Hunters Must Tag Deer, DNR Limits Harvest

Deer season is right around the corner and you could be fined $1,000 if you don't tag your deer.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Turkeys, coyotes, bobcats, and deer line the walls of Larry Bachman's business in West Columbia.

"Absolutely love the free time in the woods and getting away from the telephone and getting out in the outdoors," he said.

For years Bachman and thousands of other hunters throughout parts of South Carolina were able to harvest as many bucks as they wanted and they didn't have to tag them, but a new law changed that.

All harvested deer - bucks and does - need a Department of Natural Resources issued tag. Three buck tags and eight antlerless deer tags are included with a "Big Game Permit". You can purchase two more buck tags and four more antlerless deer tags, but that's it.

"I doubt if it's going to affect me much at all," he said.

Bachman shoots one mountable buck and three or four does a season.

"It's going to affect the person who is killing quite a few bucks a quantity of bucks like eight to 10 to 12, sometimes twenty or more," he said.

DNR wants hunters to know their zone. Zone 3 includes Lexington and Richland counties and you may harvest up to 17 deer, but Zones 1 and 2 in the Upstate may have a limit that is less than that. DNR said the reason is because the population of white tailed deer is down due to changes in habitat and coyotes. Harvested deer peaked in 2002 with 319,902, but by 2016 that number dropped by about 46 percent.

As a member of the National Quality Deer Management Association, Bachman said the changes are good.

"We hope to have bigger bucks in the state and more of them and a better quality herd," he said.

To learn more about the changes click here.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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