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South Carolina Dove Hunting Laws & Regulations

Dove Hunting and Baiting Regulations in South Carolina

Dove hunting is a popular outdoor activity in South Carolina, but it comes with specific regulations to ensure fair and ethical hunting practices. Here's what you need to know:

Types of Legal Dove Fields

Most dove shoots in South Carolina take place in three types of fields:

  1. Harvested Fields: These include fields with combined or picked corn, combined soybean fields, or other fall-harvested crops.
  2. Wildlife Management Fields: Fields where crops are grown and manipulated for wildlife management purposes.
  3. Recently Planted Grain Fields: Fields where wheat or other grains have recently been planted.

Legal Shooting Scenarios

  • It is legal to shoot doves on or over standing crops, properly shocked grain crops on the field where grown, or grains scattered as a result of normal agricultural planting or harvesting.
  • Shooting over fields where corn, wheat, grain, or other feed has been distributed or scattered as part of normal agricultural operations is also allowed.

Top Sowing of Wheat

  • Top sowing of wheat without covering is considered a normal agricultural practice for wildlife planting if done between October 1 and November 30 on a well-prepared seed bed established by heavy tilling. This practice is considered legal.

Baiting Regulations

  • Baiting is illegal for dove hunting. Baiting is defined as the placement, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of corn, wheat, or other grain, salt, or feed to lure, attract, or entice doves.
  • Hunters are responsible for determining the legality of a field before hunting. A hunter should not hunt in an area that they know or reasonably should know has been baited.
  • Baiting regulations aim to ensure fairness, protect the dove population, and encourage sound wildlife management practices.

Legal Dove Hunting

Dove hunting is legal under the following conditions:

  1. Shooting over crops just planted or harvested in a normal agricultural manner.
  2. Landowners growing crops using normal agricultural practices with the intent of manipulating them for wildlife management purposes.

Precautions for Hunters

  • Organizers of dove hunts should verify the condition of the dove field before the hunt.
  • Hunters should check the field's condition several days before the hunt and look for signs of doves feeding on waste grain or fields where crops have been grown and manipulated.
  • Avoid fields with cracked grains, wheat piles or strips, rock salt piles or strips, and freshly plowed or disked fields (affected by the 10-Day Rule).
  • Any questions about field legality can be directed to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) offices.

Youth Dove Hunts in South Carolina

South Carolina offers special youth dove hunts, providing young hunters with the opportunity to participate in a safe and enjoyable hunting experience. Here are the key details:

Eligibility

  • Adults aged 21 and older can bring 1 or 2 youths aged 15 and younger to participate in these hunts.
  • Youths aged 16 and 17 can participate with or without an accompanying adult.
  • Specific regulations apply to ensure safety and responsible hunting:
    1. The adult must remain in the field and closely supervise the participating youth at all times.
    2. In parties of one adult and two youths, only one youth hunter may handle a loaded firearm at any given time.
    3. Adults are allowed to shoot.
    4. The bag limit is 15 birds per participant. Birds harvested by individual hunters must be kept separate, and no individual hunter may harvest more than 15 birds.

Pre-Registration

  • Pre-registration is not required for these youth dove hunts.

Locations and Dates

  1. Charleston County Adult/Youth Hunt

    • Location: Botany Bay Plantation WMA
    • Dates: September 2, 9, October 7, November 11
    • Contact: Call (843) 869-2713 for details.
  2. Oconee County Adult/Youth Hunt

    • Location: Long Creek WMA
    • Seasons:
      • 1st season – Saturdays only beginning Sept. 2
      • 2nd season – Open November 11, 18, 25 Only
      • 3rd season – Closed
    • Contact: Call (864) 986-6249 for details.
  3. Orangeburg County Adult/Youth Hunt

    • Location: Santee Cooper – Santee Cooper WMA
    • Date: September 2
    • Contact: Call (803) 609-7011 for details.
  4. Sumter County Adult/Youth Hunt

    • Location: Manchester State Forest near Wedgefield Bland Tract – Field 1.
    • Date: September 2
    • Contact: Call (803) 609-7011 for details.
  5. Union County Adult/Youth Hunt

    • Location: Sedalia (U.S. Forest Service)
    • Date: September 2
    • Contact: Call (803) 321-2960 for details.
  6. York County Adult/Youth Hunt

    • Location: SCDNR - Draper WMA
    • Date: September 2
    • Contact: Call (864) 427-5140 for details.
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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.