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Learn About South Carolina Hunting Licenses

Sportsmen must obtain a hunting license in South Carolina through the state Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) before they may legally hunt wildlife in the state. However, a license is not necessary if hunters are younger than 16 years of age. 

To purchase a license, applicants may visit an SCDNR office or one of the 500 participating licensing agents throughout the state. Alternately, customers may apply for a DNR license online or by telephone if they prefer. However, all applicants must provide proof of their identification, state residency, Social Security Number (SSN), and military status, if applicable. 

If customers cannot provide proof of state residency, they may obtain a nonresident license for hunting. After obtaining a license, the credential will remain valid for one year unless customers purchase a three-year recreational license. Tags for certain types of game are only good for that particular game’s season. 

With a South Carolina DNR hunting license, sportsmen generally need to purchase a separate Wildlife Management Area (WMA) permit to hunt on WMA lands for small game, waterfowl, feral hogs, migratory birds, coyote or bear. 

Additionally, other hunting permit credentials may be necessary if sportsmen wish to hunt for big game such as bear, alligator, turkey or deer. Additional permits include the Migratory Bird Permit, Migratory Waterfowl Permit and Shooting Preserve Permit. 

To purchase permits, customers may complete the process online, in person or by telephone. Alternately, customers may purchase licenses and permits at the same time. 

How to Get a Hunting License in South Carolina

The process of how to get a hunting license in South Carolina varies depending on whether sportsmen wish to apply for a credential online, in person, by mail or telephone. However, those who wish to obtain disability or lifetime hunting credentials must apply in person or by mail, as additional information is needed to purchase these types of licenses. To obtain a hunting permit as well as any necessary tags or stamps, customers may choose to apply online, in person by mail or telephone. 

Whether purchasing an in person or online hunting license in SC, applicants must present proof of their identity, Social Security Number and state residency status, such as a state-issued driver’s license. If applicants cannot present proof of their state residency, they may apply for a nonresident hunting license at an increased rate.

Types of Hunting Licenses in South Carolina

To obtain a lifetime hunting license in South Carolina, applicants must reside in the state for a minimum amount of days. If applicants meet this qualification, they may obtain a lifetime credential at any age. However, many other types of licenses are also available to residents as well as nonresidents. For instance, non resident hunting license credentials include annual, three, or 10-day hunting privileges, while resident licenses provide hunters with one or three years of hunting privileges.

In addition to the resident hunting license credentials, sportsmen may purchase combination licenses if they wish to obtain fishing and hunting privileges. For instance, the Sportsman License includes freshwater fishing, state hunting, and big game hunting privileges, while the Junior Sportsman License is available to applicants who are between 16 and 17 years of age.

Hunter Safety and Education Courses in South Carolina

The completion of a South Carolina hunter safety course is mandatory under the state Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), unless sportsmen are exempt from doing so. As part of this education requirement, all hunting license applicants must complete an online or instructor-led course before they may apply for the different types of hunting licenses in the state. When customers apply for a hunting license, they must provide the SCDNR with proof of completing a safety program. 

To enroll in an in-person hunter education course in South Carolina, customers must view the online class calendar, or they may contact the SCDNR for available dates. Most courses fill up quickly and it is important to register as soon as possible. If enrolling in the online curriculum, however, students may register electronically.

Hunting Laws and Regulations in South Carolina

Before the South Carolina hunting season begins, it is important that hunters take the time to review the state’s new and existing rules and regulations for hunting on public and private lands. For instance, new hunting regulations often pertain to bag limits, youth hunting dates and permitted hunting hours. 

If sportsmen do not abide by these laws and regulations, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) may revoke or suspend their hunting privileges. After the revocation of hunting privileges, sportsmen typically need to complete the hunting license application procedure and repay any applicable fees. 

Moreover, additional regulations apply to those who hunt on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). WMA properties account for more than one million acres of land in the state. Several of the largest WMAs in South Carolina include the Central Piedmont Hunt Unit, the Francis Marion National Forest, the Western Piedmont Hunt Unit and the Mountain Hunt Unit.