South Carolina's hunting laws are among the most liberal in the United States. South Carolina has little prohibition on handguns. South Carolina only requires citizens to carry a permit if owners choose to carry a concealed handgun. Gun statistics show that most South Carolina residents purchase their firearms for the purpose of hunting.
South Carolina allows for the purchase of all weapons except for fully automatic guns. Semi-automatic weapons that are not military grade weapons can purchased by South Carolina Residents and non-residents who own property in South Carolina. Lenient Gun laws however, do not mean that proper hunting practices should not be observed.
South Carolina's hunting laws protect the following wild game animals by regulating hunting seasons for specific types of animal. The animals protected under the South Carolina's hunting laws are bears, turkeys, beaver, bobcat, weasel, waterfowl, mink, and snipe. It is prohibited to shoot and kill eagles, hawks, owls, and vultures and other birds of prey.
South Carolina's hunting laws prohibit the use of unethical methods of hunting. It is unlawful to perform a field trial without the proper permit. Field trials are when hunters release many dogs to compete for game. Hunting by crossbow is illegal on public hunting grounds. It is legal on private hunting grounds. Crossbows may only be used on deer, bears, and turkey. Falconers must possess a permit from the South Carolina Divisions of Natural Resources.
Alligators may be hunted with permit from the South Carolina Division of Natural Resources. The hunter must be at least sixteen years old when hunting alligator. The permit only allows for the killing of one alligator. Armadillos also require a permit to hunt despite the animal not having protected status. Bears may also be hunted only during bear season. It is unlawful to trade or sell bear carcasses or parts of bear carcasses. It is unlawful to transfer a bear during the off-season. All freshly killed bears must be reported to the South Carolina Division of Natural Resources within 24 hours of killing the bear.
Deer are protected animals. Hunting is only permitted during season. Certain Wildlife Management Zones do not allow the hunting of deer with the aid of dogs. The species of deer that inhabit the woodlands of South Carolina are White- tailed deer. Gun statistics show that deer hunting in South Carolina is one of the most ethical due to the Division of Natural Resources' studies on the equipment South Carolina hunters use to kill deer. The average distance at which South Carolina hunters shoot deer is 132 yards with an 81% percent success rate. One out of two deer ran after being shot.
The recovery rate of deer carcasses that ran after being shot was greatly increased with the aid of dogs. Hunters who used dogs were 20% more likely to find deer. Gun statistics show to increased efficiency in hunters that used high caliber firearms. Gun statistics also show that deer ran less frequently when hunters used soft point ammunition like ballistic tip or bronze tip rounds. Therefore, the use of full metal jacket rounds and other hard tipped rounds was found unnecessary.
However, deer ran less frequency when hunters implemented a high caliber rifle. These studies stopped South Carolina from adopting caliber restrictions for most forms of hunting. South Carolina has the least restrictions on the type of ammunition and caliber of hunting firearms. Trapping, poisoning, and automatic weapons are still illegal though as these are extremely unethical hunting practices.