Quail and rabbit hunters had about the same amount of success during the 2008-2009 season as in previous years, and according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Small Game Project, the hot spots for both species remained about the same.
Quail hunters continued to have the most success in upper coastal plain counties with “sandhills” habitat, while rabbit hunters did their best work in counties scattered from the Midlands to the Lowcountry.
Top counties for bobwhites were: Clarendon, Sumter, Lee, Horry and Darlington. Hunters in those counties, along with Dillon and Florence, flushed an average of just less than one covey (.93) per hour of hunting and took .6 birds per hour. The overall leader was Clarendon County, where hunters flushed 1.63 coveys per hour and killed 1.1 quail per hour.
Hunters in the Midlands had the most trouble finding bobwhites, flushing about one covey for every eight hours afield.
Top rabbit counties were: Saluda, Lee, Greenwood, Hampton and Allendale. Hunters in Saluda County jumped an average of 2.68 rabbits per hour afield, while the statewide average rose from 1.35 to 1.37 from the previous season.
The Midlands had an average of more than 1.4, while hunters in the Pee Dee region had the roughest time at slightly less than one rabbit per hour.
Eighty percent of all rabbits jumped were cottontails, followed by marsh rabbits (12 percent) and swamp rabbits (8 percent).
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