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Bear Hunting In South Carolina

Hunting Methods  Hunting With Dogs

South Carolina's black bear population dropped drastically when early settlers nearly wiped them out with overhunting and deforestation. The population has recovered somewhat, but black bears are still listed as a vulnerable species in the State.


When Did Bear Hunting Start In South Carolina?

Regulated bear hunting in South Carolina began in 1970.


Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear management units)?

The State is broken down into four Game Zones. Each Game Zone is broken down into Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) Bear hunting is sanctioned to Game Zones 1 and 4.


When Is Bear Hunting Season?

Game Zone 1:
Still Hunt (No Dogs): Oct. 17-23
Dog Hunting: Oct. 24-30


Game Zone 4: 
Still Hunt (No Dogs): Oct. 17-30

Note: Game Zone 4 has a 30 bear quota for the season. If the quota is met before the 30th of October, the hunt will be closed 24 hours after the closure notice is given.


What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Any longbow, recurve bow, compound bow, or crossbow with any draw weight, length, and any broadhead style.

Muzzleloaders: Muzzleloading shotguns twenty gauges or larger; Muzzleloading rifles .36 caliber or larger with open or peep sights or scopes.


Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

No. Killing cubs or mothers with cubs is illegal.


Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

No. The use of bait is illegal.


Is Dog Hunting Permitted In South Carolina?

Yes. Hunting with dogs is permitted.


What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

Immediately after killing a bear, hunters must attach their Bear Tag to the carcass before it is moved. The hunter must report the kill to SCDNR by midnight the day of the kill in Game Zone 4, and in Game Zone 1, it must be reported to the Clemson SCDNR. The SCDNR may need hunters to collect a pre-molar tooth and hair from the harvested bear.


What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

  1. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

  2. South Carolina Wildlife Federation.


When Does South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Hold Their Meetings?

Meetings are held monthly, usually on the third Thursday of the month. Meeting dates, times and locations will be posted here -


Are The Meetings Open To The Public?

All of the meetings are open to the public, and the SCDNR encourages people to join. Dates, times and locations will be posted here -


Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and South Carolina’s elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes.

Norman F. Pulliam, Chairman of the NCDNR.


Groups And Organizations That Oppose Bear Hunting.

The Humane Society of America -


Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources -

SC Bear Hunter and Houndsmen Association -

The NRA -

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