Commercial Fur Harvest Regulations in South Carolina
In South Carolina, the harvesting of furbearing animals for commercial purposes is regulated to ensure responsible and sustainable practices. Here are the key regulations and requirements for commercial fur harvesters:
Furbearer Species Eligible for Commercial Harvest
The following furbearer species are legally classified as eligible for commercial harvest by hunting or trapping during the open season:
- Gray Fox
- Red Fox
- Spotted Skunk
- Striped Skunk
Commercial fur harvesters can legally sell the pelts of these animals with a valid commercial fur harvest license.
- License Cost: Commercial fur harvest licenses are available for $25 for residents and $200 for nonresidents.
- A commercial fur harvest license is required for individuals who:
- Trap or attempt to trap furbearing animals (with exceptions, see below).
- Take furbearing animals by any means for sale, trade, exchange, or barter.
- Take or possess more than 5 furbearing animals or raw/green pelts (excluding licensed fur buyers or fur processors).
Additional License Requirement
All licensed commercial fur harvesters must also possess a valid South Carolina hunting license, regardless of age. These licenses must be carried while involved in fur taking activities.
A youth under the age of 16 is not required to be licensed to assist a licensed fur harvester, as long as they are in the presence of the licensed fur harvester and do not engage in the sale, trade, exchange, or barter of furbearing animals taken under the authority of the licensed fur harvester.
Fur Buyer's License
- Anyone who purchases any whole furbearing animal, raw or green furs, pelts, or hides is required to have a Fur Buyer's License.
- The cost of a Fur Buyer's License is $100 for residents and $200 for nonresidents.
- Exemptions from the Fur Buyer's License requirement include individuals who acquire furs, pelts, hides, or whole animals for their own personal use (up to five during one season) and not for sale, trade, exchange, or barter, fur processors, taxidermists temporarily holding furbearing animal specimens for processing, persons acquiring furbearing animal carcasses without hides, and owners or operators of permitted fox and coyote hunting enclosures purchasing live foxes or coyotes for release into the enclosure.
Verification of Lawful Presence in the U.S. for Commercial Furharvest License Applicants
In South Carolina, all applicants for a Commercial Furharvest License are required to complete an affidavit titled "Verification of Lawful Presence in the United States." This verification process ensures that individuals are legally present in the United States before obtaining a trapping license. Here are the key details regarding this requirement:
US Citizens: US citizens are required to complete the "Verification of Lawful Presence in the United States" affidavit only once.
Non-US Citizens: Non-US citizens are required to complete this affidavit annually.
The completed affidavit must be notarized before submission. Notarization is a process where a notary public verifies the identity of the affiant (the person making the statement) and confirms that they are willingly and truthfully making the statement.
The completed and notarized affidavit, along with any required documentation, must be submitted along with the license application.
This verification process is in place to ensure that individuals applying for a Commercial Furharvest License are lawfully present in the United States. It helps maintain compliance with relevant regulations and requirements.
Legal Traps for Trapping in South Carolina
In South Carolina, trapping is regulated to ensure the humane and ethical capture of animals while safeguarding wildlife populations. Trappers must use specific types of traps that comply with state regulations. Here are the legal traps that can be used for trapping in South Carolina:
- Land Sets: Foothold traps with an inside jaw spread of 5 ¾" or smaller are legal for land sets.
- Water Sets: Foothold traps with an inside jaw spread of 7 ¼" or smaller can be used for water sets. Inside jaw spread is measured at the widest point perpendicular to the pivot points (jaw hinges) when the trap is in the set position.
Enclosed Foothold Traps
- Traps such as "Egg," "Duffer," "Coon-cuff," and similarly designed dog-proof style traps, which are specifically designed for raccoons, are allowed.
Body Gripping Traps
- Body gripping traps of the Conibear® type can be used in water or slide sets only.
- No bait is allowed to be used with body-gripping traps.
Cable Restraints (Snares)
- Cable restraints, also known as snares, may be used in water sets only.
- Live traps can be used for trapping feral animals at any time without requiring a license or permit from the Department.
Small Snap, Box, and Other Traps
- Small snap traps, box traps, and other commonly used traps designed to catch commensal rodents or snakes in homes and businesses may be used at any time by property owners, occupants, or their designees to catch snakes, rats, and mice.
It's important to note that all traps used for trapping in South Carolina must bear the owner's name and address or the owner's SCDNR-issued Customer ID number. This information must be directly on the trap or attached as a tag.
Trapping and Hunting Seasons in South Carolina
In South Carolina, there are specific seasons and regulations for trapping and hunting furbearing animals. These seasons are designed to manage wildlife populations while allowing for responsible and ethical trapping and hunting practices. Here are the trapping and hunting seasons for furbearers in South Carolina:
- Trapping is lawful for furbearing animals from December 1 of each year to March 1 of the following year.
