South Carolina DNR Offers Youth Hunts

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The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will conduct three youth deer hunts at Belfast Wildlife Management Area in Newberry County. The youth deer hunts are scheduled on Oct. 17, 24 and Nov. 14. Ten youth will participate in each hunt.

The age requirements for these special youth deer hunts are 10 through 17, inclusive. There is no application fee or any other costs associated with these hunts. Participants who are 16 and 17 will be required to have a junior hunting license. Young people who have an interest in trying deer hunting but have not had previous opportunities because they lacked a hunting connection should certainly apply. Applications are available from the Columbia DNR office at the Rembert Dennis Building, 1000 Assembly St., or on the DNR Web site. Applications can also be copied.

For questions regarding DNR youth deer hunt safety, supervision or more, contact Willie Simmons, DNR wildlife biologist, at (803) 734-3898 or e-mail Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. Return to: DNR Youth Deer Hunts, Attn: Willie Simmons, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or fax to (803) 734-6020.

The Belfast Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a 4,664-acre tract located 10 miles northwest of Newberry on SC Highway 56 near the Kinards community. The property is situated on the Newberry/Laurens county line, with most of the land area in Newberry County. The area consists of upland pine forests and hardwood drains are throughout the property. Wildlife plantings are located along power lines and road edge openings within the tract. The area provides an incredible opportunity to introduce youth to the sport of deer hunting.

One of the best ways to recruit new youth hunters is through their friends and family that already participate in hunting activities. DNR supports youth sportsmen in encouraging one or more of their friends, who do not hunt, to apply for these youth hunts. DNR especially wants to introduce these new hunters to the challenges, thrills and enjoyment associated with hunting. Equally important, DNR wants to make sure this introduction is done safely and ethically. Both youth sportsmen and new hunters who wish to apply for these hunts must fully complete and return an application that includes a questionnaire about their hunting experience and a completed liability waiver form. Their legal guardian must sign both the application and liability waiver form.

All DNR Youth Deer Hunts will be on Saturday afternoons and will conclude at sunset. At each hunt, there will be a brief discussion of deer biology and the role of hunting in wildlife management along with detailed comments regarding sportsmanship and hunter ethics. There will be a thorough review of firearm safety. More detailed instructions and directions to the hunt sites will be provided to applicants who are selected based on a random drawing.

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