The Department of Natural Resources wants your input on the proposed changes for deer hunters in South Carolina.
DNR is working with legislators to pass a bill that would limit how many deer can be harvested. DNR said this is all in an effort to combat the decline in deer population over the last couple of decades.
Currently, many hunters in South Carolina don’t have any restrictions on how many deer they can harvest in a single year, but all that can change if this bill is passed.
“There are too many people out there just killing everything they see,” said J.B. Hall, an avid deer hunter in South Carolina.
Hall said he supports laws that will regulate the number of certain deer that can be harvested.
“I hear people killing 50 or 100 deer a year, nobody needs to kill that many deer,” said Hall.
A Senate Bill proposed earlier this year would limit the number of deer killed, per season, to four antlered bucks and four does per hunter. Also, hunters would be required to tag all deer harvested.
Ryan Crouch, a Hunting Outfitter at Cabela’s, said these new laws would greatly impact those hunters in the Palmetto State, who don’t have these zone rules.
“There is a population decrease right now, it’s dropped down 35 percent and that’s one of the reasons why they want to decrease the buck harvest, they want to see population trends climb back up,” said Crouch.
DNR reports reasons for this decline include habitat changes, liberal deer harvests over the last two decades and the large population of coyotes in the state.
“You want to try and get a population that’s balanced, a sex ratio of one to one is what you want, that’s what natural in a natural habitat, that’s what’s healthiest for the deer,” said Crouch.
While the bill passed the Senate already, it won’t be picked up by the House of Representatives until the legislative session begins in January.
You can get involved. DNR is holding several meetings across the state to get public input about this legislation.
Contact DNR at (803) 734-3886 with any questions about agendas or sites.
All meetings will begin at 7 p.m. and the dates and locations are as follows:
* Tuesday, Sept. 22, Florence, Pee Dee Research and Education Center Auditorium, 2200 Pocket Road, Florence, SC 29506
* Thursday, Sept. 24, Lancaster, University of South Carolina-Lancaster, Stevens Auditorium 476 Hubbard Drive, Lancaster, SC 29720
* Tuesday, Sept. 29, North Augusta, North Augusta High School Auditorium, 2000 Knobcone Ave., North Augusta, SC 29841
* Tuesday, Oct. 6, Pendleton, Pendleton High School Auditorium – 7324 Hwy 187, Pendleton, SC 29670
* Thursday, Oct. 8, Greenwood, Piedmont Technical College James Medford Family Event Center Auditorium (Building N), 620 North Emerald Road, Greenwood, SC 29648
* Tuesday, Oct. 13, Orangeburg, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Roquemore Auditorium, Building R, 3250 St. Mathews Road, Orangeburg, SC 29118
* Thursday, Oct. 15, Walterboro, Hampton Street Auditorium, 491 Hampton Street, Walterboro, SC 29488
More information on Senate Bill 454: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess121_2015-2016/bills/454.htm