South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill 454 into law last week, making some pretty drastic changes to the state’s deer hunting regulations. While the changes impact South Carolina’s hunters in a big way, it also affects North Carolina hunters that head south of the border every fall to take advantage of what has been the most liberal deer hunting laws in the nation.
In the past, South Carolina did not require hunters to tag antlered deer, and in much of the Palmetto State, no enforceable limit existed on bucks. That is changing as of the 2017 deer hunting season. Every antlered, as well as non-antlered deer, will need to be tagged upon harvest. On top of that, every hunter will be limited in the number of tags they will receive each hunting season.
How else will this new law change things for tarheel hunters who carry their deer rifles into South Carolina’s outdoors? It’s going to hit them in the wallet. Instead of needing just a non-resident hunting license and a big game permit, hunters visiting South Carolina will now essentially have to pay for every deer their shoot.
After paying the annual nonresident hunting fee of $125, plus a big game permit cost of $100, visiting hunters in South Carolina will also pay $50 for their first antlered deer tag, then $20 for each additional antlered deer. A maximum of four antlered deer tags can be issued to out-of-state hunters.
Another big change is that two of those four antlered deer tags will have antler restrictions. For those two deer, they must have a minimum of four points on one antler, or a minimum 12-inch inside antler spread.
For anterless deer, nonresident hunters will pay $10 per tag. And antlerless deer will only be allowed to be harvested on certain, predetermined dates, even with tags.
These changes will take place as of the 2017 deer hunting season.