By: Jessica O’Connor
The first youth day for deer hunting in Colleton County (and game zone 3 as a whole) will be August 13, 2022 for private land. Licenses and tags are not required for youth on statewide youth days. However, if the participating youth (up to 17 years of age) has not completed a hunter education course they must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older.
Deer taken must be antlered, and the limit is set at one per child. Adults may only participate as a guide or in a supervisory role. Any animals harvested must be taken at the hands of a youth.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation projects that for every 100 hunters lost, whether that is due to aging or other factors, only 69 young hunters step up to take their place. South Carolina’s youth hunting days are much anticipated by both “seasoned” and new young hunters alike. Creating this excitement and anticipation surrounding the different hunting seasons is imperative to creating a new generation of hunters to replace those that the sport loses.
Some tips to create a fun and successful youth hunting day for your child:
Get them involved in preparations for the hunt. Knowing that he/she played a part in making the hunt come together is a great source of pride for youth.
Create a comfortable hunting environment. A ground blind or tower stand may be the best option for very young children, whereas older youth may find a ladder stand plenty acceptable. Regardless, ensure that your child is comfortable getting into and out of the blind or stand and choose a method of concealment that is age (and attention span) appropriate.
Thoroughly acclimate the child with the weapon he/she will be using. Giving proper gun safety instruction is of utmost importance, but ensuring that the young hunter is comfortable and confident using their weapon will go far in creating a positive experience in the field.
Bring snacks and entertainment items, especially for younger children. These will greatly help them to stay still and quiet!
Emphasize that harvesting an animal is not the most important indicator of a “successful” hunt. Observe other wildlife and their habits, set mini-goals that you celebrate, and just enjoy your time together in the outdoors. When your child has grown into an adult, they will cherish the memories of each hunt with you, whether they were able to take an animal or not.
Good luck, Colleton County youth deer hunters!
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