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September 22, 2010

Antler restrictions initiated on Aiken County WMA

Deer hunters on Aiken County’s Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve (WMA-ER) will have to be more selective when harvesting antlered bucks beginning with the 2010 deer season. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has initiated quality deer management guidelines on the property. All antlered bucks must have at least 4 points on one side or a minimum 12-inch outside antler spread to be legal for harvest.

This was done for two reasons. First, long term data collection indicated that 60 percent of the buck harvest was composed of young animals (fawns and 1½ year olds). This greatly reduced the opportunity to harvest mature bucks. Secondly, during the 2009 season, deer hunters were allowed to vote on whether they wanted to continue with no restrictions on buck size or whether they preferred a more selective harvest. Over 78 percent of hunters preferred the quality deer management option.

The restrictions will be enforced during all methods of deer hunting this fall (archery, primitive weapons, and guns).

Crackerneck consists of 10,470 acres owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.  Crackerneck is in Aiken County along the Savannah River and lies south of the town of Jackson, off SC 125.  Access is through the check station gate off Brown Road. All hunters are required to sign in before entering and sign out prior to leaving.

Hunters should consult the 2010-2011 Rules & Regulations Brochure or the Crackerneck WMA Brochure for seasons, bag limits and hours of operation. Anyone with additional questions can contact the S.C. Department of Natural Resources office in Aiken County at (803) 725-3663 or by email at caudellm@dnr.sc.gov.

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