Young waterfowl hunters across the state can enjoy special days in the field Saturday, Feb. 5 and Sunday, Feb. 6 by participating in Youth Waterfowl Days on private lands and on some S.C. Department of Natural Resources Waterfowl Management Areas.
Hunters 15 years of age or younger may hunt ducks and Canada geese Saturday, Feb. 5 and Sunday, Feb. 6 when accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age on private lands or an adult at least 21 years of age on state Wildlife Management Areas. The adult cannot carry a firearm or hunt. For more information on Youth Waterfowl Days, call (803) 734-3886 in Columbia.
"Youth waterfowl days provide the opportunity for young people to be introduced to waterfowl hunting in a positive manner." said Derrell Shipes, Chief of Special Projects, Research and Survey for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Shipes added, "These dates also provide adults the opportunity to take young people afield to teach them more about the tradition of waterfowling in a setting where youth hunters are the priority of the day."
The legal waterfowl daily bag limit for each young hunter participating during Youth Waterfowl Days must not include more than 6 ducks of which the following internal limits also apply: two wood ducks, two redheads, one pintail, one canvasback, one black-bellied whistling duck, three scaup, four mallards (not to include more than one female mallard) and one black duck or one mottled duck. Five mergansers (not to include more than one hooded merganser) also may be taken in addition to the regular limit of 6 ducks. Youth hunters also may take 15 coots daily and 15 blue or snow geese in addition to the duck limit.
A total of five Canada geese may be taken by each young hunter during Youth Waterfowl Days, but the exclusion zone where taking Canada Geese is prohibited includes all of Clarendon County, that portion of Orangeburg County north of SC Highway 6 and that portion of Berkeley County north of SC Highway 45 from the Orangeburg County line to the junction of SC Highway 45 and state road S-8-31, and that portion west of the Santee Dam. Taking white-fronted or specklebelly geese is prohibited in SC.
The possession of lead shot while waterfowl hunting is prohibited; nontoxic shot (steel, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron or tungsten-polymer) is required for all waterfowl hunting including during Youth Waterfowl Days. Shooting hours during Youth Waterfowl Days will be from 30 minutes before official sunrise until sunset.
"We want to encourage adults who love and enjoy waterfowl hunting to take young people out on the specially scheduled dates," said Breck Carmichael, DNR Deputy Director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. "We hope landowners who own waterfowl habitat will support this initiative and allow youngsters the opportunity to hunt ducks and geese on their properties. Those who embrace the tradition of waterfowl hunting should be willing to pass this legacy on to future generations."
Many DNR Wildlife Management Areas will be open for public hunting on Saturday, Feb. 5 for Youth Waterfowl Days (DNR Waterfowl Management Areas are not open on Sundays). Waterfowl Management Areas that are open Saturday mornings during the regular waterfowl season will be open for Youth Waterfowl Day on Saturday, Feb. 5. These Waterfowl Management Areas include:
Beidler Impoundment WMA in Sumter County
Dunaway WMA in Union County
Duncan Creek WMA in Laurens County
Hatchery WMA in Berkeley County
Enoree River WMA in Newberry County
Marsh WMA in Marion County
Monticello Reservoir WMA in Fairfield County
Moultrie WMA in Berkeley County
Parr Reservoir WMA in Fairfield County
Potato Creek WMA in Clarendon County
Russell Creek WMA in McCormick County
Turtle Island WMA in Jasper County
Tyger River WMA in Union County
Samson Island Unit of Bear Island WMA in Colleton County
Wee Tee WMA in Williamsburg County