2012 - 2013 Deer Season
General Deer Hunting Regulations for Private and Public Land
(For additional information see Private and Public Land)
Legal hunting time for deer is the time between one hour before official sunrise until one hour after official sunset (50-11-710).
In Game Zones 1 and 2 it is unlawful to pursue deer with dogs, and it is unlawful to bait for deer (50-11-310).
It is unlawful to hunt, shoot or in any way kill deer from a motorboat, raft or any other water conveyance, or to molest a deer while any part of the deer is in water (50-11-730).
Possessing any deer with the head detached while in transit from the point of kill is prohibited (50-11-400).
It is unlawful to hunt deer within 300 yards of a residence without permission of the owner and occupant, except that a landowner may hunt on his own land (50-11-355).
Archery, muzzleloaders and crossbows are allowed during gun hunts.
An antlerless deer is defined as a deer with no antlers or an antlered deer with less than two inches of antler visible above the hairline. Antlerless deer may not be possessed, hunted, shot or in any way killed except during special seasons or by special permit (50-11-410).
Antlerless Deer Harvest Programs
Antlerless Deer Harvest Programs are conducted statewide using either-sex days and 2 optional antlerless deer tag programs. The dates for either-sex days are shown in the hunting season section.
Individual Antlerless Deer Tag Program
With the Individual Antlerless Deer Tag Program hunters may purchase up to 4 personal tags, for $5 each, which can be used on any day open to deer hunting with the following Game Zone restrictions: Tags are not valid in Game Zone 1 (Mountains). In Game Zone 2 (Piedmont) tags are valid on public and private land starting Oct.1. In Game Zones 3-6 (Coastal Plain) tags are valid on private lands and “unnamed” small WMAs starting Sept. 15. Tags are also valid on Sand Hills State Forest WMA in Chesterfield Co., North Dike WMA in Berkeley Co., Longleaf Pine WMA in Lee Co., Francis Marion National Forest in Berkeley and Charleston counties during still gun hunts for deer starting Sept. 15 and on Ditch Pond HP WMA in Barnwell and Aiken Counties and on Henderson HP WMA in Aiken County beginning Oct.1. Tags do not have to be used on scheduled county-wide either-sex days. Tags are not valid on properties enrolled in the Antlerless Deer Quota Program. Tags do not alter the daily or seasonal bag limits prescribed for Game Zones or alter the type of weapon allowed.
All persons purchasing tags in past years will be sent a renewal notice in August. New applicants may complete the application or contact SCDNR Deer Project at 803-734-3886 to receive an application. The possession and use of these tags are limited to the purchaser.
Antlerless Deer Quota Program
Antlerless deer quotas are issued to qualifying landowners or lessees statewide who complete and submit an application along with a $50 fee prior to Jul. 18 each year. This program is generally better suited for landowners or lessees with larger acreages. Under the ADQP, a quota of tags is issued for a particular tract of land based on criteria including: density of the local deer population, condition of the local deer population, the size of the tract of land and the recreational and agricultural objectives of the property owner.
Utilization of tags issued under the ADQP is subject to the following Game Zone restrictions. In Game Zone 1 (Mountains) tags are valid beginning Oct. 1. in Game Zone 2 (Central & Western Piedmont) and Game Zones 3-6 (Coastal Plain) tags are valid beginning Sept. 15. Tags issued for a particular tract of land can only be used on that tract and they must be used on all antlerless deer that are harvested, including antlerless deer harvested on either-sex days or by bow and arrow in Game Zones 1 & 2. Tags do not alter the daily or seasonal bag limits or use of weapons during special weapons seasons in Game Zones 1 & 2. A harvest report must be completed by the applicant at the close of the season.
Calls, recorded or electronically amplified
It is illegal to hunt, catch, take, kill or attempt to hunt, catch, take or kill any game bird or game animal with the aid of recorded calls or sounds or recorded or electronically amplified imitations of calls or sounds (50-11-40). Crows, coyotes or hogs are not game birds/animals and therefore can be hunted using electronic calls on private lands and WMA lands.
Crossbows may be used on private lands and WMA lands statewide during all archery, muzzleloader or gun seasons for deer, bear and turkey.
It is unlawful to keep any deer in cold storage or refrigerating plants unless the carcass is clearly marked with the hunter’s name, address and hunting license number (50-11-1700). This does not apply to storage at a private residence or to deer that have an Individual Antlerless Deer Tag Program tag attached to the hamstring since the hunter’s name, address and tag number appear on the face of the tag. Deer processors should recognize that it is unlawful to sell deer meat to regain the processing fee for deer that have not been picked-up by the owner (50-11-1910). The best practice is to take a deposit for the processing service when deer are left at the facility. If meat is not picked-up by the owner, it can be given to another individual at no charge.
In all game zones, the use of artificial lights for the purpose of observing or harassing wildlife is unlawful, except that a property owner, lessee, or person with written permission from the property owner may use artificial lights to observe wildlife prior to 11:00 PM This section does not prohibit an owner of real property from using artificial lights for the purpose of protecting the property. This section does not prohibit the use of remote trail monitors or cameras from fixed locations on a property, nor does it prohibit a person or group, with written permission of the landowner or leaseholder of the property, from observing wildlife with the use of artificial lights who is engaged in research or documentary filming (50-11- 708). This section does not prohibit a person from lawfully hunting coyotes, armadillos, and hogs at night as provided for by law.
Selling Game Animals
It is unlawful to sell, except by special permit, any protected wildlife (50-1-290). Furbearing animals may be sold with a valid commercial fur harvest license. Contact SCDNR for a copy of the commercial fur harvest regulations.
Hunting is prohibited on Sundays on all WMA lands. On private lands statewide, Sunday hunting for all game is legal.
There are no SCDNR restrictions on transporting firearms by licensed hunters and fishermen in a vehicle to and from the place of hunting and fishing except on WMA lands. See regulations on WMA lands.
It shall be unlawful to enter upon the lands of another for the purpose of hunting, fishing, trapping or retrieval of dogs without the consent of the landowner or manager.
Charles Ruth - Deer Project Supervisor
SCDNR Deer Project
P. O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202-0167