Outdoor notes compiled while hoping no one tried to jump the gun on the opening of deer season in the Lowcountry.
--Today is the official opening day for deer season on some private lands in the Lowcountry, but there has been some confusion since opening day falls on a Sunday. An old law offered hunters the opportunity to start hunting a day early when the scheduled opening day was on a Sunday, but that law was repealed in 2008.
According to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the old law was a carryover from a time when Sunday hunting was prohibited in certain parts of the state. Now, the season for all game species opens on the date specified regardless of whether a Sunday is involved.
But to make things clear, hunting is prohibited on Sundays on all Wildlife Management Area lands; hunting on WMAs doesn't start for a few more weeks; and Sunday hunting for all game is legal on private lands statewide except for bear hunting in Game Zone 1.
The season in Game Zone 6, which includes Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, Jasper, Orangeburg counties, runs from Aug. 15-Jan. 1.
Check the DNR Rules and Regulations handbook (www.dnr.sc.gov) to make sure you are in compliance.
--Another reminder regarding deer hunting regulations. Hunters must check their deer harvested on WMAs in Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties, including the Francis Marion National Forest.
Check stations near the Francis Marion National Forest include: Dennis Wildlife Center, Elmwood Check Station, Witherbee Ranger Station, Handy Mart, Arrowhead Motel & Campground, Wambaw Ranger Station, McClellanville Feed & Seed, P&C Grocery, Buck & Boar, Village Grocery, Atlantic Game & Tackle, and Haddrell's Point Tackle and Supply.
There are site-specific check stations set up during either-sex deer hunts with dogs in the Francis Marion: Northampton and Wambaw WMAs either-sex deer hunt with dogs (Dec. 11) -- P&C Grocery, Kangaroo in Jamestown, Honey Hill Lookout Tower, Awendaw Check Station; Santee and Hellhole WMAs either-sex deer hunt with dogs (Nov. 6) -- Bonneau Ferry WMA entrance, Hellhole check station off of Hwy 41, or M&B Alvin Community Mart. Deer harvested from the Francis Marion National Forest on either-sex deer hunts with dogs must be checked in prior to one hour after legal sunset. An incorrect date is listed in the Rules & Regulations brochure as a deer hunt with dogs on the Wambaw WMA. Oct. 27-28 is not open for dog hunting on the Wambaw WMA.
Check stations near the Moultrie Hunt Unit -- St. Stephen Citgo, Henry's Bait and Tackle, and Thornhill's Fish Camp. The check station for the Dungannon Heritage Preserve WMA in Charleston County is now a self-check system. Tags specifically for use only on Dungannon WMA will be located at the sign-in box at the main entrance off of Highway 162.
Deer harvested from Edisto River WMA must be checked in at one of the two designated sign-out locations located on the management area.
Hunters at Bonneau Ferry WMA in Berkeley County must sign in and sign out at the main entrance located on Highway 402. Deer harvested from the area must be checked in using a special legal tag located in the information box at the main entrance.
Deer hunters hunting on Botany Bay Plantation WMA on Edisto Island must sign in and sign out at the main entrance located off of Botany Bay Road. Deer harvested from the area must be checked in using a special legal tag located in the information box at the on-site check station.
Operating hours of the local voluntary check stations will vary. Check a 2010-2011 Wildlife Management Area Map for specific times and check station locations. Maps and the current "2010-2011 South Carolina Rules & Regulations for Hunting, Fishing & DNR Public Lands" can be found on the Web at www.dnr.sc.gov.