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South Carolina hunting licenses are required to participate in harvesting game within the state. In an effort to preserve the wilderness and wildlife of the Palmetto State, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources regulates the amount of hunting licenses issued to residents and nonresidents. To get a hunting license, applicants must follow the guidelines of the hunting license application process. When considering how to get hunting licenses in SC, it is important to first decide which type of license is right for you. Hunting licenses are categorized according to the species of game hunted. Other factors that come into consideration when buying a hunting license in South Carolina are the regions of the state in which licenses are sought, and the license lottery drawing system. For example, American alligator hunting licenses can only be obtained by winning a lottery drawing. Purchasing an SC hunting license may be considered the simplest part of the process as sales are conducted not only online but by telephone, by mail and in person. Finally, hunting license applicants should check to make sure whether or not they may be required to take a hunter education course. Individuals born after a certain date are mandated to be certified in hunter safety through the DNR.  To find out more about how to get a hunting licensein South Carolina, read the frequently asked questions and answers outlined below.

  • Types of hunting licenses in South Carolina
  • How to buy hunting licenses in South Carolina
  • Hunter education in South Carolina
  • Replacing hunting licenses in South Carolina

What types of hunting licenses are available in South Carolina?

South Carolina hunting licenses come in many forms, though deciding which one to get is a fairly straightforward process. South Carolina hunting permits are issued by the SD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and divided into a number of categories, depending on the type of game the licensee plans to get. For example, alligator and turkey hunting permits are available, as are bear and big game hunting licenses. Furthermore, hunting licenses may be obtained for varying lengths of validation. The DNR offers one- and three-year options, in addition to selling lifetime hunting licenses. Avid sportsmen and women will find the combination hunting and fishing licenses to be a great value. Combo packages are available in a variety of options. The following is a list of a select few types of hunting licenses in South Carolina:

  • Combination residential fishing and hunting licenses (one- and three-year options)
  • State resident/non-resident hunting licenses (one- and three-year options)
    • Additional options for nonresidents include 10-day and three-day licenses
  • Big game hunting permits (one- and three-year options)
  • Wildlife Management Area (WMA) licenses (one- and three-year options)

In addition to hunting licenses, some applicants may have to purchase hunting permits and/or tags. Turkey and bear hunting license holders must obtain hunting tags to harvest these particular animals. Options for apprentice hunting permits are also available. Establishing your residency with the SC DNR is important when purchasing a hunting license, as the fees for residents are significantly discounted compared to the fees for nonresidents.

How do I purchase a license to hunt in South Carolina?

To buy a hunting license, the South Carolina DNR offers many options for residents and nonresidents. Sales are conducted online, through a license vendor in person, via telephone and by mail. Regardless of which method is chosen, applicants are required to show proof of identity in the form of a driver’s license or state identification card along with furnishing a Social Security Number, when purchasing a license to hunt. Non-US citizens may present a passport in lieu of a state-issued ID card.

Hunting licenses purchased over the phone or by mail will arrive shortly after you apply. For online purchases, you will need a printer to print out your hunting license.

Am I required to take any hunting classes in order to purchase a hunting license?

Per regulations set by the South Carolina DNR, residents and nonresidents who were born on or after July 1, 1979 and applying for a hunting permit must first complete the hunter education requirement. To satisfy this requirement, applicants must take the hunter education certification course offered through the SC DNR. Two options for fulfilling the hunter education requirement include the instructor-led classroom course and the online self-study course.

Instructor courses are free to the public and consist of eight hours of classroom instruction. Online courses are conducted by a third-party service and carry a cost. The eight-hour course could be completed over the course of one or two nights.

Online hunter education courses in South Carolina are administered through a third-party vender and not by the Department of Natural Resources. As such, a fee is assessed for partaking in this format of instruction. Upon completion of the course, students may print out their temporary hunter education certificate. The permanent document should arrive by mail in two to three weeks.

Students who pass the course will receive a Hunter Education Certificate which can be used to purchase a hunting license. Subjects covered in hunter education courses include responsible hunting tactics, wilderness survival, the ethics of hunting, and firearm safety.

How do I replace hunting permits in South Carolina?

The process for replacing hunting licenses in South Carolina depends on the type of license purchased. For regular residential and non-resident hunting licenses, applicants can purchase a duplicate by visiting any SC DNR authorized hunting license vendor and putting in a request. Duplicate hunting licenses purchased in this manner will display all hunting licenses purchased up to that point.

To replace SC hunting tags, applicants must visit a local SC DNR regional office to complete an application and pay the applicable fees. If you have lost your federal waterfowl hunting stamp, you will need to purchase a new hunting stamp.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. All throughout the United States, hunters safety classes must be completed in order for applicants to obtain their desired hunting permits and stamps. Failure to take this specific course will result in the rejection of your hunting license request, thus requiring you to start over.
Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to buy hunting licenses in a variety of ways, including online (through your state department’s portal), by mail, by phone or in person. Choose the option that is most convenient for you. Make sure to also have any type of official documentation and payment for fees on hand.
No. Different states have different limits and regulations on hunting licensure. Certain animals may be considered “prohibited species,” whereas other animals may be legal to hunt, so long as you have the necessary hunting permit/stamp. Keep in mind that if you do hunt for any type of prohibited species, you will be subject to serious consequences.
Yes. States typically offer various short-term hunters license options, such as one-day and one-week passes, to those who do not meet residency requirements. In order to receive issuance of a short-term hunting license, make sure to get in touch with your state/hunting wildlife department to find out the available methods you have to apply.
In the event your hunting credentials are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, contact your state hunting/wildlife department to order a hunting license replacement. You may have to make an in-person visit to a local office to complete the process. At the time of your replacement request, you may be asked to present your state driving license or another type of identification.
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