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

Feb. 25, 2014

Duck hunters finish the season on DNR Waterfowl Management Areas

Duck hunters finished the season on S.C. Department of Natural Resources public hunting lands, with a total reported harvest of 5079 birds, an average of 1.7 birds per hunter. A total of 3085 hunters participated in 170 hunts at the 19 Wildlife Management Areas that recorded individual hunt data.

Wood ducks accounted for 34 percent of the total harvest, followed by Gadwall, Northern shoveler, American green-winged teal, and American widgeon.

Overall the season for our waterfowl areas was excellent, given the variable weather we had this winter” said Dean Harrigal, Waterfowl Program Coordinator with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Hickory Top Greentree Reservoir in Clarendon County had the highest hunter participation and harvest with 1,018 hunters reporting a harvest of 1,512 birds, the vast majority of them wood ducks.

On Category I Wildlife Management Areas (lottery hunts), 868 hunters (on 5 areas) harvested 2,882 birds with an average of 3.3 birds per hunter. Gadwall, Northern shoveler, American green-winged teal, and Northern pintail were top birds in the bag. Pintail

Bear Island WMA in Colleton County had the highest hunter average with 4.0 birds per hunter, followed by Santee Delta in Georgetown County with 3.6 birds per hunter, Santee Coastal Reserve in Charleston and Georgetown Counties with 3.0 birds per hunter, and Samworth in Georgetown County with 2.5 birds per hunter.

“Several years ago Tommy Strange (retired DNR waterfowl biologist) said that Gadwall were the duck of the future for South Carolina and given the number harvested on our WMA’s this year, it looks like the future is now," said Harrigal.

Top individual hunt units were Springfield/ The Cut of Bear Island (4.5 birds per hunter), Bear Island East (3.8 birds per hunter), Santee Delta East (3.7 birds per hunter), Murphy Island of Santee Coastal Reserve (3.6 birds per hunter) and Bear Island West (3.6 birds per hunter).

Hunt data was collected on 9 of the 25 Category II Wildlife Management Areas (open to the public on specific days). Hunters reported a harvest of 1,941 birds on these areas, the vast majority coming from Hickory Top Greentree Reservoir. The average for 2,100 hunters was .92 birds per hunter. Wood ducks accounted for over 89 percent of the bag.

A total of 28 special youth only hunts were held on select areas throughout the season. The reported harvest was 256 birds by 117 hunters for an average of 2.1 birds per hunter. American green-winged teal, Gadwall, and Northern Shoveler were the top birds in the bag.

“We were especially pleased that our youth-oriented hunts provided quality waterfowl hunting opportunities for young men and women during the season,” Harrigal said.

Find out more at the WMA Waterfowl Hunt Results reports.

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