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September 23, 2009

Deer hunting returns to Bonneau Ferry WMA

Deer hunting returns this month to the 10,700-acre Bonneau Ferry Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Berkeley County, just south of Moncks Corner.  The 2009 season marks the 6th year of public hunting on the WMA, where a variety of hunting opportunities can be enjoyed, especially by those interested in experiencing the area with a youth hunter.
           
Deer hunting at Bonneau Ferry is scheduled to allow for adult/youth only gun hunts as well as draw gun hunts for all ages, depending on the side of the property during any given year.  The property is divided into a Side A and Side B.  This year, Side B is limited to adult/youth only hunts, on which adults (must be 21 or older) must be accompanied by a youth age 17 or younger.  On these hunts, both adult and youth may hunt, but the youth is required to carry a firearm and hunt.  These adult/youth hunts on Side B occur each Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday to Jan. 1, 2010 along with every day other than Sunday from Nov. 23-28 and Dec. 21 - Jan 1.  These extra days provide young hunters with a place to hunt during the holidays.  Hunting is on a first-come first-served basis.
           
On Side A, either-sex archery hunts occur Nov. 9-30.  Gun hunts for this side are by drawing only.  The deadline for draw hunt applications for this season has already passed.  Applications for the draw gun hunts will again be available on-line in early July.
           
On all Bonneau Ferry deer hunts, hunters must provide their own portable stands, wear international orange, and are limited to 8 deer per season, no more than 2 of which may be antlered bucks.  Hunters are reminded that they must sign in and sign out and may not enter the property prior to 5 a.m. A data card must also be filled out for all harvested deer.  The self-check data cards are located at the main entrance next to the kiosks.  For more information, refer to the current Rules and Regulations booklet or you can also call the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau at (843) 825-3387.       
           
Between archery hunts, adult/youth gun hunts, and limited draw gun hunts, 112 deer were harvested during last year’s public hunts.  S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff continue their intensive management program at Bonneau Ferry designed to maximize opportunities for hunters, while promoting healthy native plant and wildlife communities.  The prescribed burning regime on the property was very successful this year with the continuation of both a growing season and winter burns, bolstering succulent forage for deer as well as other wildlife.  The area’s head technician, Tom Harkins, has continued to plant 40 wildlife openings totaling over 100 acres in annual grains and legumes, further enhancing forage opportunities for the deer and hunting spots for the deer hunter.

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