South Carolina Deer News

Deer-hunting bill: Some proposals for a compromise March 29, 2015 South Carolina, Times and Democrat 
... In 2012 the deer herd stood at about 800,000 deer... During a period from 1988 to 1996, the deer herd increased from 900,000 to 1,200,000 ... S.454: “The DNR may now suspend the taking of DEER when the environmental conditions or other factors warrant.”... 

Proposed deer limit good for state March 28, 2015 South Carolina, Manning Live
... For many years, South Carolina hunters have expressed concern over the unregulated harvest of antlered deer in the state. There has also been an increasing interest in reducing
harvest pressure.  Many hunters feel that the current situation leads to an over-exploitation, resulting in a high percentage of bucks being taken by a small percentage of hunters...

Legislature moves toward putting limit on bucks March 22, 2015 South Carolina, The Times and Democrat
... Under the proposed legislation, the first limit on antlered deer in South Carolina would be enforced by restricting hunters to four bucks a year. The limit on antlerless deer also would be four per season...  needed in part because of a 30 percent reduction in deer harvesting since 2002, which he said represents a decrease in the overall statewide deer population...

Deer tagging based on false conclusions March 22, 2015 South Carolina, The Times and Democrat
... Our Department of Natural Resources has repeatedly told us that our deer population has been falling. They say it was a million, and now it’s 700,000... coyotes may grab a few fawns, and people who kill more than eight deer a year will easily find tags from someone else to continue killing deer...

Antler measuring sessions set across SC March 18, 2015 South Carolina, The Powdersville Post
... the search for new state record deer antlers gets underway during the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ annual series of measuring sessions....

Is Smokey Bear too good at his job? Yes, some say March 8, 2015 South Carolina, Athens Banner-Herald
... Controlled fires help restore and maintain vital habitat for wildlife, including bobwhite quail and other grassland birds, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, gopher tortoises, and red-cockaded woodpeckers. And some plants, too, thrive only in regularly burned forests...

Deer limit bill on track for senate March 6, 2015 south Carolina, Myrtle Beach Online 
... Senate bill S454 ... received a unanimous favorable vote from the full Fish, Game and Forestry Committee Wednesday in Columbia...  proposes establishing a limit on bucks in the entire state and would require tags for all deer harvested...

 DNR working on coyote control March 5, 2015 South Carolina, Heraldindependent
... Coyotes have been migrating eastwardly and are here to stay, said Greg Yarrow, Clemson University wildlife ecology professor ... coyotes are a major predator to the official state animal, the white-tailed deer... 

Could new deer regulations finally happen? February 26, 2015 South Carolina, Enquirerherald
... After years of wishing and hoping, ethical sportsmen across the Palmetto State are finally getting to see legislators pay attention ... For the first time, a statewide limit would be placed on the number of bucks each hunter could harvest during the fall, and would include the use of deer tags for both bucks and does...

Proposed law would limit state deer harvest February 21, 2015 South Carolina, Charleston Post Courier
... The bill would establish a limit of four bucks and four does per hunter each year and would require tags for all deer harvested. South Carolina residents would pay $15 for the tags while non-residents would be charged $30... seven percent of the hunters in South Carolina kill 30 percent of the deer harvested, meaning some hunters are taking as many as 20 to 30 deer during a season...

Bill aims to establish first-ever limit on deer hunting in South Carolina February 19, 2015 South Carolina, Myrtle Beach Online
... bill, S 454, proposes establishing a limit of bucks in the entire state and would require tags for all deer harvested... “South Carolina is the only state in the nation without any limit at all [on bucks], so it’s a great thing on many fronts,” said Campsen, R-Charleston...

DNR expands deer hunting on Morrison County public land February 10, 2015 South Carolina, St. Cloud Times
... expanded deer hunting at Lake Alexander Scientific & Natural Area in Morrison County ...

