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September 1, 2003 DNR News (803) 734-3950

WATCH YOUR MANNERS ON PUBLIC HUNTING LANDS

Just as a few bad apples can make the whole barrel seem rotten, the few individuals who abuse South Carolina's public hunting lands by littering, tearing down gates and other offenses can spoil the positive image of ethical sportsmen, say officials with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

"The abuse of Wildlife Management Area (WMA) lands by the public is a slap in the face to every hunter who appreciates the privilege of having access to these lands and to state natural resources officials who are doing everything in their power to keep lands in the WMA Program," said Billy McTeer, deputy director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

"Every hunter with a WMA permit should remember that one is always a guest of the landowner and that one must conduct himself or herself with the courtesy of a guest who wants to get invited back," McTeer said.

"The availability of public hunting lands as provided through the state's WMA program has not increased greatly nor do we expect it to," McTeer said. "These cooperating landowners have been willing to allow public hunting on their property, but are becoming less willing with every incident reported of their land being littered, their roads ruined, their gates torn down and tree seedlings trampled."

Sportsmen need to remember the WMA regulations that prohibit abuse of property:

bulletTimber destruction or firewood cutting without written permission from the landowner is prohibited on WMA lands.
bulletNo Sunday hunting is permitted on WMA lands, which are marked with signs at accesses and borders.
bulletThe construction or use of tree stands is prohibited on WMA lands if the stand is constructed by driving nails or other devices into trees or if wire is wrapped around trees. Other tree stands and temporary screw-in type climbing devices are permitted provided they are not permanently affixed to or embedded in the tree.
bulletIt is unlawful to hunt deer within 300 yards of a residence without permission of the owner or occupant.
bulletNo vehicular traffic is allowed on roads or trails that are closed by barricades or signs. Vehicles shall be driven only on roads and designated trails.
bulletNo trapping is permitted on WMA lands.

Anyone can anonymously report acts of woodland vandalism and other violations of South Carolina's natural resource laws by calling the Operation Game Thief at 1-800-922-5431, which is manned 24 hours a day. Valid reports that result in an arrest will bring a "no-strings-attached" cash reward to the caller.

"Landowners providing their lands for public hunting and recreation are due much appreciation from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and all outdoor enthusiasts, McTeer said. "Without these lands, public hunting as provided in this state would be impossible. Sportsmen seeing the yellow and black diamond-shaped signs designating WMA boundaries should remember they are hunting as guests of the landowner and be respectful of this privilege."

A total of 1,046,775 acres for the 2003-2004 hunting season were provided by cooperating WMA landowners as shown here: U. S. Forest Service; DNR; SC Forestry Commission; Crescent Resources; S.C. Public Service Authority (Santee-Cooper); Department of Transportation; Weyerhaeuser; Clemson University; Sustainable Forest LLC (International Paper); Department of Energy; Marsh Furniture Company; Great Eastern Timber Co.; TIAA Timberlands II; S.C. Electric & Gas Company; Timber-Lands L. P.; American Timberland II; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ; Georgia Power Company; Wachovia Bank; Springland, Inc.; Carolina Power and Light; Elizabeth Thomas; Lavinia B. George; Kennecott Mine; City of Clinton; Dorothy Beaty; Gary Wood; Lanny R. Gregory; Bobby Gregory; James M. and Jack L. Brown; Greer Commission of Public Works; William and Joab Lesesne; Jordan Properties; Mary L. Phillips; York County; City of Walhalla; and Juanita and Mason Trent.

For more information on South Carolina hunting seasons and regulations consult the free booklet "2003-2004 South Carolina Rules & Regulations for Hunting, Fishing & Wildlife Management Areas." The booklet is on the Internet at www.dnr.state.sc.us/etc/rulesregs/rulesregs.html Copies of the regulations booklet and migratory bird hunting season brochure are available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold or by writing: Regulations, PO Box 167, Columbia, S.C. 29202; or by calling (803) 734-3886 in Columbia. Other useful information is available on the DNR Internet home page at www.dnr.state.sc.us.

- Written by Mike Creel -

 

 

 

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