 scoters) - Possession limit: 14 (Not to include more than 8 scoters) - Sea ducks may be hunted only in Atlantic Ocean waters separated from any shore, island or emergent vegetation by at least one mile of open water, except during the regular duck season. 

COOTS—Open Dates (All Dates Inclusive): Nov. 21-25; Dec.14-Jan. 27 - Hunting hours: 1/2 Hour before sunrise until sunset - Bag limit: 15 - Possession limit: 30

CANADA GEESE/WHITE FRONTED GEESE (Late Seasons)—Open Dates (All Dates Inclusive): Nov. 21-25; Dec. 14-Feb. 1; Feb. 4-Feb. 15 - Hunting hours: 1/2 Hour before sunrise until sunset  - Bag limit: 5 (not to include more than 2 white-fronted geese) - Possession limit: 10 (not to include more than 4 white-fronted geese).  Excludes all of Clarendon County, that portion of Orangeburg County North of SC Highway 6 and that portion of Berkeley County North of SC Highway 45 from the Orangeburg County Line to the junction of SC Highway 45 and State Road S-8-31 and that portion West of the Santee Dam.

BLUE and SNOW GEESE—Open Dates (All Dates Inclusive): Nov.21-25; Dec. 14-Jan. 27 - Hunting hours: 1/2 Hour before sunrise until sunset - Bag limit: 15 - Possession limit: No limit

BRANT—Open Dates (All Dates Inclusive): Nov. 21-25; Dec. 14-Jan. 27 - Hunting hours: 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset - Bag limit: 2 - Possession limit: 4

Shooting hours for late season duck hunting are uniform statewide. Hunters should take notice that DNR law enforcement officers will pay special attention to "late shooting violations" throughout South Carolina. Check local newspapers for sunrise and sunset times.

South Carolina waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must have a state hunting license, state and federal duck stamps and a free migratory bird permit, except on Dec. 8 when they are only required to have the Federal Waterfowl stamp and the HIP (migratory bird) permit. Any South Carolina hunter born after June 30, 1979, must complete an approved hunter education course to purchase a hunting license.

Nontoxic shot (such as steel, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron or tungsten-polymer) is required for all waterfowl hunting. The possession of lead shot is prohibited for all waterfowl hunting statewide.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.


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