The state of South Carolina announced on Monday, July 15th, 2019, that is going to change the way hunters harvest deer during the hunting season.
For anyone that is registered to hunt in South Carolina, start keeping an eye on your mailbox as the tags you receive will be part of the change that’s coming this year.
From The DNR
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for South Carolina has made changes this year to the way the antlerless tagging system will work going forward from this year’s hunting season. The DNR wants to make sure that hunters are aware of—and comply—with the new changes before taking to the field when the time is right to hunt deer.
However, the good news here is that the changes for South Carolina hunters don’t make life harder, but easier! The way the old system worked, the SCDNR gave hunters tags that permitted them to hunt, then harvest antlerless deer only on specific days. Hunters would receive a total of eight tags, each one tied to a specific date, and they were expected to use those tags and harvest the deer on those days if they wanted to remain compliant with South Carolina hunting law.
The issue with having eight tags that were usable only on specific dates was that this put many limitations on just how flexible hunters could be. With tags that fell on a Saturday, for the hunting enthusiast, this could sometimes be a problem and eliminate many hunting opportunities, since it’s not unusual for South Carolina hunters to also be loving, responsible, heads of families with prior commitments on the weekends. There could also be issues with having work commitments on a Saturday, or, for many, commitments to a sporting event since those are usually scheduled for weekends, making it hard to reconcile a love of hunting with other aspects of a hunter’s life.
In other cases, the limited window days could be ruined by forces beyond anyone’s control, such as poor weather making the hunting on a particular Saturday not very productive. It’s no one’s fault if the weather decides not to cooperate, but it does mean that for hunters, one of the few days when they were legally allowed to take to the field has now been compromised, with there are fewer permitted days left with the remaining valid, but unused tags.
This created a situation where hunters with every intent to comply with the law would find they only had eight specific dates on which antlerless hunting and harvesting could occur, but the reality is, eight days weren’t truly available to most people due to the commitments of life, and the circumstances surrounding the weather.
The New Rule
Now, instead of having eight tags that are good only on specific days, SC hunters will, instead, receive in the mail two “dateless” tags that can be used on any day, in Game Zone 2, 3 and 4 from September 15th onward, and any day from October 1st onward in Game Zone 1. This vastly simplifies the timing and scheduling of hunts and makes it easier and more convenient for hunters to take to the field on days that make sense to them, their life and personal schedules.
This does have one negative, which may affect some of the most dedicated hunters. With all hunters receiving only two tags standard, as opposed to eight tags, there’s the implication that you can only go hunting twice. While not common, this does mean that those that were able to hunt on all eight of the days previously specified by the tags, can no longer hunt for eight antlerless deer. At least, not legally on two tags.
Optional Tags For Hunters That Need More
Fortunately, the SCDNR understands that different hunters will have different needs. The reason that the decision was made to switch over to a “two-tag-any-day” system was that, according to SCDNR statistics, 92% of South Carolina’s hunters, harvest two or less antlerless deer. This means only 8% of South Carolina’s total hunting population needs more days of hunting and harvesting.
Up to four additional antlerless tags can be purchased by hunters that feel they need more beyond the standard-issue two. This provides a bit more flexibility in those rare cases when hunters know they’ve got more time and energy to devote. Another option to go beyond just two tags is to participate in a property-based Deer Quota Program.
Any hunter with an active Annual, Three-Year Hunting License, Big Game Permit, Sportsmans License or Combination License that is valid for August 15th, 2019, will receive two deer tags, in the mail, at no cost.
Make Sure You’re Prepared
Of course, beyond just making sure that you have your tags so you can hunt legally, it’s important to cultivate the right skills, and have the proper equipment. Hunting is far more than just aiming a gun and taking a shot, that’s just one of the final steps in a very long, involved process.
It’s important, for example, to make sure that you are properly equipped, and that everything you need is easily accessible. Some people get this type of convenience while hunting by wearing the right tactical vest, which keeps all the important items and accessories within fast, easy access. It’s one of the reasons why tactical vests have saved lives in combat situations by making sure people can quickly get to what they need when seconds count.
Another is to make sure that the proper tools are used. Hunting knives, for example, are primarily for cutting, but they need to cut different materials for different purposes arises in many different situations. A knife must be strong and versatile, so that cutting and skinning a deer, for example, is something you can do without worrying about whether the knife is up to the task, but if you need to cut plants, or even wood for carving or survival purposes, your knife is ready to do that too. It’s all about getting the right equipment, with the quality you can trust, so you don’t have to worry when the time comes to put them to use.