Public Land Sunday Hunting Public Meetings Announced in South Carolina

Contact: John Culclasure, Southeastern States Assistant Director

Highlights:

  • The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prohibits by regulation Sunday hunting on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
  • WMAs are purchased and managed with sportsmen-generated dollars through the “user pays – public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding.
  • Only two other states in the country – Maine and Massachusetts – completely prohibit Sunday hunting on public lands.
  • The DNR held a meeting in June to gauge public opinion about Sunday hunting on WMAs and announced four additional meetings in July and an online survey to gather additional input from the public.

Why It Matters: Hunters are the only user group excluded from WMAs on Sundays in South Carolina. As other states have rolled back their public land Sunday hunting prohibitions (West Virginia in 2018; North Carolina in 2021), South Carolina hunters are eager to repeal the outdated regulation that has no basis in wildlife management and is at its core a Blue Law.

Removing barriers to participation in hunting (Sunday hunting is a prime example) improves access and opportunity for sportsmen and women and supports hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts. Removing Sunday hunting restrictions also supports conservation funding, benefits the economy, and provides access parity among user groups. Can you imagine the uproar if birders, anglers, hikers, mountain bikers, and other user groups were denied access to public lands on Sundays?

The DNR will be hosting public input meetings and South Carolina hunters are encouraged to attend and express their support for opening Sunday hunting on WMAs.  The public input meetings, which are being conducted in conjunction with Clemson University, are scheduled for July 13 in Florence, July 15 in Clinton, July 19 in Moncks Corner, and July 26 in Columbia, and will promptly begin at 6:00 p.m.

In addition to the public input meetings, there is also an online survey which closes July 28 at 5:00 p.m.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation appreciates the DNR moving forward with the public input process and looks forward to continuing to support the repeal of the regulation that denies access to the DNR’s license-buying constituency – sportsmen and women.

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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