Deer Hunting in South Carolina 2013

South Carolina, Antler Nation State, Deer Hunting in South Carolina

South Carolina



Est. Whitetail Population


No. Licenses Sold Annually


Resident hunting license and deer permit


Annual hunting with big game permit.

Non-resident hunting license and deer permit


Taken by William C. Wyatt in Pickens County in 1994.

Record B&C Typical Stat


Total B&C Typical Entries

208 5/8"

Taken by John M. Wood in Beaufort County in 1971.

Record B&C Non-Typical Stat


Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Season Dates (2013): South Carolina is broken into six game zones, each with its own season dates, both for private lands and WMAs. Regulations, including bag limits, use of bait and dogs, also vary by zone. Zone 1 archery season is Sept. 15-30; muzzleloader season is Oct. 1-10; and gun season is Oct. 11 to Jan. 1. Zone 3 archery and gun season runs Aug. 14 to Jan. 1. Zone 4 archery season is Sept. 1-14; gun season is Sept. 15 to Jan. 1. Zone 5 archery season is Aug. 15-31; gun season is Sept. 1 to Jan. 1. Zone 6 archery and gun season is Aug 15 to Jan. 1.

The Grade: D

Though there are some deer hunting opportunities unique to South Carolina (velvet bucks with a gun, anyone?), taken as a whole, it scored poorly on our grading system. One of the best ways to evaluate a state is to simply compare it to neighboring states. When compared to North Carolina, South Carolina falls short in public land (just over 1 million acres), herd size and trophy potential, yet non-resident licenses are more expensive.

Georgia has a comparable amount of public land and non-resident licenses are a bit pricier, but there's no comparison when it comes to herd size and the potential for killing a nice buck. Beyond that, wading through South Carolina's WMA hunting regulations is downright daunting.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

While researching South Carolina's deer hunting, we came across an interesting report that's worth reading for anyone who gun-hunts for deer. Compiled by Charles Ruth, wildlife biologist and the deer and turkey project supervisor for South Carolina, the study examined a variety of criteria from a sampling of 493 deer including shot placement, shot distance, bullet caliber and type, the deer's reaction at the shot, and the difficulty of recovery. A few of the highlights? Fifty one percent of the deer dropped at the shot, while 49 percent ran. The average distance of all shots was 132 yards. The average distance for shots that killed a deer was 127 yards, while the average distance of shots that missed was 150 yards. It found no difference in the effectiveness of various calibers or factory vs. custom guns, but there was a significant difference in bullet style. Rapidly expanding bullets, like pointed soft points and ballistic tips, killed deer faster than heavy bullets designed for weight retention. Read the full report here.