Instituting a bounty an unlikely solution for coyote problem in South Carolina January 29, 2015 South Carolina, Myrtle Beach Online
... “You can trap them and you can shoot them. But it’s a cash cow and it looks like you’re paying for what people are already doing at no cost.” [ Charles Ruth, Deer and Wild Turkey Coordinator] ...  In 2014, Utah paid out over $492,000 for the removal of 7,396 coyotes... Many deer hunters are concerned about the decline in the state’s white-tailed deer population and the impact the establishment of coyotes has had on the population...

7 Deer Hunting Myths Debunked January 9, 2015 South Carolina, OutdoorHub
... According to wildlife biologist Clint McCoy, male deer surveyed in South Carolina’s Brosan Forest only had a home range of 350 acres. The largest ranges in the survey actually belonged to two yearling bucks, who held a territory of 754 and 640 acres. McCoy told QDMA’s Quality Whitetails that age and size had little effect on how big a buck’s range will be ...

New CWD vaccine only raises more questions January 3, 2015 South Carolina, The Charleston Gazette 
... Researchers at New York University believe they’ve come up with a vaccine that might keep deer from getting chronic wasting disease ... What’s troubling — at least from a layman’s point of view — is that even though four of the five vaccinated deer took longer to come down with CWD, they eventually did...

The top five stories from 2014 December 27, 2014 South Carolina, MyrtleBeachOnline.com
... South Carolina’s deer population peaked at about one million in 2001, and has declined by about 30 percent since. While other factors such as the prevalence of mature pine stands and South Carolina’s liberal deer harvest laws have played a role in the decline, coyotes are a big problem...

Hunting over corn November 15, 2014 South Carolina, South Carolina Sportsman
... Beginning with the 2013, baiting for deer became legal on private lands across the state... I think it can drive deer to be more nocturnal. Why go eat it in the daytime when you might get shot at when you can get it easier at night ...

Brosnan Forest study could increase odds of harvesting a big buck November 9, 2014 South Carolina, Charleston Post Courier
... Our two smallest home ranges were yearling bucks at 60 and 90 acres," McCoy wrote. "Our two largest home ranges of 754 and 640 acres were also yearling bucks. Age apparently did not play a role in determining the size of a buck's home range in our study, and as previous studies have documented, buck movements are largely driven by their 'own' personalities ...

Deer and moped collisions at a high November 9, 2014 South Carolina, WIS
... "The deer, they are more blinded by the headlights. You're more likely to hit them when they stop in the middle of the road ... They can't judge the distance on when the headlights hit them...

Anderson County again proves it's big buck producer October 29, 2014 South Carolina, Greenville News
... "Anyway you look at it — all your deer populations, all of your antlers and all the quality deer management stuff, your trophy deer — it all goes back to your soil," Morton said. "Look at where your big deer are across the country — Illinois, Kansas, even over in Alabama. You've got a lot of agriculture. They've got that good, rich soil there." ...

Bear, archery deer hunters falling October 12, 2014 South Carolina, SC Times
... Approximately 2,450 deer were registered in the first 10 days of archery hunting this year, down from 2,979 during the same period in 2013. Bow hunters shot a total of 19,388 during last year's season, which was the lowest total since 2002... DNR, expected this season's archery harvest to be down given the tighter restrictions... 

Proper disposal of deer remains part of hunters’ job October 6, 2014 South Carolina, Berkeley Independent 
... When transporting a deer in the back of a truck or on top of a vehicle, hunters should wrap a tarp or other covering material around the animal. This is a simple, considerate step that may prevent a non-hunter from becoming an anti-hunter ... 

South Carolina Deer Hunting Forecast for 2014 October 3, 2014 South Carolina, gameandfishmag.com
... “After many years of rapid increase during the 1970’s and 1980’s, the deer population in South Carolina exhibited relative stability between 1995 and 2002,” ... Beginning after 2002 the population has trended down until recently becoming more stabilized. The overall reduction in harvest seen since 2002 can likely be attributable to a number of factors, including habitat change... coyotes ... 

