A series of youth draw deer hunts conducted jointly by Santee Cooper and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) will be continued this fall.
Applications are available now, with the deadline for submitting applications being Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. The public can call the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau at 843-825-3387 to request an application.
Past participants are encouraged to tell their friends about their experience to spread the word about this opportunity.
Participants must be 17 or younger and capable of safely handling a firearm. They must also be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old. While the youth hunter and the adult sit together in the stand, only the youth may actually hunt or shoot.
All hunts take place in the afternoon from two-person stands located along the edges of wildlife openings that have been planted in oats, wheat, soybeans or peas. The areas hunted on youth draw hunts are located within Sandy Beach Wildlife Management Area and Cross Generating Station, both part of the Santee Cooper-owned Moultrie Hunt Unit.
SCDNR’s Wildlife Management staff based out of the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau work in partnership with Santee Cooper staff to manage the Moultrie Hunt Unit for all wildlife species, and to provide recreational opportunity for the public, especially youth who might be new to the outdoors.
SCDNR and Santee Cooper staff give a hunting safety talk to all participants upon their arrival.
The hope is that young hunters will take a renewed energy away from a positive experience and continue to value the hunting tradition into adulthood.
Santee Cooper not only owns the land on which these hunts are held, but provides funding for the property’s management, personnel to assist with the logistics of the hunts, T-shirts for hunt participants and conducts the drawing.
In addition to the draw youth hunts, youths are encouraged to hunt on the 800-acre Bluefield WMA, also part of the Moultrie Hunt Unit. Each youth must be 17 or younger, and accompanied by an adult who is at least 21. The youth must carry a firearm and hunt. Unlike the strictly youth-only draw hunts mentioned above, on Bluefield, the adult may also carry a firearm and hunt.