Changes for turkey hunting in South Carolina

Turkey hunting in South Carolina undergoing regulation changes

Turkey hunting in South Carolina is undergoing some changes. The SCDNR wants to remind hunters of several important updates to turkey hunting season in South Carolina. Charles Ruth, big game biologist with the agency, addresses some of the changes in the above video.

One big change in the new turkey hunting regulations in South Carolina is that hunters can no longer “double up.” In years past, hunters in South Carolina could wait for two toms to line up perfectly, then kill them both with one shot. It is no longer legal to kill two turkeys on the same hunt, either in the manner just described or any other way.

Not only can hunters kill only one bird per hunt, they can also only kill one during the first 10 days of the season.

New turkey season dates are as follows:

  • Private lands in Game Zones 1 and 2: April 1 – May 10
  • Private lands in Game Zones 3 and 4: March 22 – April 30
  • WMA lands statewide: April 1 – May 5 (refer to page 64 in the 2019-2020 SCDNR Hunting Regulations Guide for specific WMA dates/regulations as some are more restrictive than others)

Bag limits on private lands and WMAs

For South Carolina resident hunters:

  • Three (3) gobblers per season, no more than one (1) per day
  • No more than one (1) may be harvested from April 1-10 on private land and WMAs in Game Zones 1 & 2.
  • No more than one (1) may be harvested from March 22-31 on private land in Game Zone 3 & 4

For non-resident hunters:

  • Two (2) gobblers per season, no more than one (1) gobbler per day.
  • No more than one (1) may be harvested from April 1-10 on private land and WMAs in Game Zones 1 & 2.

No more than one (1) may be harvested from March 22-31 on private land in Game Zone 3 & 4.

Fees for Turkey Tags:

  • Residents: $5 for a set of 3 tags.
  • Nonresidents: $100 for a set of 2.

Youth, Lifetime, Senior, Gratis & Disability licensees may receive a free set of tags by request.

**Turkey tag fees are dedicated and will be used for wild turkey research, turkey habitat management, and costs associated with production and distribution of turkey tags. Fees will also help with administration of the upcoming electronic harvest reporting program. This program will begin during the 2021 turkey season.

2020 Youth Turkey Hunting Days:

For youths 17 years old and younger. Youth hunters who have not completed the hunter education program must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age. No license or tags required for youth or adult on these designated youth days. Adult may call or guide. Only the youth may take or attempt to take.

Private Lands in Game Zones 1 and 2: March 28-29 – Limit one (1) gobbler total for the weekend which counts towards the season limit.

Private Lands in Game Zones 3 and 4: March 14-15 – Limit one (1) gobbler total for the weekend which counts towards the season limit.

Wildlife Management Areas: March 28 Limit one (1) gobbler total which counts towards the season limit.

All WMAs normally open to turkey hunting except: Bear Island, Donnelley, Keowee, Santee Coastal Reserve, Santee Cooper, Hatchery Waterfowl Area, Bonneau Ferry, Belfast, Wateree River HP.

Pay close attention to each of your turkey tags

If you’ve already ordered or requested their turkey tags, they should begin arriving in mailboxes the week of Feb. 17.

Hunters can purchase tags online or by phone anytime. They will also be available over the counter beginning March 2 at SCDNR offices. These offices are located in Clemson, York, Florence, Charleston and West Columbia (The Market).

If you have purchased or requested tags and don’t receive them by early March, please reach out to SCDNR Licensing at (803) 734-3833.

Once you receive your tags, please read them carefully and become familiar with them. Due to the staggered season dates in different game zones and WMAs and the limitation on harvest during the first 10 days of the season, each tag is different. Depending on when and where you are hunting, tags may not necessarily be used in the order they are printed.

Please refer to the detailed information on the back of your tag form and the 2019-2020 Hunting Regulations Guide for all laws and regulations for turkey hunting in South Carolina.

 

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