I primarily hunt private land, but this year I plan to hunt public land owned by Clemson University, because it’s only 15 minutes from my house. Clemson University has a tremendous amount of public property that is designated just for bowhunting and has an antler restriction on bucks. To harvest a buck on these public lands, the buck has to have 4 points on one side or the inside spread of the main beams has to be more than 12 inches. Since Clemson University has instituted antler restriction, some nice-size bucks have been harvested there.
Clemson owns several plots of land with one of the bigger Fant’s Grove. Another portion of the Clemson property is called Keowee, and that property is divided by a lake. Some of the property is on one side of the lake, and the rest of the property is on the other side. This land also contains some old U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ campgrounds. When the camps closed down, that property became a part of the Clemson University property. This region homes a lot of small properties perhaps only 75 to 100 acres each. If I can learn where these lands are, I feel confident I can find some good deer hunting.
At the end of the season, Clemson University holds a 2-week gun season. However, hunters have to go into a drawing, and then if selected, they can hunt that property with a gun for 2 weeks.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, southern South Carolina produces an abundance of agriculture, including peanuts, soybeans and corn, which means bigger deer. Also the southern half of South Carolina probably has the largest population of feral hogs in the state. You can take as many hogs all year long that you want to drag out of the woods, because the hogs do more damage to croplands and woodlands than the deer do, and the hogs compete with the deer for food.
On private land, you can put out bait for the hogs. However on public lands, you still can take as many hogs as you want to throughout the year but can’t put out bait. So, hunters who want to get a jump start on their states’ bow or rifle seasons can come to South Carolina, because we have a target-rich environment throughout the state. However, the southern portion of the state has more deer and more hogs and more liberal bag limits.
Tomorrow: Take South Carolina Deer in the Heat