Several draw deer hunting opportunities are offered throughout the Lowcountry, with an upcoming deadline of Aug. 17 for submitting applications.
Draw hunts for still deer hunting occur on the following coastal Wildlife Management Areas, that are managed by S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR): Bear Island, Bonneau Ferry, Donnelley, Hamilton Ridge, Palachucola, and the Webb Center.
For a $25 application fee per hunter, one can participate in two and a half days of still gun hunting for deer and an occasional hog on all of the above listed Wildlife Management Areas, with the exception of the Webb Center. Hunting on the five coastal areas, except the Webb Center, begins with an orientation at 1 p.m. on the first day of the hunt and ends on the evening of the third day.
All Wildlife Management Area rules and regulations apply for these hunts. Applications are available online at www.scdnr.sc.gov, at all DNR offices, or by calling any of the numbers listed below with each Wildlife Management Area description. The 12,028-acre Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, located in Colleton County, was recently placed on the draw system to enable hunters the opportunity to experience a quality hunt without overcrowded conditions. The limit is three deer, however, only one buck may be harvested and it must have at least four 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 on site for those interested in camping during their hunt. The 8,048-acre Donnelley Wildlife Management Area is also located in Colleton County. Some permanent stands are available for use, but climbing stands are encouraged. Primitive camping is available at nearby Bear Island Wildlife Management Area.
DNR wildlife biologist Dean Harrigal believes the antler restrictions make a difference in the quality of bucks harvested from the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area. "Eighteen bucks and 64 does were harvested from the area last year," Harrigal said. "Numerous wildlife openings are planted in winter grains to facilitate deer harvest."
For more information on Donnelley or Bear Island Wildlife Management Areas, call (843) 844-8957.
The 6,757-acre Palachucola Wildlife Management Area, located in Hampton and Jasper counties, and the 13,281-acre Hamilton Ridge Wildlife Management Area, located in Hampton County, offer the same style of hunting as that in Donnelley and Bear Island, 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, or permanent stands are provided.
DNR wildlife biologist Jay Cantrell said: "Antler restrictions have also allowed for nicer bucks to be harvested from the area. Hunters harvested 34 bucks and 40 does from Palachucola along with 19 bucks and 44 does from Hamilton Ridge last season."
Hunts for deer will be held on half of the 10,700-acre Bonneau Ferry Wildlife Management Area located in Berkeley County along the eastern branch of the Cooper River near the town of Cordesville. Hunters may hunt as much or as little as they like in order to harvest the allowance of three deer, but only one may be a buck. The 25 randomly elected hunters may hunt anywhere on the designated side of 5,350-acres. No stands are provided, so 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. No lodging or camping facilities exist on site.
DNR wildlife biologist Will Carlisle, located at the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau, noted that a total of 24 bucks and 16 does were harvested on draw hunts from the area during the 2006 season. For more information, call (843) 825-3388.
The 5,866-acre Webb Wildlife Management Area in Hampton County offers more than just a quality hunting experience. This hunt is suitable for those who are unable or do not want to scout for and erect climbing stands. For the $100 application fee, one is 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, and Hamilton Ridge. Also included in the package are accommodations and meals, supper and breakfast, at the Webb Center lodge. More than 100 permanent stands are located on the Wildlife Management Area with a random drawing held for stand selection. Staff transports hunters to and from the stand, cleans any harvested deer or hogs and hangs them in a cooler during the participant's stay.
Cantrell noted that 56 bucks and 97 does were harvested from Webb Wildlife Management Area last season. In addition to the 17 standard draw still gun hunts on the area, the Webb Center alsooffers a draw primitive weapons hunt with the same accommodations, except that hunters may bring their own portable stand or use one of the Webb Center's permanent stands. For more information on Palachucola, Hamilton Ridge or the Webb Wildlife Management Area hunts, call (803) 625-3569.