The one that will most affect sportsmen has tasked the S.C. Department of Natural Resources with changing the way fishing and hunting licenses are sold. Instead of the license year running from July 1 to June 30, licenses will soon be sold for a 365-day period. You purchase a license in time for your Labor Day weekend dove hunt, and instead of it running out at the end of the next June, it ends a year to the day from when you bought it.
This is a fantastic piece of legislation that SCDNR will phase in over the next couple of years, and it makes total sense. You purchase an annual hunting license, and it should cover every season for the next 365 days. It should encourage out-of-state hunters to visit South Carolina more regularly, especially those who purchase a hunting license before turkey season, knowing that it will no longer be out-of-date a couple of months after the last gobbler is tagged and a couple of months before the first buck has to dodge a bullet.
One piece of legislation passed will certainly streamline the regulations process, while one could be very interesting in that there's a potential conflict with the federal government.
The legislature passed a much-needed bill that will set a statewide daily creel limit on flounder instead of having different limits along different parts of South Carolina's coastline. The 15-fish daily creel limit is a gracious plenty for any fisherman who likes an occasional flounder filet or sandwich, and doing away with the 10-fish limit for the Georgetown area and the 20-fish daily limit for the rest of the state just makes things easier for fishermen and marine law enforcement alike.
A bill that sets up a year-round black sea bass season in state waters (three miles or closer to the beach) may wind up being very interesting, in that it seems to circumvent the process of fisheries management by the federal government of migratory species. There's no question that the recovery of the black sea bass population has been a fisheries success story, and plenty of fish are there for the catching, except that the federal government's recovery plans haven't run their course yet.
Will there be a test case in which federal fisheries managers question whether a state can regulate migratory fish in its waters with regulations far more liberal than those in federal waters? Louisiana is also setting itself up in a similar situation with red snapper regs that don't match those in federal waters. It could be an interesting question