Residency and License Eligibility in South Carolina

South Carolina has specific regulations regarding residency and who is eligible for hunting and fishing licenses. Here's an overview:


  • A resident is a person who is a domiciled (permanent) resident of South Carolina for 30 days.
  • Proof of residency at license vendors is your unexpired South Carolina Driver’s license or SCDMV Identification Card.
  • If a person is licensed as a resident in another state for any purpose, they are not eligible to apply for, obtain, or hold any South Carolina resident license, permit, or tag.

Military Personnel

  • Military personnel and their dependents stationed in South Carolina for thirty days or longer, or who are domiciled in the state, are eligible for resident privileges.
  • Valid military identification must be presented when applying.
  • Active duty or military personnel who are residents of South Carolina stationed outside of the state and home on leave may, upon presentation of their earnings and leave statement declaring South Carolina as their home state, be allowed to fish and hunt throughout the state without purchasing certain licenses. Permits and tags are still required for specific activities.


  • Students enrolled full time in a South Carolina educational institution are eligible for resident privileges.
  • A valid student ID must be presented when applying for privileges.

International Customers

  • International customers may purchase hunting and fishing licenses in South Carolina upon presentation of a passport or any international government-issued documentation.
  • They are not required to provide a social security number.
  • Nonresident license fees apply.


  • A nonresident is a person who does not meet the definition of a resident.

Change of Resident Status and License Duration in South Carolina

South Carolina has specific rules regarding the change of resident status and the duration of licenses. Here's important information:

Change of Resident Status

  • If a person lawfully acquires a resident South Carolina license, permit, or tag, and then transfers their residency outside of South Carolina, they can continue to use the privileges until they expire.
  • However, if the licensee applies for privileges not covered by the existing resident license and no longer meets the requirement for residency, they must purchase the additional licenses as a nonresident.

License in Possession

  • All licenses, permits, stamps, and tags must be in possession of the license holder while engaging in activities for which the license documents were issued.
  • The license holder must also have identification indicating name and address in their possession.
  • Even persons hunting on their own lands are required to have all applicable licenses, permits, or tags in their possession.

License Duration

  • Annual recreational hunting and fishing licenses are valid for one year from the date of purchase.
  • Three-year recreational hunting and fishing licenses are valid for three years from the date of purchase.
  • Hunting tags (deer, bear, and turkey), migratory bird permits, migratory waterfowl permits, nonresident alligator hunting fees, and shooting preserve permits are valid for the season indicated on your license.
  • Commercial licenses and nongame fish tags are valid from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.
  • It is the responsibility of each person engaging in any hunting or fishing activity to verify they have a valid license, permit, or tag for that activity.
  • Privileges for various licenses may expire on different dates if not purchased at the same time.

Duplicate Licenses in South Carolina

If you have lost or destroyed your original license in South Carolina, you can obtain a duplicate license by following these steps:

  1. Affidavit: You need to provide an affidavit stating that your original license was lost or destroyed.

  2. Payment: You must pay a $3.00 fee for the duplicate license.

  3. Locations: Duplicate licenses are available at all license sales vendors and SCDNR license offices.

  4. Tags: Duplicate or replacement tags are issued only through SCDNR offices.

  5. Federal Duck Stamps: No duplicates are issued for federal duck stamps; if you have lost it, you must purchase a new stamp.

Hunter Education Requirements in South Carolina

In South Carolina, there are specific hunter education requirements that residents and nonresidents must follow. Here are the key details:

  1. Birth Date Requirement: All residents and nonresidents born after June 30, 1979, must successfully complete a SCDNR-approved hunter education course before obtaining a hunting or combination license.

  2. Acceptance of Certifications: SCDNR accepts hunter education certifications issued by other states in the United States and Canadian provinces. If you have a certification from another state, it meets the hunter education requirement in South Carolina.

  3. Hunter Education Card: It's important to note that a hunter education card alone is not a valid hunting license. You will still need to obtain the necessary hunting or combination license.

Apprentice Hunting License in South Carolina

In South Carolina, individuals who do not have a hunter education certification have the option to apply for an annual Apprentice Hunting License. Here are the key details about the Apprentice Hunting License:

  1. Eligibility: This license is available to hunting license applicants who do not possess a hunter education certification.

  2. Accompaniment: An apprentice hunter holding this license must be accompanied by a South Carolina licensed hunter who is not licensed as an apprentice hunter.

  3. Age Requirement: The accompanying hunter must be at least 21 years of age.

  4. No Convictions: The accompanying hunter must not have been convicted of a hunting violation or received deferred adjudication for the same.

  5. Distance and Communication: The accompanying hunter must stay within a distance from the apprentice hunter that enables uninterrupted, unaided, visual and oral communication. They should also provide adequate direction to the apprentice hunter during the hunting activity.

  6. Transition to Full License: If the holder of an apprentice license obtains a hunter education certification before the expiration of their apprentice hunting license, the apprentice hunting license will be converted into their statewide hunting license.

