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October 24, 2007

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100 Best Public-Land Hunts: South Carolina

Webb Wildlife Center (5,800 acres)
Hamilton Ridge Wildlife Management Area (13,281)
Palachucola Wildlife Manage Area (5,900 acres)
: southwest South Carolina
Size: Total acreage: 24,981
ZIP: 29918

"This part of South Carolina is some of the finest deer habitat on planet Earth," statewide deer project supervisor Charles Ruth of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says of Hampton County South Carolina, where Webb, Hamilton and Palachucola lie. Good deer numbers and all the ingredients for producing quality bucks-fertile soil, abundant food and extensive cover-come together on the lower Savannah River drainage, and intensive forestry management and food plot plantings on the public tracts have kicked things up another notch. These three adjoining WMAs offer nearly 25,000 acres of public hunting in a region that attracts more nonresident pay-to-play hunters than any in the state. All hunts are draw only, but if your name comes out of the hat at Webb, you'll be pampered with a first-class guided trip that is the most popular public land deer hunt in the state. All three spots offer a shot at the 120 class deer that come off these areas each year, and maybe even a chance at a state record-book buck.

Woodbury Wildlife Management Area
: northeast South Carolina
Size: 25,688 acres
ZIP: 29918

Two years ago, Woodbury was paper company land leased to a private hunting club. Now anyone with a state hunting license and the proper permits can take a crack at South Carolina's newest quality deer management tract, which opened to public hunting last season. Two-thirds of this vast spread is bottomland, and the confluence of the Little Pee Dee and Great Pee Dee rivers on the property creates a unique landscape that combines a black river swamp on one side and a red river swamp on the other. Antler restrictions limit the take to bucks with at least four antler points or a minimum outside spread of 12 inches, and planned habitat improvements should transform what is essentially a pine plantation (and a haven for wild hogs) into better deer habitat. But don't wait. "The club managed it as a quality deer area," says DNR regional wildlife coordinator Sam Stokes, "so there's got to be a pretty good age structure and a chance for some decent deer on the property."

Sumter National Forest
: northwest South Carolina
Size: 280,000 acres
ZIP: 29835 (Long Cane), 29178 (Enoree)

"You can go to Sumter from September 15 to January 1 and do your thing," Ruth says. "You'll find no antler restrictions, a three month firearms season, and virtually every kind of terrain this part of South Carolina offers." Three main tracts of national forest are scattered across the state's Piedmont region, but the 119,076-acre Long Cane District and the 161,216-acre Enoree District feature higher deer densities and better hunting access than the mountainous Andrew Pickens District. Big bucks are hard to come by, but hunter success is high, with an average harvest rate of 12 deer per square mile. Commercial pines dominate some areas, but streams and ridges are good spots to look for mast-producing hardwoods. "Hunting pressure is not what it used to be," Ruth says, "and good deer numbers make this a great opportunity for the average guy who needs a place to go."


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I've heard South Carolina has some big bucks.


I wish I knew where they were I live in SC

Chris Fennell

Does anybody know any public land that my friend and I could hunt hogs on? I have been to a preserve plenty of times but tired of spending alot of money. please email me if you know anywhere. thanks

Chris Fennell

Does anybody know any public land that my friend and I could hunt hogs on? I have been to a preserve plenty of times but tired of spending alot of money. please email me if you know anywhere. thanks


Quite a few of our public areas now require non-toxic shot. They are listed both in the current copy of Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Regulations.Hunters should note that Big Creek is a partial wildlife refuge, with the boundaries indicated by yellow and black signs.
South Carolina Drug Addiction


All the big bucks are on private lands

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