Special youth turkey hunting dates have some special rules
South Carolina’s opening youth weekend of the 2021 turkey season was this past Saturday and Sunday. Lots of youth hunters in Game Zones 3 and 4 cashed in, killing nice gobblers before the pressure of the regular hunting season kicked in.
That regular season began Monday, March 22 for Game Zones 3 and 4, which has brought up a good question from several of our readers. The question concerns the regulation that states hunters cannot kill more than one turkey during the first 10 days of the season. That rule was added during the 2020 season, and is still in place.
The specific question we got from numerous readers is this: if a youth hunter kills a turkey during the special youth season, does that mean they can’t shoot another turkey until after the 10th day of the season has passed? Some of our readers reported asking two different game wardens and getting two different answers. Perhaps they didn’t all word their questions clearly, and perhaps those game wardens they were speaking to didn’t completely understand what they were asking.
Let the youths hunt!
But the answer is crystal clear. Youth hunters in Game Zones 3 and 4 who killed a turkey this past weekend can absolutely shoot another turkey without waiting 10 days. The answer lies in the wording of the law which specifically states hunters may kill “no more than one from March 22 – 31 on private land in Game Zones 3 & 4.”
Because youth season did not fall in those dates, anything they killed does not hinder them from pulling the trigger on another turkey this week. However, the turkey they killed during youth season DOES count toward their season limit of three (for residents) or two (nonresidents).
And for youth turkey hunters in Game Zones 1 and 2, the same applies. Their youth season is March 27 – 28. And the regulation states hunters in those zones can kill “no more than one from April 1 – 10 in Game Zones 1 & 2.” Since youth season does not fall between April 1 – 10, a harvest during youth weekend does not preclude them from dropping another one in the first ten days of the regular season.
So don’t tell those youth hunters they have to wait to take another jake or longbeard. What they killed on youth day applies to their season limit, but it does not stop them from shooting another turkey during the first 10 days of the regular season in their game zones.
For more information on South Carolina’s 2021 turkey hunting season, click here.
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