Wildlife - Waterfowl Hunting and Baiting

Flying ducks

The SC Waterfowl Hunting and Baiting Brochure is provided in the Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) format. Adobe® Reader® is required to open this file and is available as a free download from the Adobe® Web site.
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Waterfowl Hunting and Baiting

Waterfowl and other migratory birds are a national resource protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Federal regulations define key terms for hunters and land managers, and clarify conditions under which you may legally hunt waterfowl. As a waterfowl hunter or land manager, it is your responsibility to know and obey all Federal and State laws that govern the sport. Waterfowl baiting regulations apply to ducks, geese, swans, coots and cranes.

Federal regulations are more restrictive for waterfowl hunting than for hunting doves and other migratory game birds. While unharvested agricultural crops may be manipulated to attract doves for hunting, manipulation of an unharvested agricultural crop to attract waterfowl for hunting creates a baited area.

In South Carolina many hunters and landowners manage native vegetation and planted agricultural crops to attract waterfowl for hunting. The Federal law is different for the management of these two food sources and hunters should pay particular attention to the differences.

What Is Baiting?

You cannot hunt waterfowl by the aid of baiting or on or over any baited area where you know or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited.

Baiting is the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could lure or attract waterfowl to, on, or over any areas where hunters are attempting to take them.

A baited area is any area on which salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, if that salt, grain, or feed could serve as a lure or attraction for waterfowl.

The 10-Day Rule

A baited area remains off limits to hunting for 10 days after all salt, grain, or other feed has been completely removed. This rule recognizes that waterfowl will still be attracted to the same area even after the bait is gone.