Tags for the 2019 white-tailed deer season now hitting mailboxes of South Carolina deer hunters have one big change hunters will notice immediately.
Based on feedback from hunters, SCDNR staff worked with the state’s General Assembly the past legislative session to eliminate the 8 date-specific antlerless deer tags used last year and replace them with 2 antlerless tags that may be used any day beginning Sept. 15 in Game Zones 2, 3 or 4, and beginning Oct. 1 in Game Zone 1.
The change greatly simplifies the tagging system and increases resident hunters' opportunity and flexibility to take antlerless deer.
In addition, resident hunters continue to be able to purchase 4 optional antlerless tags for $5 each. Another new modification this year gives hunters who purchase all 4 optional antlerless tags 2 free bonus tags valid for antlerless deer on private land only in Game Zones 3 and 4 to help control deer damage to agricultural crops in those zones.
As in the past two years, resident hunters also still have the option to purchase 2 additional antler-restricted buck tags for $5 each. The restriction is that the bucks must have 4 points on one antler or a minimum 12-inch inside spread. There is no particular order in which antlered buck tags must be used.
Resident who currently have an active Annual or Three-year Hunting License and Big Game Permit, Combination License, or Sportsman License that will be valid when deer season begins on Aug. 15 should automatically receive a base set of deer tags in the mail at no cost.
Hunters are reminded the time-consuming process has more than 150,000 sets of tags going out in the span of just a couple of weeks. Current license-holders who should be receiving a base set of tags in the mail are asked to be patient and not call or email about the status of mailed tags prior to Aug. 1.
Hunters who ordered optional tags or requested a set of tags since June 16 are also in the system, and the tags for those orders are being produced and mailed. Please wait until at least Aug. 1 before inquiring about the tags’ status.
License holders unsure about the status or expiration date of their hunting license, big game permit, or other hunting privileges can check status as well as when deer tags have been fulfilled by visiting the Customer Privileges Portal.
Deer Tags are not available over at vendors such as Walmart, Dicks Sporting Goods, etc., but they are available at SCDNR offices in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia (Farmers Market), Florence and York.
Tags also may be purchased by phone at (866)714-3611 or online. Hunters are advised to allow 7 to 10 days for tags ordered by phone or online to arrive in the mail.
Lifetime, Senior/Gratis/Disability and Youth Licensees must request their free base set of tags annually by calling (866)714-3611 or online.