Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on SC Fishing and Hunting Licenses

Where can I purchase a hunting or fishing license?

  1. At a DNR regional office. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence, York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia.
  2. Online by visiting our website using the link below: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/legallicense.html
  3. By Calling 1-866-714-3611
  4. At one of over 500 license vendors located across the state.

Where can I find a DNR Regional office ?

DNR has two full service offices located in downtown Columbia and in Charleston on James Island. These offices process all boating transactions (to include transfers, new boats, boats coming from out of state, renewals and duplicate decals and registration cards), and issue hunting and fishing licenses, permits and tags.

DNR also has 4 express offices located in Clemson, Florence, York and DNR at the Market located in West Columbia at the SC State Farmer's Market. At an express office you can renew your boat, purchase duplicate boat or motor decals, registration cards and purchase hunting and fishing license permits and tags.

What information do I need to purchase my license?

A valid driver's license or picture ID is required when purchasing a hunting or fishing license. If you plan to purchase a resident license you must present a valid SC driver's license or SC state issued ID card. If you are purchasing a license for the first time you will be required to provide your full social security number. If you have your customer ID number available that is helpful. All information previously provided to SCDNR will be displayed if your customer ID number is used. Having your customer ID number also helps to prevent creating a duplicate customer record in the SCDNR system.

If you were born after June 30, 1979 and are purchasing a hunting license, you must present a certificate of completion for a hunter education course.

Why do I have to provide my social security number to purchase a license?

As part of the Child Support Enforcement Act, SC Code 63-17-1080 and Federal law 42 USCA 666 (a)(13), you are required to provide your social security number to purchase a hunting or fishing license. This law requires a licensing agency to provide this information to the Child Support Enforcement Unit of the Department of Social Services to establish, modify and enforce child support orders.

SCDNR does not release any of your personal information for commercial or solicitation purposes. All information collected by SCDNR is maintained in a secure environment. Once you have provided all required information a customer ID number is created. For future purchases you will only have to provide your customer ID number, date of birth and picture ID. For residents of SC you must provide a valid SC driver's license or SC state issued ID card.

How do I change my address?

If you do not have an active boat or motor in our system associated with your customer ID number you may update your address information at the time you purchase your new hunting or fishing license. Make sure to update all of your information, to include county of residence, phone number, and email address. Verify that all of your personal information is also correct.

If you own a boat or motor you can only change your address by notifying SCDNR. You may complete a change of address form and submit it to our office.

Why is it important to provide my email address?

SCDNR offers updates on various topics about our agency and its programs. You will receive a notification allowing you to subscribe to topics that interest you. When information is sent out about the topics you select, you will receive those notifications. You can unsubscribe or add additional subscriptions at any time.

When does my license expire?

Recreational licenses expire either one year or three years from date of purchase. Hunting tags (deer tags, bear tags, turkey tags), commercial licenses, shrimp licenses, special permits and nongame fish tags are valid for one season only and must be purchased for each season. Annual tags and permits will expire on June 30th each year.

It is the responsibility of each person before engaging in any hunting or fishing activity to verify they have a valid license, permit or tag for that activity. Privileges for various licenses may expire on different dates if not purchased at the same time.

Am I eligible to purchase a resident hunting or fishing license?

In order to qualify as a resident of SC you must have a valid SC driver's license or SC state issued ID card. If you possess a driver's license from another state you are considered a resident of that state and must purchase nonresident licenses. The only exemption for residency is a full time student or active duty military and their dependents stationed in SC for 60 days or longer. Ownership of property does not automatically qualify you as a resident of SC.

For temporary, annual and 3 year hunting and fishing licenses you must have been a resident for 30 days. For a Lifetime license you must have been a resident for 180 days. For a disability license you must have been a resident for 365 days. For commercial licenses you must have been a resident for 365 days before you can purchase a commercial license. We use the date of issue on your SC driver's license or state issued ID card to determine the length of time you have been in South Carolina.

Residency requirements listed here are used by SCDNR to determine the type of hunting or fishing licenses you can purchase. These residency requirements may vary with other governmental agencies.

At what age is a hunting or fishing license required?

At age 16 you are required to purchase hunting and fishing licenses. If you were born after June 30, 1979 you must complete a hunter education course before you are allowed to purchase a hunting license.

Am I required to take a hunter education course?

If you were born after June 30, 1979 you are required to complete a hunter education course prior to purchasing a hunting license. You must present certification of completion of the course when purchasing a hunting license. SCDNR accepts hunter education certifications issued by all other states.

