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August 18, 2008

Coastal archery deer hunt opportunities

Numerous opportunities are available all along the coast for the archer looking to harvest a deer this fall. 

According to Sam Chappelear, S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) coastal wildlife coordinator, bowhunters will have ample opportunity to hunt approximately 387,300 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 Sept. and/or Oct.  The Santee Coastal Reserve (7,500 acres) located in McClellanville offers archery only deer hunting on the mainland during the month of November. 

Hunters who hunt the Francis Marion National Forest can exclusively archery hunt the Hellhole WMA from Aug. 15 thru 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.  Bowhunting may also be conducted any time deer hunting is allowed (except on days scheduled for deer hunting with dogs) on any of the wildlife management areas within the Francis Marion National Forest. 

Bonneau Ferry WMA, located off of Highway 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 5:00 AM and scouting may be done on days when a hunt is not scheduled.  Be sure to read all pertinent regulations which are located at the entrances to the property.

The recently acquired Botany Bay Plantation WMA, located off of Hwy 174 on Edisto Island, will offer exclusive archery hunting opportunities at various times during the months of September, October, and December.

The 1,375 acre Edisto River WMA in Dorchester County is available for archery hunting during selected days in September.  In Colleton County, archery hunts are scheduled on Bear Island in October, and are scattered throughout the months of October, November, and December on the 8,048 acre Donnelley WMA.  Bowhunting opportunities also exist in Hampton and Jasper counties on Palachucola WMA (6,757 acres), and the 1,422 acre Tillman Sand Ridge Heritage Preserve WMA.  The 13,281 acre Hamilton Ridge tract in Hampton County offers archery only hunts during the months of September, 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 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 the 643 acre Dungannon WMA, located in Charleston County off of Highway 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, Old Island Heritage Preserve,  along with hunts on the 1,111 acre Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve WMA. 

Many of the above mentioned areas offer a good opportunity to harvest a hog as well as a deer.  One should note that all Wildlife Management Area regulations apply, including hunter orange requirements if archery hunting during specified gun hunts. Specific season dates and bag limits for these WMA’s areas can be found in the 2008-2009 Rules and Regulations booklet.

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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