Wildlife - Deer - FAQs
- How can I get individual antlerless deer tags?
- What if my vehicle hits a deer?
- What if I find an orphaned fawn?
- Deer are eating my plants, what can I do?
- Where are the deer antler records?
- If I use feeders year round on my property to help the deer herd, can I hunt turkey or dove near these feeders?
- Does SCDNR provide deer harvest information?
- When can I "man drive" on Wildlife Management Area lands in the Piedmont?
- After taking a legal deer and dressing it, what can I do with the remains?
- Is it legal to carry a firearm and bow during the regular gun season?
- Can I hunt deer with a 22-caliber rimfire rifle?
- What is the peak deer "rut" in South Carolina?
- Is it legal to sell or buy venison in South Carolina?
- How do I find out about or apply for Wildlife Management Area drawn hunts?
- How do I get an application for Individual Antlerless Deer Tags or the Antlerless Deer Quota Program tags?
- If Deer Quota Program tags have been issued for the property I hunt on can I use my personal tags too?
1. How can I get individual antlerless deer tags?
You can order the tags via internet. Simply follow the instructions as if you where purchasing a hunting license and there will be an option near the end to purchase Individual Antlerless Deer Tags. (Note: There is a $3.00 surcharge for the internet service.)
Tags may be purchased over-the-counter at the following Regional SCDNR offices: Charleston, Clemson, West Columbia (State Farmers Market), Florence, and York.
You can download an application at the following address, fill it out, and mail it in: https://www.dnr.sc.gov/licenses/pdf/speciallicenseapp.pdf - Adobe PDF File
2. What if my vehicle hits a deer?
Vehicle accidents involving deer: Vehicle-deer accidents should be reported to the SC Department of Transportation. To report a vehicle collision for insurance purposes call the highway patrol or your local city or county law enforcement.
Injured deer: Call the SCDNR Columbia office at (803) 734-3886 to locate a rehabilitator near you. Badly injured deer should be euthanized by law enforcement officials that respond to the accident.
Deer carcasses: The SCDNR is not responsible for removing dead animals from the highway or private property. However, if the animal is obstructing traffic or along a public highway, you may contact your local Department of Public Works to have the animal removed.
If the deer is freshly killed, it can be given to a charitable institution or kept by the finder as long as there is an incident report from the law enforcement officials that responded to the accident.
3. What if I find an orphaned fawn?
When a fawn appears to be orphaned, it should be left alone. It is quite natural for a doe to leave her fawn alone for the first few weeks of life. Once a fawn has been handled or disturbed by a human, the doe may abandon it. If you know the mother is dead, you may call the SCDNR Columbia office at (803) 734-3886 or in Charleston call 843-953-9300 to locate the nearest veterinarian or rehabilitator. Deer don't make good pets, so don't adopt a "lost" fawn.
4. Deer are eating my plants, what can I do?
For information, write SCDNR, Deer Project, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or call (803) 734-3886. You may also contact your local Clemson Extension Service or farm and hardware stores for recommendations on preventing deer damage to agricultural areas or property.
Electric Fences: Fencing deer out is the most effective means of control. Electric fences are less expensive to construct than permanent conventional fences of wire, wood or brick, but require more upkeep and a power source.
Repellents: Chemical deer repellents are best suited for gardens and ornamentals.
Depredation Permit: You may also apply for a depredation permit, which would grant permission to take deer that are causing damage out of season. (See Depredation Permit in the License-Permit section).
5. Where are the deer antler records?
Antler scoring sessions as part of the State Deer Records Program are conducted each year during March at many locations throughout the state. Antlers may also be scored by appointment with a local wildlife biologist. Current deer antler records.
6. If I use feeders year round on my property to help the deer herd, can I hunt turkey or dove near these feeders?
No, turkey, dove, and waterfowl may not be hunted where they are lured by bait (grain or food stuffs). The lure and attraction of any bait is a determination made with varying circumstances. The safest route would be to cut off all feeders and remove all bait 2 to 3 weeks before hunting turkey, dove, or waterfowl.
It is unlawful to bait or hunt over bait on all WMA's statewide.
7. Does SCDNR provide deer harvest information?
Annually, the Statewide Deer Project conducts a licensee based hunter survey to get deer harvest statistics for the state. Harvest results are published to the web in the Adobe PDF file format, news releases and as an annual report. For more information, contact Deer Program, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or call (803) 734-3886.
