Upstate bear hunters have more options than ever
Additional opportunities have been added for hunters in South Carolina this bear season.
For the first time, private land in the southern portions of Oconee, Pickens and Greenville counties (south of Game Zone 1) and all of Spartanburg County (Game Zone 2) will have a bear season.
This portion of Game Zone 2 will open for still hunting only (no dogs) on Oct. 17. The season will potentially run until Oct. 30.
A harvest quota of 20 bears has been set for this area. If the quota is met prior to Oct. 30, the season will close 24 hours following a season closure notice by SCDNR. These notices will be provided via dnr.sc.gov, social media and email alerts.
This additional opportunity is a direct result of the healthy and robust bear population in the mountains and upper Piedmont that continues to grow and expand its range.
Bear season in Game Zone 1, the northern portions of Oconee, Pickens and Greenville Counties, is unchanged from years past. Hunters in Game Zone 1 have a one week still hunting season from Oct. 17 – 23. They also have a one week party dog season from Oct. 24 – 30.
Pee Dee and Grand Strand hunters also have bear hunting opportunities
Hunters in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand area have opportunities to bear hunt, as well.
A portion of Game Zone 4, including Horry, Georgetown, Marion and Williamsburg counties will open for still hunting only (no dogs) on Oct. 17. That season will potentially run until Oct. 30.
A harvest quota of 30 bears has been set for this area. If the quota is met prior to Oct. 30, the season will close 24 hours following a season closure notice by SCDNR.
Hunters are responsible for monitoring season status and all harvested bears must be reported by midnight on day of harvest. Hunters can report harvested bears or check the season status by calling: 1-844-SC1-BEAR (1-844-721-2327) or going tohttp://www.dnr.sc.gov/bearcheck.
The statewide bag limit is 1 bear, with no sows with cubs and no bears 100 lbs. or less allowed.
For the privilege of hunting bear, in addition to the required hunting license and big game permit, a hunter must obtain a bear tag issued in his/her name at a cost of $25 for residents and $100 for nonresidents.
Youth under the age of 16 are required to obtain a youth bear tag from SCDNR at no cost.
Bear tags are available over the counter at SCDNR offices in Charleston, Clemson, West Columbia, Florence and York. Tags can be also be ordered by telephone at 1-866-714-3611 or online.