South Carolina deer hunters will need to prepare for changes to their tagging process in the upcoming year.
From July 2024 and onward, deer tagging for hunters will be replaced by an electronic system instead of the traditional physical tagging method. This transition comes as a result of a new law mandating that hunters must also electronically tag turkeys using the Department of Natural Resources app in the state.
There are mixed reactions within the hunting community regarding the recent change. While some are embracing it with open arms, others are expressing their discontent with the alteration in the process.
In South Carolina, hunting regulations are put in place to maintain the population of different animals. Each season, hunters are permitted to catch and kill a certain number of animals, depending on the species and population size. To ensure that hunters comply with the legal kill limits, the state requires them to tag and report their kills. While deer and turkey have limited hunting seasons, armadillos and feral hogs can be hunted throughout the year. It’s important to follow these regulations to preserve the delicate balance of the ecosystem.
In the past, when hunters hunted animals, they would tag the animal by attaching a physical plastic tag onto it. Afterward, they would register their kill at animal processing centers.
The process of moving towards digitization is currently underway in the state.
In 2022, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources unveiled its new licensing and boat titling system, the Go Outdoors South Carolina app. This versatile app allows users to purchase hunting and fishing licenses, apply for lottery hunts, and even register their watercraft. So whether you’re an avid outdoorsman or just looking to get out on the water, this app has got you covered.
The app was initially limited to tagging turkeys, but now it has expanded to include deer as well.
According to Edgefield Republican Rep. Bill Hixon, who was the main sponsor of the passed bill this year, if something is functioning effectively, it’s best to simplify the process.
According to Hixon, the key to maintaining a thriving animal population is effective management. He believes that by managing the population, we can ensure that the animals remain healthy and continue to thrive.
According to Hixon, the proposed bill garnered significant support, albeit some of the older generation were not as enthusiastic about utilizing an app, while younger hunters were all for it. There were concerns raised regarding the possibility of phones running out of battery or having no signal in remote areas. However, lawmakers have assured that the system will be optimized over the next year to make it more user-friendly and efficient.
Lawmakers have expressed their intention to review hunting regulations related to feral hogs and a few other animals in the coming year. However, it remains to be seen if there will be any additional bills introduced regarding the tagging of other animals.
Starting in July of next year, hunters who fail to tag a deer correctly may face a misdemeanor charge and be subject to fines of up to $25. It is important for hunters to follow proper tagging procedures to ensure the safety and sustainability of wildlife populations.