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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

Sept. 12, 2011

DNR to conduct three youth deer hunts at Belfast Wildlife Management Area

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conduct three youth deer hunts at Belfast Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Newberry County. The youth deer hunts are scheduled on Oct. 15, Oct. 22 and Nov. 12. There will be ten youth participating in each hunt. The Belfast Wildlife Management Area is a 4,664-acre tract located ten miles northwest of Newberry on Highway 56 near the Kinards community. The property is situated on the Newberry/Laurens County line, with most of the land area in Newberry County. The property contains both upland pine and hardwood forest. Wildlife plantings are scattered throughout the tract. The area provides an incredible opportunity to introduce youth to the sport of deer hunting.

One of the best ways to recruit new youth hunters is through their friends and family that already participate in hunting activities. We support youth sportsmen in encouraging one or more of their friends, who do not hunt, to apply for DNR youth hunts. DNR especially wants to introduce these new hunters to the challenges, thrills and enjoyment associated with hunting. Equally important, we want to make sure this introduction is done safely and ethically. Both youth sportsmen and new hunters, who wish to apply for these hunts must fully complete and return an application that includes a questionnaire about their hunting experience and a completed liability waiver form. Their legal guardian must sign both the application and liability waiver form.

All DNR Youth Deer Hunts will be on Saturday afternoons and will conclude at sunset. At each hunt, there will be a brief discussion of deer biology and the role of hunting in wildlife management along with detailed comments regarding sportsmanship and hunter ethics. There will be a thorough review of firearm safety. More detailed instructions and directions to the hunt sites will be provided to applicants who are selected based on a random drawing. If parents have further questions regarding safety, supervision, etc., please contact Willie Simmons, DNR Wildlife Biologist at (803) 734-3898 or E-mail SimmonsW@dnr.sc.gov.

The age requirements for these special youth deer hunts are 10 through 17, inclusive. There is no application fee or any other costs associated with these hunts. Participants who are 16 and 17 will be required to have a junior hunting license. Young people who have an interest in trying deer hunting but have not had previous opportunities because they lacked a hunting connection should certainly apply. Applications are available from the Columbia DNR Office or online. Applications can also be copied. Completed applications must be received at the Columbia SCDNR Office by 5:00 p. m. on Friday, September 30, 2011 for the hunts. Good luck!

Return applications to: SCDNR – YOUTH DEER HUNTS, Attn: Willie Simmons, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or fax to (803) 734-6020.

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