The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has set a deadline of Sept. 27 for hunters to apply for four youth deer hunts on the Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve in Calhoun County and three on the Belfast WMA in Newberry County.

Dates for the Congaree Bluffs hunts are Oct. 26, Nov. 9, Nov. 16 and Dec. 7. Dates for the Belfast hunts are Oct. 12, Oct. 19 and Nov. 9. Completed applications must be received by SCDNR’s Columbia office by 5 p.m. on Sept. 27.

Age requirements for these special youth deer hunts are 17 and younger. 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.

Four youths will be allowed to participate in each Congaree Bluffs hunts, and 10 youths will be allowed on each of the Belfast hunts.

Applications are available from the Columbia SCDNR Office or the DNR website at www.dnr.sc.gov/hunting/huntyouth/youthdhuntapp.html. Applications can also be copied. Return to: SCDNR - Youth Deer Hunts, Attn: Willie Simmons, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202. If parents have further questions please contact DNR Wildlife Biologist Willie Simmons at 803-734-3898 or e-mail SimmonsW@dnr.sc.gov.

All SCDNR 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.