Spring 2024 Turkey Hunting Regulations in South Carolina

Season Dates

The turkey hunting season in South Carolina varies by game zone and land type for the Spring 2024 season. Here are the specific dates:

  • Private Lands in Game Zones 1 and 2: April 1 to May 10.
  • Private Lands in Game Zones 3 and 4: March 22 to April 30.
  • WMA (Wildlife Management Area) Lands Statewide: April 1 to April 30.
    • Note: Some WMAs may have more restrictive dates. Hunters should refer to the "Spring Turkey Seasons on WMAs" for specific hunt dates on these lands.

Hunting Limits

The state imposes different limits for residents and nonresidents to ensure sustainable turkey populations. These limits apply to both private and WMA lands:

Residents

  • Total Season Limit: 3 gobblers.
  • Daily Limit: No more than one gobbler per day.
  • Early Season Limit:
    • In Game Zones 1 & 2: No more than one gobbler from April 1-10.
    • In Game Zones 3 & 4: No more than one gobbler from March 22-31.

Nonresidents

  • Total Season Limit: 2 gobblers.
  • Daily Limit: No more than one gobbler per day.
  • Early Season Limit:
    • In Game Zones 1 & 2: No more than one gobbler from April 1-10.
    • In Game Zones 3 & 4: No more than one gobbler from March 22-31.

WMA Specific Regulations

Hunters should be aware that some WMAs may have more restrictive limits or specific regulations. It is important to consult the "Spring Turkey Seasons on WMAs" section for detailed information on these areas.

Statewide Youth Hunting Weekend for Turkey on Private Lands

Overview

South Carolina encourages young hunters with a designated Youth Hunting Weekend for turkey hunting. This special weekend provides an opportunity for youths to engage in hunting activities under guidance and promotes safe and responsible hunting practices.

Eligibility and Dates

  • Age Requirement: The Youth Hunting Weekend is exclusively for hunters who are 17 years old and younger.
  • Dates:
    • Game Zones 1 and 2: March 30-31.
    • Game Zones 3 and 4: March 16-17.

Supervision and Education Requirements

  • Accompanied by Adult: Youth hunters who have not completed the hunter education program must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years of age. This requirement ensures the safety and guidance of young hunters during their hunting activities.
  • Role of Adult: The accompanying adult may participate in calling or guiding during the hunt. However, they are not permitted to take or attempt to take any game. The active hunting role is reserved exclusively for the youth.

Licensing and Tags

  • No License or Tags Required: During these designated youth days, neither the youth nor the accompanying adult is required to have a hunting license or tags. This exemption is intended to encourage participation and make it easier for youths to experience hunting.

Hunting Limit

  • Limit for the Weekend: The youth hunter is allowed to take one (1) gobbler during the weekend. It is important to note that this gobbler counts towards the youth's season limit. Adhering to this limit is crucial for sustainable hunting practices and wildlife management.

Turkey Hunting Laws: Private and WMA Lands

Sunday Hunting

  • Private Lands: Permitted (SC 50-11-555).
  • WMA Lands: Prohibited (Reg. 123-51).

Bag Limits

  • Residents: Maximum 3 gobblers.
  • Nonresidents: Maximum 2 gobblers.
  • Daily Limit: 1 gobbler.
  • Note: Bearded hens are illegal (SC Code 50-11-580).

Tagging Requirements

  • All Hunters: Must have valid turkey tags. This includes those under 16, callers, or guides.
  • Exception: Designated youth days.
  • Harvested Turkeys: Must be tagged and validated as per the tag form before moving from kill point.
  • Tag Limit: Only one set per person (SC 50-11-544).
  • Tagged Out Hunters: Can guide or call if they have their tag form.

Legal Weapons

  • Permitted: Shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns, bows, crossbows.
  • Prohibited: Rifles, pistols, slugs, buckshot (SC 50-11-500, Reg. 123-51).

Hunting Methods

  • Prohibited: Using dogs, live decoys, electronic calls (SC 50-11-40, Reg. 123-51).

Hunting Times and Locations

  • Prohibited Times: 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • Prohibited Actions: Hunting from vehicles on public roads, trapping/snaring, hunting from watercraft (SC 50-11-500).

Baiting Regulations

  • Definition of Bait: Salt, corn, wheat, other grains, or foodstuffs.
  • Baited Area: Prohibited for hunting. Remains baited for 10 days after complete bait removal (SC 50-11-510).
  • Activities Leading to Baited Area: Planting, discing, mowing, top sowing grains, or scattering feed intended for other species during turkey season.

WMA Specific Regulations

  • Fanning/Reaping: Prohibited. Involves hunting with a tail fan, partial/full decoy, or fan mounted to a firearm (Reg. 123-51).
  • Note: Not applicable on private land.

Turkey Tag Regulations and Fees

Tag Requirement

  • Mandatory: All turkey hunters, including youth, must possess turkey tags during hunting, except on designated youth days.

Tag Costs

  • SC Residents: $5 per set of three tags.
  • Nonresidents: $100 per set of two tags.
  • Youth Hunters and 3-Year Disability Licensees: Free tags, annual request required.
  • Lifetime/Senior/Gratis/Disability Licensees: Free tags, one-time request required.

Purchasing Tags

  • Availability: Online or at license vendors.
  • Mailing: Tags mailed starting mid-February.
  • In-Person Pickup: Available at SCDNR regional offices from late February.

Use of Fees

  • Allocation: Dedicated to turkey research, management, and enforcement.
  • Background: Previously, no dedicated funding source existed for SCDNR’s Wild Turkey Program.

Temporary Tags

  • Option for Recent Requests: Download and print a set of temporary tags (refer to Deer Tag Information).

Turkey Harvest Reporting Methods

Reporting Options

  1. Mobile App: Log harvest using the Go Outdoors SC app on smartphones.
  2. Online: Enter harvest details on the web via Game Check at SCDNR License System.
  3. Text Messaging: Text “Harvest” to 1-833-472-4263 and follow prompts.
  4. Phone Call: Dial 1-833-4SC-GAME (1-833-472-4263) for SC Game Check.

Additional Information

  • Provided with Turkey Tags: Detailed instructions on harvest reporting.
  • SCDNR Website: Full details and instructions available online.

Go Outdoors SC App Features

  • Functionality: Enables reporting of harvested turkey with or without cell service.
  • Compatibility: Available for iPhone and Android.
  • Download: Free from Apple or Google Play Store.
South Carolina Turkey Hunting Laws & Regulations

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.