A lifetime license including hunting privileges purchased for a minor born after June 30, 1979 is not valid until the individual completes a hunter education course.

For more information on hunter education please visit www.dnr.sc.gov/education/hunted.html

What if I have not completed a hunter education course but would like to hunt?

You may take a one-time exemption and purchase an apprentice license. With the apprentice license you must be accompanied by a licensed hunter 21 years or older with no hunting violations. You must be within hearing and speaking distance of that hunter. The apprentice license covers hunting only. If you hunt deer, bear, or turkey you must purchase a big game permit also, along with any other required licenses or permits for the activities you are participating in.

If you complete a hunter education course before the apprentice license expires, the apprentice license will then act as a regular state hunting license and you do not have to be accompanied by another hunter. You must carry certification of completion of the hunter education course.

I am an international customer, how can I purchase a hunting or fishing license?

You may purchase a license by presenting a passport, international driver's license or international identification card, you will not be required to provide a social security number. Non-resident license fees will apply.

There is an option for international customers within our licensing sales portal.

I am in the military stationed in SC, can I purchase resident licenses?

Military personnel and their dependents stationed in SC for 60 days or longer are eligible to purchase resident licenses.

Residents of SC stationed outside of the state may upon presentation of their official leave papers are allowed to hunt (small game only) and fish in fresh and saltwater without purchasing a license. Any other licenses and tags needed must be purchased at resident prices.

I am a nonresident attending school in SC, can I purchase resident licenses?

Full time students are eligible to purchase resident licenses. You must present your current student ID card as proof you are attending school in South Carolina.

I purchased my license online but didn't print my payment receipt, what can I do?

You may hunt/fish using your sc.gov order number and a picture id until your license arrives. You will be mailed a hard copy of your license within 5 to 7 days following your date of purchase.

Hunting tags and nongame fish tags must be in your possession before they can be used. Tags will be mailed within 3 to 5 days from the time of purchase.

If you do not have your sc.gov order number you may contact the Licensing Section at (803) 734-3833 Monday – Friday, 8:30 am until 4:50 pm. The Licensing staff can provide you with your sc.gov order number.

I lost my license, how can I get a duplicate copy?

You may purchase a duplicate license for $3.00 at any DNR Regional office or at one of over 500 license sales vendors located across the state.

DNR Regional offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence, York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia.

There is no charge for duplicate lifetime, disability or commercial licenses. You can request a duplicate lifetime or disability license by calling (803) 734-3833 or emailing us at licensing@dnr.sc.gov

How can I request duplicate tags? This includes nongame fish tags (trotlines, traps, hoop nets, gill nets),
bear tags, deer tags and shrimp baiting pole tags.

You may request duplicate tags in person at a DNR Regional office for $1.00 per tag. Duplicate nongame fish tags for nonresidents are $5.00. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence, York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia

You may also request tags in the mail by completing a request for duplicate tags. Download an Request for Duplicate License or Permit.

For nongame fish tags, we must have the tag number that was lost. This tag will be voided from our system and a new tag will be issued to you.

What is required to apply for a disability license?

Residents of SC may apply for a disability license by mail or in person at a DNR Regional office. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence , York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia. In order to qualify for a disability license you must be declared disabled and receiving disability benefits from one of the following agencies:

  • Federal Civil Service
  • Medicaid or Railroad Retirement
  • SC State Retirement System
  • Social Security Administration
  • Veterans Affairs (the VA)

In order to qualify for a disability license you must have been a resident for 365 days. We must have a completed application, a photocopy of your SC driver's license or SC state issued ID card and current proof (dated within the past 12 months) stating you are disabled and receiving benefits.

The license will be valid for 3 years and includes the privileges of hunting, big game, WMA permit, migratory waterfowl permit and fresh and saltwater fishing.

Download a Disability License Application

I am disabled and just moved to SC.

(See above) In order to qualify for a disability license you must have been a resident of SC for 365 days. You may apply for your disability license one year from the date of issue on your SC driver's license or state issued ID card.

How do I renew my disability license?

In order to renew your disability license you must submit an application, completed and signed along with a photocopy of your SC driver's license or SC state issued ID card and current proof that you are disabled and receiving benefits. Proof of disability must be dated within the past twelve months.

If you are 64 years or older, how can you apply for a Lifetime License?

You may apply for a lifetime license by mail or you may apply in person at a DNR Regional office. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence, York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia.

In order to qualify for a lifetime license you must have been a resident for 180 days. We must have an application, completed and signed, along with a photocopy of your SC driver's license or state issued ID card and $9.00.

