South Carolina Deer Hunting Season 2023-2024

| |

South Carolina offers a diverse and exciting hunting experience. Deer season is always an exciting time for hunters in South Carolina. As we approach the seasons, let’s ensure we have everything to hunt legally. That includes purchasing the correct licenses and permits and ensuring that our weapons meet the proper specifications set by the state of South Carolina. 

This article covers all the essential information you need to prepare for the deer hunting season from 2023 to 2024. Let’s get stuck in.

Season Dates 

The first thing we must familiarize ourselves with is the season dates. Season dates for hunting deer in South Carolina are specific to the weapons you use, where you hunt (public lands or private lands), and your age. For more information on hunting dates, check the e-regulations page for South Carolina.

Deer Hunting Season Date (Private Lands)

Deer Start DateEnd DateDetails
Youth HuntAug 13th
Sept 10th
Sept 24th
Jan 7th
Hunts are specific to individual dates.
Primitive WeaponsOct 1stOct 10th
ArcherySept 15thJan 1st
Gun HuntsAug 15thJan 1st

Licensing & Draw License Fees

Understanding what licenses you need to buy and how deer tags work is also important. License fees, the split between residents and non-residents, and the requirements for tags are also different for the two. Below is a table with all the licenses connected to hunting deer and how much they cost:

License FeeResident FeeNon-Resident FeeDetails
Combinations license (hunting and fishing)$75 (3 years)
$25 (annual)
Includes State Hunting, Big Game & Freshwater Fishing. Valid for 1  or 3 years from the date of purchase.
Junior sportsman license$16Includes State Hunting, Big Game, Wildlife Management Areas & Freshwater Fishing for applicants 16-17 years of age. 
Sportsman licenses$150 (3 years)
$50 (annual)
include State Hunting, Big Game, Wildlife Management Areas & Freshwater Fishing, valid for 1 or 3 years from the date of purchase.
State hunting license$36 (3 years)
$12 (annual)
$125 (annual)
$75 (10 days)
$40 (3 days)
Big Game Permit$18 (3 years)
$6 (annual)
$100 (annual)Required to hunt bear, deer or turkey, hunting license and tags required.
Wildlife management area$91.50 (3 years)
$30.50 (annual)
$76 (annual)Required to hunt on WMA lands, hunting license required.
Shooting Preserve Permit$8,50 (annual)For hunting specified released species only on licensed shooting preserves.
Individual Antlerless Deer Tag$5$10See Deer Rules & Regulations.
Restricted Antlered Deer tage$5Maximum 2 tags per hunter, hunting license, and big game permit required.
Unrestricted Antlered deer tag$50Maximum 1 tag. You must purchase a $50.00 tag before purchasing additional antlered (buck) tags.
Restrict Antlered Deer tag$20Maximum 2 tags.A $50.00 unrestricted tag is required before you can purchase these tags.

What Weapons can you Hunt Deer Within Virginia?


ShotgunsMust be a minimum of 10 gauge. Loaded with single slugs. Barrel must be a minimum of 18 inches long. The minimum overall length must be 26 inches.
Centerfire rifle 0.36 Caliber and up with a magnum load or centerfire cartridge.
Handguns.43 caliber and down with a barrel no longer than four and a half inches. 

Bow and Arrow:

ArrowsArchery encompasses various bows, including longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, and crossbows. There are no limitations regarding draw weight or length, arrow weight or length, and broad head weight, width, or style.
Bow characteristics


Crossbow draw weightNo restrictions placed on crossbow draw weight, arrow/ bolt weight and size, or broadheads. Crossbows can be used throughout all seasons.
Arrows/ bolts

Muzzleloading Rifle:

Powderblack powder or black powder substitute only.
CaliberA single barrel of .36 caliber or greater.
Legal projectileMuzzleloaders can be smoothbore or rifled. Must be a single barrel that fires a single round ball or conical projectile.
IgnitionNo restrictions on the ignition system.

South Carolina seems to be more lenient on their weapon requirements. However, it’s still important to keep within the suggested requirements. For more information, check the weapons requirement page in the e-regulations document.

What Types of Deer Are Popular in South Carolina?

South Carolina has a great range of deer to captivate hunters throughout the hunting season. You have many options with Mule, Sika, White-tailed, and axis deer. However, identification can be an issue with species that look so similar. So here is how you can distinguish between all of these deer species.

The Sika Deer is smaller than the White-tailed deer and Mule deer. Their coats go from dark brown to reddish brown with white spots spread over their back. Their antlers are small and straightforward, with a single beam and one or two points.

The White-tailed Deer is slightly larger than the others with a reddish-brown to grey coat, which gets darker during winter. They are known by their white tails, which stand alert when alarmed. Their antlers are usually forked and branched and can vary in size depending on the age and health of the deer.

The Mule deer are easily distinguished by their large ears. Also, slightly larger deer, their coats are similar to the White-tailed deer. However, their tails are different. They are smaller and have a white border around them. 

Finally, the Axis Deer is similar in size to the Sika Deer. They are also reddish-brown with white spots. To help you distinguish them from the Sika deer, look for the white patch on the underside of the throat. Their antlers also have three points on each side which sets them apart.

What Else is Popular to Hunt in South Carolina?

We have seen already that South Carolina provides hunters with a great range of deer to hunt. But it doesn’t stop there. You can also legally hunt many other animals, providing you with a unique hunting experience. Here’s a list of all the animals you can legally hunt in South Carolina:

Big Game:

  • White-tailed Deer
  • Wild Turkey
  • Black Bear

Upland Birds:

  • Bobwhite Quail
  • Ring-necked Pheasant (limited areas and specific dates)
  • Ruffed Grouse (limited areas and specific dates)
  • Wild Turkey
  • Dove
  • Snipe
  • Woodcock


  • Mallard
  • Black Duck
  • Wood Duck
  • Teal
  • Pintail
  • Canada Goose
  • Snow Goose
  • Various other duck and goose species

Small Game:

  • Eastern Gray Squirrel
  • Fox Squirrel
  • Rabbit (Eastern Cottontail and Swamp Rabbit)
  • Raccoon
  • Opossum
  • Coyote
  • Bobcat (with specific regulations)
  • Fox (Red and Gray)
  • Striped Skunk
  • Mink
  • Muskrat
  • Nutria
  • Beaver
  • Groundhog (Woodchuck)
  • Armadillo
  • Feral Hog (with specific regulations)

Remember that with each animal you will need to purchase the corresponding license and tag to ensure that you can hunt them legally. To learn more about the requirements for hunting these animals, check the South Carolina e-regulations page.

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

Leave a Comment