Deer tags being mailed to S.C. hunters now – with a big change

deer tags
South Carolina hunters should receive their 2019-20 deer tags by Aug. 1.

Antlerless tags are no longer date-specific

Hunting season is fast approaching. And South Carolina’s deer hunters should receive their deer tags over the course of the next two weeks. The state legislature and SCDNR expects one big change to make hunters happy.

Last year, hunters received eight date-specific antlerless deer tags which could only be used on certain days. This year, the SCDNR has replaced those eight tags with two antlerless tags. These two tags are valid on any date beginning Sept. 15 in Game Zones 2, 3, and 4; and starting Oct. 1 in Game Zone 1.

Last season, many hunters complained that the date-specific tags were too restrictive. If poor weather occurred on those days, it was difficult to hunt. And hunters who were working on those specific dates were out of luck. The SCDNR hopes the two “any date” tags will work out better.

Some hunters may complain that they’re losing six tags. But harvest statistics from past years show that 92 percent of South Carolina hunters typically harvest two or fewer antlerless deer each season. Also, like last year, hunters can still purchase up to four additional anterless deer tags for $5 each. And for those who buy all four optional tags, the SCDNR will give them two free bonus antlerless tags that are valid only on private land in Game Zones 3 and 4. This is to help cut down on damage done to agricultural crops by deer in those zones.

Buck regulations remain the same

Hunters will see no changes for antlered (buck) deer tags this year.

South Carolina residents that currently have annual, three-year hunting licenses with big game permits, combination licenses, or sportsman licenses that will be valid when deer season begins on Aug. 15 should automatically receive their base set of deer tags in the mail at no cost between now and Aug. 1.

SCDNR will be mailing out over 150,000 sets of tags over the next two weeks. The agency asks for patience from hunters, and requests they not contact them to inquire about the status of their tags until at least Aug. 1.

Click here to check the status of your hunting license

If you need to add deer tags to your license, remember that this cannot be done over-the-counter at tackle shops or Wal-Mart. SCDNR offices in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Florence, and York can add them for you. Hunters can also get them by phone (866-714-3611) or online by clicking here.

The SCDNR also points out that hunters with Lifetime, Senior/Gratis/Disability, or Youth licenses must request their deer tags annually. They will not be mailed out automatically. They can be requested at the link above or by calling 866-714-3611.

Click here for statistics on last season’s deer harvest in South Carolina.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1381 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.