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August 13, 2010

Aiken County wildlife area opens to public in September

Aiken County's Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve will open to the public on the following Saturdays this fall: Sept. 4, 11, 18 and 25. Scouting, some non-consumptive uses, and fishing will be allowed. No weapons will be permitted during this period.

Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve consists of 10,470 acres owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. Crackerneck is in Aiken County along the Savannah River and lies south of the town of Jackson, off SC 125. Access is through the check station gate off Brown Road.

For a detailed map of the Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve including specific rules and regulations, contact the S.C. Department of Natural Resources office in Aiken County at (803) 725-3663. You may also request the map by e-mail. Please include your name and postal mailing address and e-mail it to CaudellM@dnr.sc.gov.

Hunters will be able to scout the area prior to the commencement of hunts in October. Anyone unfamiliar with the property, but interested in hunting the area this season, should take advantage of these open dates to scout Crackerneck. Habitat changes resulting from timber harvests, prescribed burning and road creation make it advisable for seasoned hunters to also scout prior to the hunt season.

Some non-consumptive uses such as sightseeing, bird watching, hiking, nature photography, mountain biking and horseback riding will be allowed on these dates. Mountain bikes and horses are restricted to the 50-mile designated road system. Camping is not permitted.

The eight-acre Skinface Pond will be open for fishing beginning Saturday, Sept. 4 with the limit on largemouth bass set at two per person per day with a 14-inch minimum. Bluegill limits will be the same as state creel limits—30 fish. Limited bank-fishing opportunities are available at Skinface Pond, so small boats are recommended to improve success. Fishing will also be allowed in three small lakes within the Savannah River swamp, but these require a jon boat for access. No fishing, boating, or other uses are allowed in Upper Three Runs Creek.

The Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve entrance gate will open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. during the open dates of Sept. 4, 11, 18 and 25. All individuals using Crackerneck are required to sign in before entering the area and sign out before leaving. Anyone not following this procedure will be considered trespassing.

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