- A valid Commercial Fur Harvester's License is required for trapping during this season.
- Trapping for noncommercial purposes only (requires a hunting license) is allowed but with the restriction of not possessing more than 5 furbearing animals.
Specific Trapping Seasons for Furbearers:
- Beaver: Year-round.
- Raccoon and Opossum: September 15 - March 15.
- Bobcat, Fox, Mink, Muskrat, Otter, Skunk, Weasel: Thanksgiving - March 1.
- Coyotes: December 1 - March 1.
- Furbearer hunting seasons are listed under the small game seasons.
- Coyotes and beavers may be hunted during daylight hours year-round on private lands by licensed hunters.
- Coyotes may be hunted with or without bait.
- Raccoons, opossums, foxes, mink, and skunk may be hunted at night during the open hunting season for those species.
- Artificial lights can only be used when treed or cornered with dogs.
- No buckshot or any shot larger than #4, or any rifle ammunition larger than a twenty-two rimfire may be used.
- Devices that amplify light using any type of power source, including night vision or infrared/thermal imaging equipment, are considered artificial light.
- Traditional illuminated scope reticles or dots are exempt from this restriction.
Night Hunting for Coyotes:
- A hunting license is required to hunt coyotes at night.
- Landowners must register their property with SCDNR for night hunting.
- Coyotes may be hunted at night on registered properties with artificial lights and night vision devices using any legal firearm, bow, or crossbow.
- Registered properties may also hunt armadillos and feral hogs at night using the same weapons and devices.
- Hunting coyotes at night within 300 yards of a residence without permission is unlawful, except for the landowner hunting their own property or with a SCDNR-issued depredation permit.
- Shooting or attempting to shoot a coyote (or armadillo or feral hog) at night from, on, or across any public paved road is unlawful.
- Property registration with SCDNR is required annually.
Use of Electronic Calls in Hunting
In South Carolina, the use of electronic calls in hunting is subject to specific regulations to ensure fair and ethical hunting practices. Here are the rules regarding the use of electronic calls in hunting:
Game Birds and Game Animals
- It is illegal to hunt, catch, take, kill, or attempt to hunt, catch, take, or kill any game bird or game animal with the aid of electronic calls.
- All furbearing animals, except for coyotes, are also classified as small game.
- Using electronic calls to take furbearing animals is prohibited.
- Electronic calls can be used for hunting coyotes.
- Coyotes are an exception, and hunters can use electronic calls for both day and night hunting on private lands.
- On Wildlife Management Area (WMA) lands where hunting for coyotes is allowed, electronic calls can be used during the day.
Depredation Permits for Furbearing Animals
In South Carolina, depredation permits can be issued by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) at any time of the year for the purpose of addressing issues related to furbearing animals that are causing damage or nuisance. Here are the key details regarding depredation permits for furbearing animals:
Purpose of Depredation Permits
Depredation permits are issued for the following purposes:
- Taking furbearing animals that are causing damage to private or public property.
- Addressing damage to wildlife habitat.
- Managing furbearing animals that are causing harm to game species, timber, crops, agriculture, or other property.
- Conducting scientific research.
- Implementing wildlife management activities.
There is no cost associated with obtaining a depredation permit.
- Animals captured under a depredation permit may not be relocated, sold, traded, exchanged, or bartered.
- Property owners, or their designees, do not require a depredation permit or license when capturing furbearing animals or squirrels within one hundred yards of their homes if the animals are causing damage to their property.
- Animals captured under this exemption must not be relocated and must either be released on-site or destroyed.
Responsibilities of Trappers in South Carolina
Trapping is a regulated activity in South Carolina, and trappers must adhere to certain responsibilities and rules to ensure the ethical and lawful practice of trapping. Here are the key responsibilities of trappers in South Carolina:
Permission to Trap
- Trappers are allowed to trap on lands they own or on lands owned by others, provided they have written permission from the landowner.
- The written permission must be in the trapper's possession at all times while engaged in trapping activities.
Wildlife Management Areas and Heritage Preserves
- Trapping is not permitted on any Wildlife Management Area or Heritage Preserve lands in South Carolina.
Trap Checking Requirements
- All traps must be checked at least once daily.
- Body gripping traps used in water sets and other traps used in submersion sets must be checked once every 48 hours.
Handling of Trapped Animals
- Only the owner of the trap may remove any legally trapped animal from the trap.
- A licensed trapper may tend to another person's traps with written permission from the trap's owner or agent.
Shipping of Raw Furs, Pelts, Hides, or Whole Animals
- While no longer required, individuals shipping or transporting raw furs, pelts, hides, or whole animals out of South Carolina can obtain a shipping certificate from SCDNR if the receiving state or entity requires one, and if the fur harvest licensee requests it.
