South Carolina implements license-free hunting weekend

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Florence, SC, United States (4E Sports) – The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has implemented a first-ever free license hunting weekend from January 5-6, giving persons without permits to give the outdoor activity a try.

“It is made for individuals who don’t have a hunting license, and would like to try out the outdoors, and enjoy the outdoors,” said DNR’s Lt. Joe Ard. “DNR wants to get as many people as they can out in the outdoors, to see if they like it.”

Ard said the free hunting days are open to South Carolina residents, who can hunt anything that is currently in season, including small game like squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, beavers and migratory water fowl and migratory birds.

However, the DNR clarified that the free hunting days are not an extension for deer season, which ended on January 1.

“If you are caught hunting an animal out of season, there could be severe consequences,” Ard warned.

Ard also added that severe fines could be imposed to those hunting an animal out of season, ranging from $100-$1000.

Tyler Martin, manager at Irby Street Sporting Goods in Florence, authorities can take anything involved with the illegal hunting, including vehicle and gun.

However Ard said that on January 5 or youth hunting day, youngsters will be allowed to hunt deer even out of season.

“That is for those 17 years of age or younger. They do not have to have a license, but do have to be accompanied by someone 21 years of age or older that is licensed to hunt big game,” said Ard. “The adult cannot be in possession of the weapon, only the youth can.”

Meanwhile, Martin said his store doesn’t just sell products, it make sure customers are prepared to hunt by teaching them the proper way to shoot.

“We don’t just give you a bow and send you on your way,” said Martin. “We take the time to shoot with you and make sure you’re set up and good before we send you out the door.”

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