If you’re not from anywhere near South Carolina, it will probably be hard for you to believe that in most parts of the state, there has never been a limit on the number of whitetail bucks a hunter can shoot. I repeat, no limit, ever!
That might be about to change. State bill S454 would establish a limit of four bucks and four does per hunter per year.
The potential changes in deer management are just what Charles Ruth, Deer and Wild Turkey Program Coordinator for the S.C. DNR, has been in favor of for years.
“This is looking at the future of deer management in South Carolina. We’re trying to get something more mainstream here like other states have from a deer management standpoint.”
It might also be hard for you to believe that beginning in mid-August each year, when the rifle season opens in many areas, that some hunters in South Carolina have been shooting 10, 20 or more bucks per year under the state’s current laws and limits.
I hesitate to get into a state’s wildlife management practices, especially when I really have no dog in the fight, but… There is no way you can effectively manage a whitetail herd, especially for a more balanced buck:doe ratio, with those kind of antiquated, excessive and open-ended limits. Plus, my philosophy for deer management has always been to listen to respected state wildlife officials, and lean heavily on their recommendations. Charles Ruth has been the deer man in South Carolina for a long time, and he knows what is best for the state’s herd.
“We’re kind of excited,” said Ruth about the new proposals. “We’ve been status quo for many lifetimes (in regards to deer management). We’re going to try to be optimistic.”
If the bill passes, I would think that 4 bucks and 4 does a year would be enough for any right-minded hunter.
I have been hunting deer in SC since I can remember. On private lands where does are protected we have a terrific deer population. However Charles Ruth has been preaching doe killing for nearly a decade and it is catching up to those that listened. After extensive quota programs, excessive doe days, and over the counter doe tags, the population is suffering where hunters kill many does. Those land owners who still protect the does, even though they may kill many bucks, still have deer. What Ruth is proposing is to decrease the number of bucks killed while placing more doe tags into hunters hands. Those extra bucks won’t produce fawns, and neither will the does the hunters kill instead. Ultimately this will further decimate our deer population.
Interesting. We have a son in Columbia- on the fall line of the Piedmont and upper coastal plain. I travel 180 miles from Athens GA to his place- 80 miles in SC along the same habitat. I always see 2 to 10 dead deer between my home and Augusts, GA, and in 8 years he has lived there, seen 2 road kills and late November saw the first live one a mile from his place and he loves on a golf course. We went to Charleston, 3 weeks ago- along I-26 and saw 3 road kills, the most, but on the coastal plain segment of SC. Sparsley populated areas like that with a great mix of ag. land and timber, water and great food sources, one would think they’d have a large herd, but I have seen no trace of it. Maybe I am not looking, but I am generally aware of all things nature when I am traveling. They need a management plan for sure and a reasonable limit. WHen I see limitless preferred food and absolutely no destruction of my wifes flower bed- there are few deer in the area.
Sure hope it goes through. All of the young hunters coming up need us to help preserve a hunting population in the faced of shrinking habitat so every little bit helps. Good luck South Carolina and congratulations on trying to better your state’s deer management e