8. When can I "man drive" on Wildlife Management Area lands in the Piedmont?
On WMA lands, man drives for deer are permitted between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. only. A man drive is defined as an organized hunting technique involving two (2) or more individuals whereby an attempt is made to drive game animals from cover or habitat for the purpose of shooting, killing, or moving such animals toward other hunters. On WMA lands, drivers participating in man drives are prohibited from carrying or using weapons. This regulation does not apply to private lands. For more information contact DNR Law Enforcement Division at (803) 734-4002 or Deer Project at (803) 734-3886.
9. After taking a legal deer and dressing it, what can I do with the remains?
All hunt clubs should have a pit to bury deer remains and all hunters should have a plan to dispose of deer remains before they hunt deer. Depending on their type of permitting, some landfills will take animals carcasses. Litter laws apply to deer remains and throwing remains in a creek may violate even more serious laws. Note* Unfortunately, many hunters who otherwise show responsible behavior seem to lack concern when disposing of deer remains. Proper disposal of deer remains is vital to the interests of all sportsmen. Non-hunters may become anti-hunters by seeing a fly covered deer hide at a dumpster or by seeing a head and hide thrown on the side of the road. Proper disposal of deer remains is a rule of good hunter ethics.
10.Is it legal to carry a firearm and bow during the regular gun season?
Yes, you may carry a firearm and bow during the regular gun season statewide on private and WMA land. For more information, contact DNR Law Enforcement at (803) 734-4002 or Deer Project at (803) 734-3886.
11. Can I hunt deer with a .22-caliber rimfire rifle?
State laws and regulations prohibit the hunting of deer with .22 rimfire rifles or smaller on all WMAs. There are no caliber restrictions on private land. However, a .22 rimfire rifle is inadequate to harvest deer and can result in wounding or unrecovered deer. RESPECT for the animal hunted should always be a common sense guide for ethical hunters. Use only a weapon that allows the animal to be cleanly harvested. Generally speaking, a .243 or 6mm is the smallest caliber normally recommended for deer. For more information, call SCDNR Law Enforcement at (803) 734-4002.
12. What is the peak deer "rut" in South Carolina?
Generally, the last two weeks of October through the first two weeks of November, although breeding activity may be seen at almost any time of the fall and winter. Map of Peak Breeding Dates for White-tailed Deer in South Carolina. For more information, contact Deer Project, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or call (803) 734-3886.
13. Is it legal to sell or buy venison in South Carolina?
No. State Law 50-11-1910 prohibits the sale of the following deer parts in SC; any live deer, venison of any deer except as provided in 50-11-1920, any white-tailed deer gamets (egg and sperm) and antler velvet, or any white-tailed deer antlers attached to the pedicel. Section 50-11-1920 allows permitted restaurants to sell exotic farm raised venison as a menu item.
On the other hand, deer parts not listed may be bought and sold. This would include deer hides, antlers that have been shed or removed from the pedicel, etc. For more information, contact Deer Project, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or call (803) 734-3886.
14. How do I find out about or apply for Wildlife Management Area lottery hunts?
Apply online Applications available: Alligator - May 1; Deer - July 1; Waterfowl and Quail – September 1; and Turkey – February 1.
15. How do I get an application for Individual Antlerless Deer Tags or the Antlerless Deer Quota Program tags?
For the Individual Antlerless Deer Tags, the Application is available from the web in the Adobe PDF file format.
The application should then be sent to: Deer Tags, SCDNR, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29211, or call (803) 734-3833, or visit your local license agent. For the Antlerless Deer Quota Program contact the Deer Program, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or call (803) 734-3609.
16. If Deer Quota Program tags have been issued for the property I hunt on can I use my personal tags too?
No, if the property you hunt on has been issued Deer Quota Program tags for antlered bucks, antlerless deer, or both you can not use your personal tags for the type of deer for which tags have been issued. Most properties only receive a quota for antlerless deer so you can not use your personal antlerless tags on the property. However, if the property does not have antlered buck tags you would have to use your personal antlered buck tags because all harvested deer must be tagged.
If the property has quota program tags for antlered bucks and antlerless deer then you could not use your personal buck tags or doe tags on the property. Basically it is one way or the other. If a property has been issued tags for antlered bucks, antlerless deer, or both then you can not use your personal tags for the type of deer (antlered or antlerless) that quota program tags have been issued for. Also, remember that quota program tags can only be used on the property for which they were issued, they are not valid on any other property.