- To obtain a shipping certificate, a conservation officer must be notified at least 48 hours prior to the need for the certificate. The officer will inspect the package and issue the certificate.
Tagging Requirements for Bobcat and Otter in South Carolina
Trappers and individuals with a commercial fur license in South Carolina must adhere to special tagging requirements for bobcat and otter. Here are the key details regarding tagging:
- Any person required to have a commercial fur license who takes any bobcat or otter must tag the fur, pelt, hide, or whole animal before it is sold, shipped, transferred to any person or business, or transported out of the state.
- This tagging requirement is necessary to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), as required by the Federal Government.
Application for CITES Tags
- A commercial fur licensee must apply to SCDNR (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources) before CITES tags can be issued for bobcat and otter.
- There is no fee for each individual tag, but SCDNR charges a processing fee of $3.00 for each order.
- Trappers may order no more than 10 tags at any one time.
- Bobcat and otter tags may only be ordered from November 1st to April 30th.
Tag Attachment and Usage
- The tags must be securely attached to the fur, pelt, hide, or whole animal and may not be removed until the time of processing.
- CITES tags are nontransferable and may not be altered in any manner.
- SCDNR may limit the number of tags issued for each species and specify the area in which they may be used.
Exception for Live Animals
- Furbearing animals to be sold as live animals are not required to be tagged.
Reporting Requirements for Commercial Fur Harvest Licensees in South Carolina
Commercial fur harvest licensees in South Carolina have specific reporting requirements that must be followed. These requirements ensure that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) receives accurate information about fur harvest activities. Here are the key details:
Annual Report Submission
- All commercial fur harvest licensees must submit an annual report of their fur harvest to SCDNR.
- The annual report must be submitted by April 15th of each year.
- Licensees should use the forms provided by SCDNR for reporting purposes.
Daily Record of Live Fox and Coyote Sales
- Trappers are required to maintain an accurate daily record of all live fox and coyote sales or transfers.
- Forms for recording live fox and coyote sales or transfers are provided by SCDNR.
- Trappers must retain these records and make them available for reasonable inquiry by SCDNR employees.
Reporting Live Fox and Coyote Transactions to Permitted Enclosures
- Trappers who sell or transfer live foxes or coyotes to permitted fox and coyote hunting enclosures have additional reporting responsibilities.
- They must submit all daily records of these transactions to SCDNR by April 15th of each year, using the forms provided by SCDNR.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
- Failure to report by the specified due date can result in consequences for licensees.
- Upon the second offense of failure to report, the violator becomes ineligible for a commercial fur harvest license in the following year.
- Fines may also be imposed for each offense.
Reporting Requirements for Fur Buyers in South Carolina
Fur buyers in South Carolina have specific reporting requirements that must be followed to ensure compliance with state regulations. These requirements are in place to track fur purchases and support the proper management of fur-bearing animals. Here are the key details:
Daily Register of Furs Purchased
- Fur buyers are required to keep a daily register of furs purchased.
- Forms for maintaining this register are provided by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
- Fur buyers must furnish SCDNR with all daily register sheets from the previous month.
- This monthly reporting must be completed no later than the 10th day of each month.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
- Failure to report as required can result in penalties and consequences for fur buyers.
- Fur buyers who do not comply with reporting requirements may lose their buying privileges for one year.
- Prescribed penalties may also be imposed for non-compliance.
Importation of Wildlife Regulations in South Carolina
South Carolina has strict regulations regarding the importation of wildlife, especially certain furbearing animals. Here are the key rules:
Live Coyotes and Foxes
- It is illegal to bring, import, or cause to have imported a live coyote or fox into the state.
- Similarly, it is unlawful to release a coyote or fox into the state, except as authorized by the relevant authorities.
Importation of Other Furbearers
- Importing any other furbearing animals into South Carolina requires a permit issued by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
- It's essential to note that requests for permits to import furbearing animals as pets will typically be denied.
Possession and Sale of Live Foxes or Coyotes in South Carolina
In South Carolina, there are specific regulations regarding the possession and sale of live foxes or coyotes. Here's what you need to know:
Sale or Transfer to Fox and Coyote Hunting Enclosures
- Live foxes or coyotes can only be sold or transferred to the listed owner or operator of a permitted fox and coyote hunting enclosure.
- This sale or transfer must be conducted by the licensed trapper who initially took the animal.
Possession of Live Foxes or Coyotes
- Licensed trappers are allowed to possess live foxes or coyotes during the commercial fur harvest trapping season, which runs from December 1 to March 1.
- After the trapping season ends (from March 2 to April 1), it becomes unlawful for anyone, except a currently permitted fox and coyote enclosure, to possess a live fox or coyote without a permit issued by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).