Deer regulations in South Carolina in need of overhaul October 2, 2014 Greenville Online 
... The way to properly manage a resource in decline is by monitoring its usage. Typically, wildlife resource managers would reduce bag limits or shorten season dates while monitoring the replacement rate of the animals to balance natural mortality and hunter harvest with the current population...

No compensation for accidents caused by deer October 1, 2014 South Carolina, Berkeley Independent
... Despite a persistent rumor, neither the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) nor any other state agency will compensate motorists for injuries or damages resulting from deer collisions.  According to a DNR news release this week, besides practicing safe and defensive driving techniques, each motorist should carry adequate collision and comprehensive insurance...

Motorists need to watch for deer on state roads September 26, 2014, State of South Carolina
... The S.C. Department of Public Safety reported approximately 2,200 deer-vehicle collisions in 2013, similar to figures from the last few years. These figures are lower than those reported in the late 1990’s when the incidence of deer-vehicle collisions seemed to peak in the state ... 

SC ranks No. 10 nationally in deer-vehicle collisions September 15, 2014 South Carolina, The State
... The odds that South Carolina drivers will hit a deer in the coming year are 1 out of 93 ...

No shortage of deer in 2014, DNR reports September 11, 2014 South Carolina, Berkeley Independent 
... South Carolina’s deer population expanded rapidly in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and it peaked in the late 1990’s at about 1,000,000 animals. However, since 2002 the population has trended down with current figures being about 750,000 deer, a 25 percent decline from peak figures 10 years ago...  habitat change related to forest management and exceptionally high deer harvests over the last 10 to 15 years... Also, coyotes are a recent addition to the landscape ...

Upcoming deer season looks promising September 10, 2014 South Carolina, Greenville Online
... Much discussion has centered around a declining deer herd across the state owing to the maturation of primary pine forest habitat, increased predation of deer fawns by coyote populations, and an overall loss of deer habitat due to development. Based on 2013 data, an estimated 225,806 deer were harvested in 2013, which shows a stable harvest over a three-year trend but down nearly 30 percent from 2002 ...

S.C. deer season forecast good September 6, 2014 South Carolina, The Post and Courier 
... Top counties for harvest in 2013 included Bamberg, Union, Allendale, Spartanburg and Calhoun with each of these counties exhibiting harvest rates in excess of 15 deer per square mile. Very few areas in the United States consistently yield comparable harvest figures...

... Coyotes ... first spotted in the northern parts of the state in 1978... The DNR estimates that the state’s deer population has dropped by more than 30 percent since 2002, and believes that the rising number of coyotes is a primary factor. ...

Establishing enforceable deer limit overdue September 1, 2014 South Carolina, Greenville News
...  if you are hunting most places below Columbia because there is no limit on deer. It's printed in the rule book – no limit.  That information comes despite studies that indicate deer population in the state is in decline. It flies in the face of true sportsmen who understands that our natural resources -- whether they be fish, game, flora, or fauna -- are not limitless...

JC Kilgo, M Vukovich, H Scott Ray, CE Shaw, C Ruth - … Journal of Wildlife Management, 2014
... We monitored neonate survival for 4 years prior to (2006–2009) and 3 years during (2010–2012) intensive coyote removal on 3 32-km2 units on the United States Department of Energy's Savannah River Site, South Carolina. We removed 474 coyotes (1.63 coyotes/km2 per unit per year) ... the mortality rate from all other causes did not differ between the pre-treatment period and any year during removals, indicating that coyote predation acted as an additive source of mortality. Survival probability was not related to vegetation cover, either directly or in interaction with coyote abundance. When the objective is to increase the recruitment of white-tailed deer, we conclude that neither coyote control nor vegetation management appear effective ...

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources - SC.gov
... hunters traveling abroad are reminded not to import into South Carolina certain carcass parts from deer and elk harvested in states with chronic wasting disease. To protect the state's extremely valuable white-tailed deer resource, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has maintained a regulation restricting the importation of certain carcass parts from deer and elk harvested in states with diagnosed cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to Charles Ruth, DNR Deer and Wild Turkey Program Coordinator in Columbia. "Currently, deer hunting generates more than $200 million annually for South Carolina's economy,"  ...

