The S.C. Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with MeadWestvaco will conduct two youth deer hunts at the company’s Walworth Farms tract in Orangeburg County. The youth deer hunts are scheduled for Nov. 18 and Dec. 2. There will be eight youth participating in each hunt.
Applications for the Nov. 18 and Dec. 2 youth deer hunts are available from the Columbia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) office or the DNR Web site at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/hunting/huntyouth/youthdhunt.html. Applications can also be copied. Completed applications must be received at the Columbia DNR office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27 for the hunts. If parents have further questions, contact Willie Simmons, DNR wildlife biologist, at (803) 734-3898 in Columbia or e-mail SimmonsW@dnr.sc.gov.
The age requirements for these special youth deer hunts are 10 through 15, inclusive. There is no application fee or any other costs associated with these hunts and since all participants must be age 15 and under, a hunting license will not be required. Young people who have an interest in trying deer hunting, but have not had previous opportunities because they lacked a hunting connection should certainly apply.
All DNR youth deer hunts will be on Saturday afternoons and will conclude at sunset. At each hunt, there will be a brief discussion of deer biology and the role of hunting in wildlife management along with detailed comments regarding sportsmanship and hunter ethics. There will be a thorough review of firearms safety. More detailed instructions and directions to the hunt sites will be provided to applicants who are selected based on a random drawing.
Sportsmen’s children are certainly welcome to apply for the hunts, but are encouraged to bring another youth who has never been deer hunting or has very limited hunting experience. One of the best ways to recruit new youth hunters is through their friends and family that already participate in hunting activities.
“We support youth sportsmen in encouraging one or more of their friends, who do not hunt, to apply for our youth hunts,” Simmons said. “DNR especially wants to introduce these new hunters to the challenges, thrills and enjoyment associated with hunting. Equally important, we want to make sure this introduction is done safely and ethically.” Both youth sportsmen and new hunters who wish to apply for these hunts must fully complete and return an application that includes a questionnaire about their hunting experience and a completed liability wavier form. Their legal guardian must sign both the application and liability wavier form.