2016 - 2017 Regulations: Small Game

Small game includes the following species: quail, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, fox, beaver, bobcat, mink, muskrat, otter, skunk, grouse and weasel.

Unless otherwise specified in the small game seasons charts, hunt dates for these species are from Thanksgiving day through March 1.

Rabbit Boxes

It is unlawful for any person to trap rabbits, except that a landlord or tenant may use not more than five rabbit boxes on lands on which he has exclusive control during the gun season for rabbits. A hunting license is required to use rabbit boxes. Rabbit boxes are not permitted on WMA lands (50-11-160).

Running Seasons (No gun season)

During any period when rabbits, raccoons, opossums, squirrels or fox may be hunted without firearms, it is illegal to hunt such game when carrying on one's person any firearm.

Rabbit Running Enclosures

Legislation enabling the establishment of rabbit running enclosures was passed in 1993. As a result of this enabling legislation, the Department established guidelines for the establishment of rabbit running enclosures.

Bird Dog Training

Bird dogs may be trained year-round on private land. Trainers must have a valid hunting license and may only use firearms with blank ammunition during the closed season for quail. A Bird Dog Trainer's License is available to persons engaged in the business of training bird dogs in return for money, goods or services. This license allows a trainer and two assistants to take pen-raised quail, chukars and pheasant during the closed season while training dogs. Applicants must provide documentation of land areas to be used for training. For information, or to obtain a license, contact: SCDNR Small Game Project at P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or call 803-734-3609.

Field Trials

It is unlawful to conduct or participate in any field trial unless a permit for such trial has been obtained from the SCDNR. Requests for field trial permits must be submitted to SCDNR at least 14 days prior to the proposed trial date. Requests shall include payment of $5 per trial and the time and location of the proposed trial. A charter or document indicating that the trial is sanctioned by a nationally recognized field trial organization must accompany all requests for field trial permits.

For information, or to obtain a permit, contact SCDNR Small Game Project at P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or call 803-734-3609.

Crows

A hunting license is required to hunt crows. Crows are migratory birds and as such, are a federally-protected species. The season is based on criteria established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The open season for crows on private lands in South Carolina is November 1 - March 1. There is no bag limit. During the open season on private lands, crows may be taken with any firearm, bow and arrow, or by falconry. Crow hunting on WMA lands is permitted. During the open season for small game hunting on WMAs, crows may only be hunted with weapons legal for small game. The use of electronic calls for crow hunting is permitted statewide on private land and WMA land. Crows damaging crops may be taken at any time using non-toxic shot without a federal permit (50 CFR 21.43).

Species Game Zone Private Land Seasons WMA Seasons Limit
Mourning Doves All game zones September 3 - 5 (afternoons only)

September 6 - October 15, November 12 - 26,

December 15 - January 15
Public Dove List 12 per day
Crow All game zones November 1 - March 1 November 1 - March 1 No limit
Quail All game zones March 2 - November 20, 2016 (dogs only)

November 21, 2016 - March 1, 2017 (guns & dogs)

March 2 - November 19, 2017 (dogs only)
September 1 - 14 (dogs only)

November 21 - March 1 (guns & dogs)
12 per day
Rabbit All game zones March 2 - November 23, 2016 (dogs only)

November 24, 2016 - March 1, 2017 (guns & dogs)

March 2 - November 22, 2017 (dogs only)
September 1 - 14 (dogs only)

November 24 - March 1 (guns & dogs)
5 per day
Squirrel
(Grey and Fox)
All game zones March 2 - September 30, 2016 (dogs only)

October 1, 2016 - March 1, 2017 (guns & dogs)

March 2 - September 30, 2017 (dogs only)
No Fox Squirrels

September 1 - 14 (dogs only)

October 1 - March 1 (guns and dogs)
10 per day
Fox All game zones March 2 - November 23, 2016 (dogs only)

November 24, 2016 - March 1, 2017 (guns & dogs)

March 2 - November 22, 2017 (dogs only)
September 1 - November 23, 2016 (dogs only, night only)

November 24, 2016 - March 1, 2017 (guns & dogs, night only)
No limit
Beaver All game zones Year-round September 1 - March 1 No limit
Other Furbearers

(Bobcat, Otter, Mink, Muskrat, Skunk, Weasel)
All game zones November 24, 2016 - March 1, 2017 November 24, 2016 - March 1, 2017 No limit
Grouse Game Zone 1 only November 24, 2016 - March 1, 2017 November 24, 2016 - March 1, 2017 3 per day
Raccoon & Opossum All game zones March 16 - September 14, 2016 (dogs only)

September 15, 2016 - March 15, 2017 (guns & dogs)

March 16 - September 14, 2017 (dogs only)
September 1 - 14 (dogs only, night only)

September 15 - March 1 (guns & dogs, night only)
3 per party, per day

No limit for opossum

The 2016-2017 Small Game Hunting Regulations are also available as a downloadable document in the PDF format.