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Tags for the upcoming 2019 white-tailed deer season have begun arriving in the mailboxes of South Carolina deer hunters, with one big change for this season that hunters will notice immediately.
Based on feedback from hunters, SCDNR staff worked with the S.C. General Assembly during the past legislative session to eliminate the eight (8) date-specific antlerless deer tags used last year and replace them with two (2) antlerless tags that may be used on ANY DAY beginning September 15 in Game Zones 2, 3 or 4; and beginning October 1 in Game Zone 1. This change greatly simplifies the tagging system and increases resident hunters’ opportunity and flexibility to take antlerless deer.
In addition, resident hunters continue to have the opportunity to purchase four (4) optional antlerless tags for $5 each. Another new modification this year gives hunters who purchase all four (4) optional antlerless tags two (2) free bonus tags valid for antlerless deer on private land only in Game Zones 3 and 4 to help control deer damage to agricultural crops in those zones.
As in the past two years, resident hunters also still have the option to purchase two (2) additional antler-restricted buck tags for $5 each. The restriction is that the bucks must have 4 points on one antler or a minimum 12-inch inside spread. There is no particular order in which antlered buck tags must be used.
South Carolina residents that currently have an active Annual or Three-year Hunting License and Big Game Permit, Combination License, or Sportsman License that will be valid when deer season begins on August 15 should automatically receive a base set of deer tags in the mail at no cost. Please bear in mind that this is an enormous process, with over 150,000 sets of tags going out in the span of just a couple of weeks. SCDNR asks that current license-holders who should be receiving a base set of tags in the mail be patient and not call or email inquiring about the status of mailed tags prior to August 1st.
Additionally, anyone who has ordered optional tags or requested a set of tags since June 16 is in the system, and the tags for those orders are being produced and mailed. Please wait until at least August 1st before inquiring about the status of your tags.
License holders unsure about the status/expiration date of their hunting license, big game permit, or other SCDNR hunting privileges can visit the Customer Privileges Portal online to check a license status or to see when or if deer tags have been fulfilled.
Deer Tags are not available over the counter at point of sales vendors (Walmart, Dicks Sporting Goods, etc.), but they are available over the counter at SCDNR offices located in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia (Farmers Market), Florence, and York. Tags may also be purchased by phone at 1-866-714-3611 or online. Please allow 7-10 days for tags ordered or requested online or by phone to arrive in the mail.
Remember that Lifetime, Senior/Gratis/Disability and Youth Licensees must request the free base set of tags annually. Tags can be requested by calling the toll free number or visiting the website listed above. Hunters may also contact the SCDNR License Office at 803-734-3833 for tag requests and tag or license related questions.