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

August 29, 2014Sept. 26 deadline to apply for Manchester State Forest youth deer hunt

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conduct three youth deer hunts at Manchester State Forest (WMA) in Sumter County on Oct. 11, Nov. 1 and 15. Completed applications must be received at the Columbia DNR Office by 5 p. m. on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014 for the hunts.

The age requirements for these special youth deer hunts are 17 and younger. There is no application fee or any other costs associated with these hunts. Participants who are 16 and 17 will be required to have a junior hunting license. Young people who have an interest in trying deer hunting but have not had previous opportunities because they lacked a hunting connection should certainly apply. Applications are available from the Columbia DNR Office or the DNR website.

Applications can also be copied. Return to: SCDNR Youth Deer Hunts, Attn: Willie Simmons, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202. If parents have further questions please contact DNR Wildlife Biologist Willie Simmons at (803) 734-3898 or e-mail SimmonsW@dnr.sc.gov.

There will be five youth participating in each hunt. The Manchester State Forest Area for the youth hunt is approximately 300-acre tract and located 10 miles southwest of Wedgefield off of Highway 261. This area has been a wildlife sanctuary for years and has received very little hunting pressure from the surrounding area. The property contains both upland pine andWhite-tail deer hardwood forest. The area provides an incredible opportunity to introduce youth to the sport of deer hunting.

One of the best ways to recruit new youth hunters is through their friends and family that already participate in hunting activities DNR supports youth sportsmen in encouraging one or more of their friends, who do not hunt, to apply for DNR youth hunts. DNR especially wants to introduce these new hunters to the challenges, thrills and enjoyment associated with hunting.

Equally important, we want to make sure this introduction is done safely and ethically. Both youth sportsmen and new hunters, who wish to apply for these hunts must fully complete and return an application that includes a questionnaire about their hunting experience and a completed liability waiver form. Their legal guardian must sign both the application and liability waiver form.

All DNR Youth Deer Hunts will be on Saturday afternoons and will conclude at sunset. At each hunt, there will be a brief discussion of deer biology and the role of hunting in wildlife management along with detailed comments regarding sportsmanship and hunter ethics. There will be a thorough review of firearm safety. More detailed instructions and directions to the hunt sites will be provided to applicants who are selected based on a random drawing.

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