South Carolina Offers Several Draw Deer Hunts

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Several draw deer hunting opportunities will exist throughout the Lowcountry this fall and hunters are encouraged to send in their applications.

Draw hunts for still deer hunting occur on the following coastal Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's): Bear Island, Bonneau Ferry, Donnelley, Hamilton Ridge, Palachucola, Webb, and the newly acquired Botany Bay Plantation. For $25 per hunter, one can enjoy 2 and a half days of still gun hunting for deer on one of the above listed WMA's except for Webb Center. Hunting on the six coastal areas (except Webb Center), begins with an orientation at 1:00 p.m. on the first day of the hunt and ends on the evening of the third day.

All WMA rules and regulations apply for these hunts. Applications are available online.

Located in Colleton County, the 12,028-acre Bear Island WMA and the 8,048-acre Donnelley WMA both offer quality hunting. The limit for these areas is three deer, however only one buck may be harvested and it must have at least 4 points on one side or a 12-inch minimum outside spread. Spike bucks are not legal. Hunters must bring their own portable stands. A primitive campground is located at Bear Island.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources' (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. According to Harrigal, 12 bucks and 17 does were harvested from Bear Island, while Donnelley's harvest was 21 bucks and 36 does. Harrigal noted that several wildlife openings are planted in winter grains to facilitate deer harvest.

The 4,630-acre Botany Bay Plantation WMA, located on Edisto Island is now managed by DNR. Limited draw still gun hunts will be offered on the area. Deer limits and restrictions are the same as those listed for Bear Island and Donnelley WMAs. Hunters must bring their own portable stands and no lodging or camping facilities are available on site. For more information on Donnelley, Bear Island, or Botany Bay Plantation WMAs call, (843) 844-8957.

Hunts for deer will be held on half of the 10,700-acre Bonneau Ferry WMA located in Berkeley County along the eastern branch of the Cooper River near the town of Cordesville. Hunters can hunt as much or as little as interested in order to harvest an allowance of three deer (only one may be a buck). The 25 randomly selected hunters may hunt anywhere on the designated side of 5,350-acres. No stands are provided, and 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 DNR Wildlife Biologist Will Carlisle, located at the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau, 36 bucks and 19 does were harvested on draw hunts from the area during the 2007 season. For more information call, (843) 825-3388. There is no lodging or camping facilities on site.

The 6,757-acre Palachucola WMA, located in Hampton and Jasper counties, and the 13,281-acre Hamilton Ridge WMA, located in Hampton County, offer the same style of hunting as Donnelley and Bear Island WMA, as well as the same bag limits and buck restrictions. A location for primitive camping, and a skinning shed are provided at each location during your selected hunt period. No meals, lodging, nor permanent stands are provided. According to DNR Wildlife Biologist Jay Cantrell, "Antler restrictions have also allowed for nicer bucks to be harvested from the area." Hunters harvested 24 bucks and 25 does from Palachucola WMA, along with 36 bucks and 66 does from Hamilton Ridge last season.

The 5,866-acre Webb WMA in Hampton County offers additional amenities for those who are unable, or do not want to deal with the scouting and erecting of climbing stands. For the $125 application fee, hunters are 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, Bear Island, Palachucola, Hamilton Ridge, and Botany Bay Plantation WMAs. Also included in the package are accommodations and meals (supper and breakfast) at the Webb Center lodge. Over one hundred permanent stands are located on the WMA with a random drawing held for stand selection. Staff transports you to and from the stand, cleans any harvested deer or hogs and hangs them in a cooler during your stay. 46 bucks and 55 does were harvested from Webb WMA last season. For more information on Palachucola, Hamilton Ridge or Webb WMA hunts call, (803) 625-3569.

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.