Double-crested Cormorant Removal Program
FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I get a permit to participate in the Removal Program?
- If I do not want to actively take any cormorants, but would like to drive or ride along in the boat, do I need a permit?
- Why do I need to sign a volunteer agreement?
- Why do you have to be 16 years of age to participate?
- What licenses and stamps are required to participate?
- Can I mount a bird?
- Will any landfills accept the birds?
- Why do I have to report the number of birds I am taking? Will the program end once a certain number of birds are removed from the population?
- Where can I take cormorants?
- Can I shoot from land?
- Can I fish and participate in the Removal Program at the same time?
To participate in the Removal Program you must attend one of three training sessions. At the training session, you will be required to complete a volunteer form. A permit letter will be sent out to all attendees as soon as possible after the session.
Yes, all individuals participating in the cormorant removal must have a permit. This includes those that are driving or riding in the boat without a weapon.
Unlike game animals, the cormorant is a federally protected species of bird under the Migratory Bird Act. In order to participate under the Depredation Order, you must be an agent of the Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). This requirement is met by attending a training session and signing a volunteer form. Participating without a signed volunteer form and permit is against federal and state law.
All participants of the Removal Program are volunteers of SCDNR. There is a Department Policy that restricts volunteers to those who are 16 years of age or older. Additionally, due to the nature of the Removal Program, participants 16 years or older will be required to meet all Hunter Safety guidelines.
In order to participate, you will only need your South Carolina Hunting License in addition to your permit letter. Both must be on you at all times while participating in the Removal Program.
No, as written in the authorizing depredation permit, birds must be disposed of in an approved manner. This is limited to the following:
- Donation to a museum or education institution,
- Burying of the birds, or
- Burning of the birds.
Only Berkeley County Landfill will accept harvested birds. Enclosed with your permit letter will be instructions on how to properly dispose of the birds at the Berkeley County Landfill.
In order to comply with the depredation order, all taken birds must be reported to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). There is no set limit on the number of birds that can be removed from the population and the program will not end once a pre-set number of taken birds are reported.
In order for SCDNR to continue this program, all reporting must be completed and submitted to USFWS. Participants will receive a reporting form to return no later than March 30, 2014. Please be truthful on this form, as the number of birds taken will be used to determine the affect of the program on the population and for all future decision making.
Rallying is allowed, however shooting from a boat is restricted to boats that are stationary or moving at idle and "no wake" speeds.
The Removal Program is limited to the waters of the Santee Cooper Lakes. Within your permit letter will be a map of allowable waters. The general rule of thumb is any waters you can legally waterfowl hunt, with the exception of wildlife management areas and you must be 200 yards from any residence.
There are no permit conditions against shooting a cormorant from land; however you MUST be 200 yards or more from a residence, and outside of all WMAs and the National Wildlife Refuge.
There are no permit conditions that prevent you from fishing and participating in the program, however, the operator of the boat may not take or attempt to take cormorants while the boat is moving.