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Migratory Birds & Crows

Migratory Birds

Migratory birds include: mourning dove, marsh hens, rails, woodcock, common snipe, common moorhens, purple gallinules, ducks, mergansers, sea ducks, coots, blue & snow geese, brant, Canada geese and crows.

Effective July 1,1998, anyone over 16 or all licensed hunters hunting migratory game birds in the United States must have an HIP permit and complete a short questionnaire before hunting. Permits are available from any SCDNR license sales vendor, SCDNR office or online. There is no cost for the permit.

Seasons, shooting hours, limits and other special restrictions on migratory bird hunting are set by SCDNR in accordance with guidelines set by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Detailed the SCDNR South Carolina Rules & Regulations information on the seasons and restrictions is provided in a separate Migratory Bird Brochure available in September.

Listed below are frequently requested rules for hunting migratory birds.

  • Shotguns must be plugged so as to hold no more than 3 shells.
  • Baiting or hunting over bait is strictly prohibited.
  • All hunting hours end at official sunset.
  • The possession of lead shot is prohibited while waterfowl hunting.
  • In addition to a migratory bird permit (HIP),a SC Migratory Waterfowl Permit and Federal Waterfowl Stamp is required for hunting ducks, geese and brant. Electronic Federal Waterfowl Stamps are not valid in SC.

Refer to the Migratory Bird Brochure for complete information on particular species and other restrictions.


A hunting license is required to hunt crows. Crows are migratory birds and as such, are a federally-protected species. The season is based on criteria established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The open season for crows on private lands in South Carolina is Nov. 1 – Mar. 1. There is no bag limit. During the open season on private lands, crows may be taken with any firearm, bow and arrow, or by falconry. Crow hunting on WMA lands is permitted. During the open season for small game hunting on WMAs, crows may only be hunted with weapons legal for small game. The use of electronic calls for crow hunting is permitted statewide on private land and WMA land. Crows damaging crops may be taken at any time using non-toxic shot without a federal permit (50 CFR 21.43).

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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