Hunters: Help Control Coyotes and Save Our Deer August 15, 2014 South Carolina, SCDNR Wildlife Information
     Coyotes first appeared in SC about 30 years ago and continue to expand greatly in numbers. Coyotes are negatively impacting our official State Animal, the White-tailed deer, by preying heavily on deer fawns.  Since 2002, the SC deer population has declined by more than 30%. While our deer population is still healthy, we do not want to see it decline further... Coyotes first appeared in the upstate in 1978, they are now present in all counties of South Carolina.  Coyotes were illegally imported into South Carolina for hound running...

Establishing enforceable deer limit overdue August 14, 2014 South Carolina, Greenville Online 
...  if you are hunting most places below Columbia because there is no limit on deer. It’s printed in the rule book – no limit.... That information comes despite studies that indicate deer population in the state is in decline... “If we could get a buck and doe limit and institute a tagging program ...  we could regulate and manage our deer herd a whole lot better ...

... The Department of Natural Resources is cutting back the number of days when hunters can kill does from 12 to eight. Hunters are also only allowed to kill one doe on those days with personal tags instead of two ... [fewer deer]

Some dog-drive deer hunters foresee demise of sport in Lowcountry August 11, 2014 South Carolina, The Post and Courier
... Deer hunting with dogs dates to colonial times ... Building elevated stands and sitting in trees to hunt - known as still hunting - is a relatively new concept ... Dog hunting requires larger tracts of land than still hunting...With the change of land ownership patterns, you're having conflicts between still hunters and dog hunters ...
... For years we could shoot almost as many deer as we could stand without affecting the herd, but now we have coyotes taking part of that herd ... Cumulative data through the first three years of the study indicate approximately 70 percent total fawn mortality, with coyotes being responsible for approximately 80 percent of the mortality...

Antler record numbers down slightly in most recent scoring sessions August 10, 2014 South Carolina, The Post and Courier
... the population has decreased about 25 percent in recent years because of three things - hunters embracing the harvest of does; changes in habitat; and coyotes ... after many years of rapid population growth, the herd stabilized in the mid-1990s followed by a decreasing trend since about 2002, according to Ruth. Statewide population estimates put the deer herd at about 750,000 ...

Seabrook Island Deer Management Plan Review July 31, 2014 South Carolina
... A review of existing protocols indicates that we need to enhance our methodologies forsurveying/monitoring the Island’s der population and collecting/interpreting
community (including Camp St. Christopher) input regarding deer-related ... Our current sampling technique involves deer spotlight surveys. They are performed on three consecutive nights in September and December [6 nights total] ... [click on image below to enlarge, note that in 2008 they killed more deer than they counted in their survey]


South Carolina Data: The deer population is estimated at 750,000. The population peaked in the late 1990's (some say 2001) at about 1 to 1.2 million with the peak deer harvest in 2002 at 319,902. The population has been trending lower since then.  Habitat change with more mature pine stands does not support as many deer as younger tree stands, and coyotes predation on fawns has increased.  South Carolina also has the longest deer season in the country and has the most liberal limits of any state. The 2013 harvest of 225,806, was 55.1 percent bucks and was 29.5 percent below the record of 2002.  Hunters reported a 70 success rate.  The 2003 population was estimated at 900,000.
     Timber management policies of the 1970's and 80's favored deer habitat, leading to population growth.  Currently there is significant acreage in even aged pine stands, about ten years old, that do not provide good habitat.  Increased coyotes populations, non natives, have also driven down populations.  In a recent study at the Savannah River Site, 70 percent fawn mortality was recorded with coyotes accounting for 80 percent of the mortality.  Coyotes were first seen in state in 1978 and are now found in all counties.
     In 1972 the white-tail deer was designated as the as the official state animal.

Useful links
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

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Deer Running through Marsh