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

February 9, 2012

Aiken County wildlife area will open to the public four Saturdays in March

Aiken County's Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve will be open to the public on four Saturdays during the month of March (3, 10, 17 and 24). Scouting, some recreational activities and fishing will be allowed. No weapons will be permitted during March.

Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve is 10,470 acres owned by the U.S. Department of Energy in Aiken County along the Savannah River and south of the town of Jackson, off SC 125. Access is through the check station gate off Brown Road.

To request a detailed map of the Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve, including specific rules and regulations, contact the S.C. Department of Natural Resources office in Aiken County at (803) 725-3663. You may also request the map by e-mail—please include your name and postal mailing address and send it to CaudellM@dnr.sc.gov. Maps are also available at the check station where visitors sign in.

Hunters will be able to scout the area prior to the commencement of spring wild turkey hunts. Anyone unfamiliar with the property, but interested in hunting the area this season, should take advantage of these March dates to scout Crackerneck. Habitat changes resulting from timber harvests, prescribed burning and road creation make it advisable for even seasoned hunters to also scout prior to the hunt season.

Some recreational activities will be allowed during these four Saturdays such as sight-seeing, bird watching, hiking, nature photography, horseback riding and mountain biking. Mountain bikes and horses are restricted to the designated 50-mile road system and to 30 miles of selected firebreaks. Camping is not permitted.

Fishing will be allowed during these four Saturdays, but anglers are cautioned that ponds are extremely low due to lack of rainfall and success is expected to be poor. On 8-acre Skinface Pond, the limit on largemouth bass is set at two per person, per day, 14-inch minimum. Bluegill limits will be the same as state creel limits—30 fish. Due to low water, more bank fishing opportunities exist than normal. Small boats are still recommended to improve success. Fishing will also be allowed in three small lakes within the Savannah River Swamp, but these require a small boat for access. No fishing, boating or other uses are allowed in Upper Three Runs Creek.

Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve entrance gate will open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. during open dates on March 3, 10, 17 and 24. All individuals using Crackerneck are required to sign in before entering the area and sign out before leaving. Anyone not following this procedure will be considered trespassing.

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