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Weather, Safety, and Duck Hunting

With deer season over, many variety hunters are leaving the woods and heading towards the water for duck hunting. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has a strict and well mapped out season for all migratory birds which includes the type of bird, the dates in which that bird can be hunted, and the limit of how many of that species can be killed. Although there is a large variety of migratory birds that can be hunted in South Carolina, the most popular on the list is ducks. According to Sgt. Godowns with SCDNR, “Duck hunting has always been a very popular sport in the low country but since the show duck dynasty the number of duck hunters has exploded. Duck hunting is a lot of fun and can be enjoyed by all but can be dangerous if not properly educated.” SCDNR focuses a great deal of their efforts on education and safety of all hunters. “A lot of duck hunters in the low country hunt out of boats in the marshes. All boating laws and necessary safety gear apply. Life jackets for everyone on board, a whistle on board, navigation lights for operating at night hours, and some boats may require fire extinguishers and throwable devices according to size,” Sgt. Godowns said regarding safety during duck hunting. Due to the recent snow and record low temperatures, many private ponds and even some smaller streams have frozen over causing hunting locations to be limited. “Hunters need to know where safe places to shoot are and what’s beyond the area they are hunting. People hunting with a group should know where all hunters are located during the hunt. Always keep guns pointed in a safe direction, and refrain from shooting low birds. Everyone hunting should check the rules and make sure they have all proper licenses (State hunting license, Migratory waterfowl permit or state stamp, federal stamp, and migratory bird permit or HIP permit), have plugs for their shotguns, and review duck ID (know what you are shooting),” Sgt. Gowdowns said. All of these requirements can be found on the SCDNR website, including a detailed table to each migratory birds. “Hunters need to remember duck hunting changes from year to year depending on weather and outside forces that are not under our control,” Sgt. Godowns said, “We are very lucky to live in the low country and have the amount of wildlife to enjoy.”

Amye Stivender (218 Posts)