  7. Certification Possession: It is important for the licensee to have their hunter education certification in their possession while hunting.

The Apprentice Hunting License provides individuals who are new to hunting with the opportunity to gain practical experience while being supervised by an experienced hunter. This helps promote safe and responsible hunting practices.

Migratory Bird Permit

A harvest information permit survey must be completed to obtain the Migratory Bird Permit. This permit is required of those age 16 and older hunting migratory birds in the state. Hunters 64 years of age or older who hold a SCDNR lifetime hunting, lifetime combination, Senior license, or Gratis license are not required to obtain a migratory bird permit.

Migratory Waterfowl Permit

A Migratory Waterfowl Permit, in addition to a state hunting license, migratory bird permit and Federal Duck Stamp, is required of those age 16 and older hunting waterfowl (brants, ducks and geese) in the state. Hunters who hold a SCDNR lifetime migratory waterfowl hunting add-on, Senior license, Gratis license, Catawba license or Disability license do not need to obtain an annual migratory waterfowl permit, the migratory waterfowl permit is included in each of these licenses.

Tag Requirements

All age groups are required to obtain and possess special tags when engaged in the following activities: hunting deer, hunting bear, hunting turkey, using non-game fish devices or taking shrimp over bait.

Youth Requirements

No child under 16 years of age is required to obtain a hunting or fishing license. If a child engages in the taking of game or fish for commercial purposes or possesses any nongame fishing devices, all licensing requirements apply. Youth are required to have tags for deer, bear and turkey except on designated youth days.

Senior Lifetime License

A person who has been a resident of SC for 180 days or longer and has reached the age of 64 may apply for a Lifetime License for $9.00. The license is valid for Freshwater Fishing, Freshwater Set Hook, Saltwater Fishing, State Hunting, Big Game, WMA and Migratory Waterfowl. Deer tags and turkey tags must be requested once. After the initial request, tags will be mailed annually.

Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing Licenses in South Carolina

In South Carolina, fishing enthusiasts need to be aware of specific licensing requirements based on whether they are engaged in saltwater or freshwater fishing. Here are the details of the fishing licenses required in the state:

Saltwater Fishing License:

A Saltwater Fishing License is required when harvesting marine resources, including various aquatic species such as finfish, oysters, clams, shrimp, and crab. Here are the key points related to saltwater fishing licenses:

  • Requirement: A saltwater recreational fishing license is generally required unless you fall into one of the following categories:

    • Fishing on a licensed public fishing pier.
    • Fishing on a licensed charter vessel while under hire.
    • Using 3 or fewer drop nets, 3 or fewer fold-up traps, or 3 or fewer handlines with no hooks and single bait per line (commonly known as "chicken necking").
    • Shrimp baiting, which requires a shrimp baiting license.

Please note that engaging in saltwater fishing without the required license may lead to legal consequences.

Freshwater Fishing License:

A Freshwater Fishing License is required for individuals who wish to fish in freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers, and streams. Here are the key details regarding freshwater fishing licenses:

  • Requirement: In general, a freshwater fishing license is required unless you are fishing in a privately-owned pond. Additionally, you do not need a license when fishing in a commercial pay pond that is permitted by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

It's important to understand that fishing regulations and license requirements may change over time, so it's advisable to check with the SCDNR or visit their official website for the most up-to-date information on fishing licenses, fees, and any additional regulations or exemptions.

Reciprocal Fishing License Agreement between Georgia and South Carolina

Anglers who enjoy freshwater fishing along the Savannah River and certain impoundments in the border region between Georgia and South Carolina benefit from a reciprocal fishing license agreement. This agreement allows individuals with valid freshwater fishing licenses and permits issued by either state to fish in specified waters. Here are the key details of the reciprocal license agreement between Georgia and South Carolina:

Covered Waterways:

  • Savannah River: The agreement includes all channels of the Savannah River, starting from its mouth and extending to the confluence of the Tugaloo and the Seneca rivers.

  • Chattooga River: The Chattooga River is also covered by this agreement, up to the boundary line between Georgia and North Carolina.

Impoundments Covered:

The reciprocal license agreement extends to certain impoundments in the region. Anglers with valid licenses from either Georgia or South Carolina can fish in the following impoundments:

  • Thurmond
  • Russell
  • Hartwell
  • Yonah
  • Tugaloo
  • Stevens Creek
  • New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam


It's important to note that the agreement does not apply to the following:

  • Tributary streams to the covered impoundments.
  • Tributary streams to the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Chattooga rivers.

License Validity:

All individuals holding a valid fishing license from either Georgia or South Carolina are allowed to fish in the waters covered by this reciprocal agreement. This arrangement simplifies fishing for those who wish to explore the shared waterways along the Georgia-South Carolina border.

Additional Information:

For specific information about size and catch limits in Georgia or other fishing-related inquiries, you can contact the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Resources Division at 770-918-6406 or visit their official website at

Wild Advisor Pro


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.