SCDNR to consider Sunday hunting on public land

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:16 AM EDT
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HEMINGWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Generations of hunters in the Palmetto State have not been able to hunt on public land on Sundays, but that may be changing soon.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is considering the idea of opening public Wildlife Management Areas for the entire weekend.

“During deer season, September, October, November, December, the weekends fill up first,” said Waccamaw Hunting Services owner Rick Grubbs. “That’s when people are off from work. That’s when people don’t have to take off to go hunting or do things in the outdoors.”

As a hunting guide, Grubbs has had to keep track of plenty of changes in South Carolina hunting regulations throughout the years.

“I remember back when we couldn’t harvest does till after October 1st, now we can start September 15th,” said Grubbs. “We used to have no limit on white tail bucks, now we do have a limit.”

The next change Grubbs is hoping for is the state lifting the ban on Sunday hunting on public properties.

The law was put in place back in the 1950s, when the state was first establishing the public hunting grounds. At the time, culturally, hunting on Sundays was frowned upon. But that wasn’t the only reason for the law.

“In the early part of the 20th century, deer and wild turkey, which are popular big game species in South Carolina, had virtually been hunted out,” said SCDNR spokesperson David Lucas.

SCDNR was able to repopulate all that game, but the law remained unchanged.

The agency is asking for feedback before potentially asking for the state legislature to lift the ban.

“It does serve a purpose in limiting pressure on hunted populations on our WMA lands, and it also allows one weekend day for nonhunters to enjoy activities like hiking and nature,” said Lucas.

Grubbs thinks the change would make it easier to encourage kids to take up hunting and foster the next generation.

“Statewide, game hunting and fishing license sales are down,” said Grubbs. “I think this will just be another way of getting kids, with their parents, outdoors.”

After getting feedback, SCDNR will determine the best course of action for Sunday hunting and ask the state legislature for approval before the next hunting season.

The fourth and final public meeting on Sunday hunting will be in Columbia next Monday at Seawell’s restaurant at 6:00 p.m.

You can also weigh in online by taking a survey here.

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