General Assembly makes changes to South Carolina's night-hunting law

SCDNR News Release

July 09, 2010 at 2:06 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The night hunting law was recently changed to allow for the hunting of coyotes, armadillos and hogs at night under certain conditions, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources announced.

The law originally was intended to protect white-tailed deer from being taken at night, and it will still be illegal to take deer at night.

It is currently legal to hunt raccoons, opossums, foxes, mink and skunk at night, but they may not be hunted with artificial lights except when treed or cornered with dogs, or with buckshot or any shot larger than a number four, or any rifle ammunition larger than a .22 rimfire.

Coyotes and armadillos can be hunted during the day on private lands without restrictions and the new law provides that coyotes and armadillos may be hunted at night with an artificial light that is carried on the hunter's person attached to a helmet or hat, or part of a belt system worn by the hunter. Coyotes and armadillos may be hunted with a rifle no larger than .22 caliber rimfire, a shotgun with a shot size no larger than a BB, or a sidearm of any caliber that has iron sites and a barrel length not exceeding nine inches. Any weapon used to hunt coyotes or armadillos may not be equipped with a butt-stock, scope, laser site, or light emitting or light enhancing device. It is unlawful to have in one's possession any shot size larger than a BB while legally hunting coyotes and armadillos at night with a shotgun, and coyotes and armadillos may not be hunted at night from a vehicle, unless specifically permitted by the department.

Hogs may be hunted during the day on private lands without restrictions and at night with an artificial light that is carried on the hunter's person attached to a helmet or hat, or part of a belt system worn by the hunter and with a sidearm of any caliber that has iron sites and barrel length not exceeding nine inches. The sidearm may not be equipped with a butt-stock, scope, laser site, or light emitting or light enhancing device. However, hogs may not be hunted at night from a vehicle, or with a centerfire rifle or shotgun, unless specifically permitted by the department. Hunting of hogs at night with dogs is allowed as long as the hunter(s) complies with these firearms and lighting restrictions.

Again, agency officials stress that it is still illegal to take or attempt to take deer at night and illegal night hunting activities will be vigorously policed and prosecuted. DNR biologists advise that significant control of feral hog and coyote populations will not likely occur with night hunting techniques. Trapping, using legal methods and devices is much more effective and efficient.


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