Deadline for Low Country Deer Hunt Drawings
Several deer hunt drawing opportunities exist throughout the Lowcountry, but the Aug. 26 deadline for applications is rapidly approaching.
Draw hunts for still deer hunting occur on the following coastal Wildlife Management Areas: Bonneau Ferry, Donnelley, Palachucola and Webb Wildlife Center. These deer hunts are designed for hunters who want to experience a quality hunt without the crowd.
Still gun hunts for deer will be held again this year on half of the newly acquired 10,700-acre Bonneau Ferry Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in Berkeley County along the eastern branch of the Cooper River near the town of Cordesville. For just $25 per hunter, participants can enjoy hunting from noon on Thursday until the end of the day on Saturday. Participants can hunt as much or as little as they like in order to harvest the allowance of three deer (only one may be a buck). Hunters are allowed to scout before their selected drawn hunt period. The 25 randomly selected hunters may hunt anywhere on the designated side of 5,350 acres. No stands are provided, so hunters must use their own climbing stands. Several wildlife openings have been planted in corn and winter grains will be planted later in the fall.
According to S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife biologist Jeff Baumann at the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau, a total of 42 deer (25 bucks) were harvested from the Bonneau Ferry area during the 2004 season. For more information, call (843) 825-3388 in Bonneau. Facilities are available on site, which include overnight accommodations and meals for a modest fee. For accommodations information, contact Mepkin Abbey at (843) 761-8509.
The 8,048-acre Donnelley WMA in Colleton County also offers quality hunting without the crowd. For the same $25 fee, participants can hunt for two and a half days beginning at 1 p.m. on the first day of the selected hunt period. The limit is three deer, but only one buck may be harvested, and it must have at least four points on one side or a 12-inch minimum outside spread. Spike bucks are not legal. Hunters are allowed to scout from 7 a.m. until noon of the first hunt day and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on remaining hunt days. Some permanent stands are available for use, but climbing stands are encouraged. Primitive camping is available at nearby Bear Island WMA. DNR wildlife biologist Dean Harrigal, located at Donnelley WMA, believes the antler restrictions make a difference in the quality of bucks harvested from the area. "Twenty-three bucks and 31 does were harvested from the area last year," Harrigal said. "Numerous wildlife openings are planted in winter grains to facilitate deer harvest." For more information on the hunts at Donnelley, call (843) 844-8957 in Green Pond.
The 6,757-acre Palachucola WMA in Jasper County offers the same style of hunting as does Donnelley WMA. For the same price, participants can hunt for two and a half days beginning on Thursday afternoon and ending Saturday evening, with scouting allowed on Thursday mornings. The same bag limits and buck restrictions apply here as they do on Donnelley. A location for primitive camping, a skinning shed and walk-in cooler are all provided during the selected hunt period. No meals, lodging or permanent stands are provided. DNR wildlife biologist Jay Cantrell said: "Antler restrictions have also allowed for nicer bucks to be harvested from the area. Hunters harvested 39 bucks and 32 does from Palachucola last season."
The 5,866-acre Webb WMA in Hampton County offers more than just a quality hunting experience. For those who are unable, or do not want to deal with the scouting and erecting of climbing stands, this hunt is for them. For the $100 application fee, a hunter is able to hunt for one afternoon and the following morning. The limit is two deer per hunter, only one may be a buck, with the same antler restrictions as Donnelley and Palachucola. Also included in the package are accommodations and meals (supper and breakfast) at the Webb Wildlife Center lodge. One hundred permanent stands are located on the WMA with a random drawing held for stand selection. Staff transports hunters to and from the stand, cleans any harvested deer or hogs and hangs them in a cooler during the hunter's stay. All the hunter must do is be able to accurately shoot a rifle and hope a deer presents itself for a shot. "Forty-six bucks and 69 does were harvested from Webb WMA last season," Cantrell said. In addition to the 20 standard draw hunts on the area, Webb also offers a mobility impaired hunt and a ladies-only hunt. For more information on Palachucola or Webb hunts, call (803) 625-3569.
All WMA rules and regulations apply for these hunts. If hunters want a chance to harvest a quality buck or just some meat for the freezer, try one of the coastal draw deer hunts. The crowds are limited, and the application fee is a lot cheaper than today's hunting lease rates. Applications are available online at http://www.dnr.state.sc.us/wild/huntapp.html and at all DNR offices.