The license will never expire and includes the privileges of hunting, big game, WMA permit, migratory waterfowl permit, set hook permit and fresh and saltwater fishing.

Download a Liftime License Application

I am over 64 and just moved to SC.

(See above) In order to qualify for a lifetime license you must have been a resident of SC for 180 days. You may apply for your lifetime license 180 days from the date of issue on your SC driver's license or SC state issued ID card.

I lost my disability or lifetime license, how can I get another copy?

You may request a duplicate copy in person at any DNR Regional office. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence, York or DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia.

You may request a duplicate copy by calling 1-803-734-3833 or emailing us at licensing@dnr.sc.gov.

How can I apply for turkey tags?

You may request turkey tags at the time you purchase your license. Turkey tags will be mailed in February prior to the opening of turkey season.

Immediately prior to and during turkey season, you can pick up tags in person at a DNR Regional office only. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson , Florence, York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia

You may request your tags online or at one of our license sales vendors. Tags requested online or at a license vendor will be mailed from the Columbia office within 3 business days. It will take approximately 5 to7 days to receive your tags. You must have the tags in your possession before hunting turkey. A tag must be placed on the turkey at the point of harvest and must remain on the bird until processed.

How can I apply for antlerless deer tags?

You may request antlerless deer tags in person at a DNR Regional office. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence, York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market located in West Columbia . The tags are $ 5.00 per tag, you may purchase up to 4 tags.

You may also request tags by calling 1-866-714-3611, through the mail or online. If you would like to request tags through the mail there is an application located in the regulations brochure or you may download an application:

If you request tags online or through the mail, you cannot use them until they are in your possession. A tag must be placed on the deer at the point of harvest and remain on the deer until processed.

How can I apply for a shrimp baiting license?

You may request a shrimp baiting license and 10 pole tags in person at a DNR Regional office. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence, York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia. A shrimp baiting license is $25.00 for residents and $500.00 for nonresidents.

You may also request a shrimp baiting license through the mail or online. If you would like to request a shrimp baiting license through the mail there is an application in the regulations brochure or you may download an application.

If you request your shrimp baiting license online or through the mail it cannot be used until it is in your possession.

Shrimp baiting season lasts 60 days, the season varies each year and is set between September 1 and November 15. Consult our website or the regulations brochure for exact season dates.

Where can I purchase a Federal Duck Stamp?

A Federal duck stamp is required in addition to a hunting license, migratory bird permit and migratory waterfowl permit to hunt ducks and other migratory waterfowl.

You may purchase a Federal duck stamp at a DNR Regional office for $26.00. Offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Florence, York and DNR at the Market located at the SC State Farmer's Market in West Columbia.

Federal duck stamps are also available at other retail locations across the state.

How can I determine whether I am fishing in freshwater or saltwater?

There is a map of the official freshwater/saltwater dividing line available in the regulations brochure published annually by SCDNR.

You may also access the map of the freshwater/saltwater dividing line online.

As a general rule, US Highway 17 serves as the freshwater/saltwater dividing line. The ten exceptions to this rule are listed on our website and in the regulations brochure.

If fishing from a boat, does everyone need a license?

Yes, if you are fishing in a boat everyone 16 and older must have a fishing license in their possession. When fishing in a boat you may also have an unlimited number of lawful fishing devices.

When do I need a saltwater fishing license?

If you are fishing in saltwater, even from the shore, gathering oysters, clams, shrimp, or crabs you are required to purchase a recreational saltwater fishing license. We offer temporary, annual, and 3 year licenses for residents and nonresidents.

You are not required to purchase a saltwater fishing license to fish from a SCDNR licensed charter vessel or from a SCDNR licensed pier.

I own a store and I am interested in selling hunting and fishing licenses?

In order to sell hunting and fishing licenses the current owner must have been in business at the current location for at least 6 months. You must have a computer (operating system of Windows 7 or above) and internet service. You must also carry hunting and/or fishing supplies. SCDNR provides a license printer and all supplies needed to issue hunting and fishing licenses.

If you are interested in selling hunting and fishing licenses contact our office by emailing us at licensing@dnr.sc.gov or by calling (803) 734-3833. Ask to speak with the license coordinator. You may request a license vendor application and license vendor agreement. Once those documents have been completed, returned to SCDNR and verified, our license coordinator will schedule a visit to your store for approval and set-up.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the SCDNR License Section at licensing@dnr.sc.gov


Back to Top