Wildlife - Deer

Public Sentiment Related to Buck Limits and Tagging Programs
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Executive Summary – December, 2010

Introduction

For a number of years many South Carolina deer hunters have expressed concern over the unregulated harvest of antlered bucks in the state. Although there is a 5-buck season limit prescribed in law in the two upstate Game Zones (Game Zones 1 and 2) these limits have never been enforceable. In the four coastal plain Game Zones (3, 4, 5 and 6) there is no daily or seasonal limit on antlered deer. Many hunters feel that this situation leads to overexploitation of bucks, particularly young bucks, resulting in a poor overall management approach. There has been increasing interest among hunters in reducing harvest pressure on antlered deer which should result in more total antlered deer, having the opportunity to see and harvest more mature bucks, and having a more balanced adult sex ratio. Limiting buck harvest may also shift harvest emphasis towards female deer in parts of the state where better population control is needed. Hunters have encouraged the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to recommend and implement a statewide limit on bucks including appropriate law enforcement measures to provide enforcement for such a limit. The following summarizes agency efforts to determine public sentiment on these issues.

Research Related to Buck Limits and Deer Tagging Programs
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Executive Summary – December, 2010

Introduction

SC Code of Laws 50-3-80 charges the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) with continuously investigating the game and fish conditions of the State and the laws relating thereto, and to recommend legislation and other action by the General Assembly in its judgment conducive to the conservation of wildlife. The Statewide Deer Research and Management Project (Deer Project) within the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of SCDNR is responsible for monitoring the state’s deer resource. To that end, SCDNR has conducted numerous research projects related to deer. The following summarizes research with implications to the issue of a statewide limit on bucks including the implementation of appropriate law enforcement measures to provide enforcement for such a limit.

Charles Ruth - Deer Project Supervisor

SCDNR Deer Project
P. O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202-0167
Phone: 803-734-3886
Fax: 803-734-6020

E-mail: RuthC@dnr.sc.gov