Pee Dee QDMA Branch Hosts Informational Meeting On Deer Hunting Regulation Changes

The Pee Dee Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association sponsored a public informational meeting about the statewide changes to the South Carolina deer hunting regulations for 2017. Charles Ruth, State Whitetail Deer Biologist, said “These are the first major changes to the state deer hunting regulations since Colonial Times.” The event was held and hosted by the Ellis Performing Arts Center in Latta, SC and was free to the public.
Chares Ruth, State Biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, was the guest speaker and provided a presentation that covered the new regulations of a deer tagging and limit program. A question and answer session followed which gave members of the audience an opportunity to ask questions about the new regulations and give their opinions about future changes. When asked if we would see many future changes because of the new regulations, Ruth responded, “I don’t expect many changes but the tagging system would allow for them.”
The new regulations require that every deer taken by any hunting means be tagged. It would limit any hunter to a maximum of 17 deer. Before these regulations were put into place there was virtually no limit on how many deer a person could take in a season. Only the number of hunting days could determine how many deer a hunter could take. Ruth also commented that roughly 50% of the deer harvested were taken by 4% of the legal hunters. He also stated that the state wide deer population was on a decreasing trend because of several factors.
Any hunter that buys a big game permit will be sent 11 deer tags for free. There are certain sectors of the hunting population that will have to ask for the free tags. Those people are youth that are not required to have a hunting license, Lifetime license holders, and gratis License holders from age and other qualification. The reason that these are not being sent automatically is due to cost. Many of these licenses are held by hunters who no longer hunt deer and the sheer number of these would be an excessive cost to the program. There are additional tags that can be purchased at varying cost to residents and non-residents.
The Pee Dee Branch of the QDMA felt the need for this informational meeting due to the significant changes to the regulations and wanted to bring these changes to the public’s attention. These regulations were developed from many sources of input. QDMA had considerable input into the changes from the standpoint of the hunter and wildlife managers.
Jeff Lee, Sr. is the Chairman of the Pee De Branch of QDMA. The Pee Dee Branch will be hosting a banquet at Shuler’s Bar-B-Q on August 1, 2017 to support efforts to improve Deer Management and Deer Hunting in our State. 35% of the funds raised at the Banquet will be used to promote the objectives of QDMA in our area. The Pee Dee Branch has already donated funds to provide youth hunting opportunities on the Marsh GMA in Marion County, firearms training to area youth, and support of SCDNR programs on State and local levels. Liberty Guns of Mullins, SC is the title sponsor for the event to be held August 1, at Shuler’s.

JEFF LEE, Chairman of the Pee Dee Branch of QDMA, Charles Ruth, SCDNR State Wildlife Biologist, Rick Counts, State QDMA director, and Buzzy Finklea, Dillon County Council, provide informational meeting on new deer hunting regulations. (Contributed Photo)

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