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July 30, 2010

Coastal draw deer hunts opportunities available

Several draw deer hunting opportunities exist throughout the Lowcountry, but do not let the deadline for applications slip up on you. Draw hunts for still deer hunting occur on the following coastal Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's): Bear Island, Bonneau Ferry, Donnelley, Hamilton Ridge, Palachucola, Webb, and Botany Bay Plantation. For just $25 per hunter one can enjoy two and a half days of still gun hunting for deer on one of the above listed WMA's except for Webb Center. Hunting on the six coastal areas (except Webb Center), begins with an orientation at 1 p.m. on the first day of the hunt and ends on the evening of the third day.

Located in Colleton County, the 12,028 acre Bear Island WMA and the 8,048 acre Donnelley WMA both offer quality hunting without the crowd. The limit is three deer; however only one buck may be harvested and it must have at least 4 points on one side or a 12 inch minimum outside spread. Spike bucks are not legal. Hunters must bring their own portable stands. A primitive campground is located at Bear Island. Wildlife Biologist Dean Harrigal, located at Donnelley WMA, believes the antler restrictions make a difference in the quality of bucks harvested from the area. In order to increase the harvest of antlerless deer on Donnelley WMA, an antlerless only draw hunt has also been scheduled. Several wildlife openings are planted in winter grains to facilitate deer harvest," according to Harrigal.

The 4,687 acre Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area/Heritage Preserve, located on Edisto Island will conduct limited draw still gun hunts. Deer limits and restrictions are the same as Bear Island and Donnelley WMA's. Hunters must bring their own portable stands and no lodging or camping facilities are available on site. For more information on Donnelley, Bear Island, or Botany Bay Plantation call (843) 844-8957.

Hunts for deer will be held on half of the 10,700 acre Bonneau Ferry WMA located in Berkeley County along the eastern branch of the Cooper River near the town of Cordesville. You can hunt as much or as little as you like in order to harvest your allowance of three deer (only one may be a buck). The 25 randomly selected hunters may hunt anywhere on the designated side of 5,350 acres. No stands are provided therefore hunters must use their own climbing stands. Several wildlife openings have been planted in small grains. For more information call (843) 825-3388. There is no lodging or camping facilities on site.

The 6,757 acre Palachucola WMA located in Hampton and Jasper Counties and the 13,281 acre Hamilton Ridge WMA located in Hampton County offer the same style of hunting as Donnelley and Bear Island as well as the same bag limits and buck restrictions. A location for primitive camping, and a skinning shed are provided at each location during your selected hunt period. No meals, lodging, nor permanent stands are provided. According to Wildlife Biologist Jay Cantrell, "antler restrictions have also allowed for nicer bucks to be harvested from the area."

The 5,866 acre Webb WMA in Hampton County offers more than just a quality hunting experience. For those who are unable, or do not want to deal with the scouting and erecting of climbing stands, this hunt is for you. For the $125 application fee, one is able to hunt for one afternoon and the following morning. The limit is two deer per hunter, only one may be a buck, with the same antler restrictions as Donnelley, Bear Island, Palachucola, Hamilton Ridge, and Botany Bay Plantation. Also included in the package are accommodations and meals (supper and breakfast) at the Webb Center lodge. Over one hundred permanent stands are located on the WMA with a random drawing held for stand selection. Staff transports you to and from the stand, cleans any harvested deer or hogs and hangs them in a cooler during your stay. A three day draw archery only deer hunt at Webb WMA will occur in November for the cost of $50.00. Meals and lodge accommodations are not provided during this hunt. For more information on Palachucola, Hamilton Ridge or Webb hunts call (803) 625-3569.

All WMA rules and regulations apply for these hunts. If you want a chance to harvest a quality buck or just some meat for the freezer, try one of the coastal draw deer hunts. The crowds are limited and the application fee is a lot cheaper than today's hunting lease rates. Applications are available online.

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