South Carolina DNR Offers Youth Hunts
A series of youth draw deer hunts conducted jointly by Santee Cooper and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will be continued this fall.
Applications will be available August 20. The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. September 19. Call the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau at (843) 761-8820 or (843) 825-3388 to request an application.
Past participants are encouraged to tell their friends about their experience to spread the word about this opportunity. Participants must be 17 years or younger and capable of safely handling a firearm. They must also be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old. While the youth and adult sit together in the stand, only the youth may actually hunt. All hunts take place in the afternoon from 2-person stands located along the edges of wildlife openings that have been planted in oats, wheat, soybeans, or peas. The areas hunted on youth draw hunts are located within Sandy Beach and Cross Generating Station, both part of the Santee Cooper-owned Moultrie Hunt Unit.
Last year, 108 girls and boys participated in the youth hunts at Sandy Beach and Cross, 26 of whom were fortunate enough to take home a deer. This hunting program has steadily grown since it's inception in 1998, when 23 youth hunters took to the field.
Wildlife Management staff based out of Bonneau, including biologists Will Carlisle and Elliott Shuler and technician Blake DuBose, work in partnership with Santee Cooper to manage the Moultrie Hunt Unit for wildlife of all descriptions, and to provide recreational opportunity for the public, especially youngsters who might be new to the outdoors. S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Santee Cooper staff give a hunting safety talk to all participants upon their arrival, "We want to promote safe, ethical hunting practices in a quality hunting environment in hopes of energizing young people into responsibly carrying on the hunting tradition," says Carlisle.
Santee Cooper not only owns the land on which these hunts are held, but provides funding for the property's management, personnel to assist with the logistics of the hunts, and t-shirts for hunt participants.
In addition to the draw youth hunts, youths are encouraged to hunt on the 800-acre Bluefield WMA, also part of the Moultrie Hunt Unit. Each youth must be 17 or younger, and accompanied by an adult who is at least 21. The youth must carry a firearm and hunt. Unlike the strictly youth draw hunts mentioned above, on Bluefield, the adult may also carry a firearm and hunt. See the 2008-2009 "Rules & Regulations" booklet for specific season dates and limits.
DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.