Alligator & Bear Regulations
South Carolina Hunting & Fishing
It is unlawful to feed or entice an American alligator with food (50-11-750).
Public Alligator Draw Hunts
Hunters will be randomly selected by computerized drawing and may only apply online beginning May 1. A $10 nonrefundable application fee is required to participate in the drawing. All applicants must be at least 16 years old (at the time of the hunt) in order to apply for the drawing. If selected, the permit/tag fee is $100 and all hunters are required to possess a SC Hunting License. In addition to the $100 permit fee and SC Hunting License, a $200 Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee applies to ALL permitted nonresident alligator hunters. Anyone may assist a permitted hunter, but all assistants must possess a hunting license unless they are under the age of 16. In addition, ALL nonresident alligator hunting assistants 16 years of age or older must obtain a $200 Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee Endorsement, available from any license sales vendor. The deadline for applying for each year’s Public Alligator Hunting Season is June 15th. The application and other details may be found on the SCDNR website. For information regarding the Alligator Program, and licensing requirements for taking, possessing, and sale of alligators or their products, call 803-734-3938 or 803-734-4024 (the Nonresident Alligator Hunting fee for nonresident alligator hunters and nonresident assistants may be paid at any license vendor location, online at www.dnr.sc.gov, or by phone at 1-866-714-3611).
WMA Alligator Draw Hunts
There is a special WMA alligator draw hunt, in which the person selected will be permitted to take up to three assistants and have access to either portions of Bear Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) or Santee Coastal WMA for one hunt period (Monday at Noon to Saturday at Noon). There are four available hunt periods during the WMA alligator hunting season. All hunters must have a hunting license, WMA permit, and if a nonresident, pay the Nonresident Alligator Hunting fee. The permit will allow the hunter to take one alligator, 4 feet or greater in length, from the selected WMA property. There is a $15 nonrefundable application fee to apply for the WMA Alligator Hunt Drawing and if selected the cost for the permit is $500 for residents and $800 for nonresidents. See the SCDNR website for more information.
It is unlawful to buy, sell, barter or exchange a bear or bear part or attempt to buy, sell, barter or exchange a bear or bear part. Transportation of a freshly killed bear or bear part is unlawful except during the bear season. Any person violating these offenses must be fined not more than $2,500 or imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both, and hunting and fishing privileges must be suspended for 3 years. It is unlawful to feed bears or to hunt bears by the aid of bait (50-11-430, 50-11-440, 50-1-130, 50-1-125).
Mountain Bear Season (Game Zone 1)
For the privilege of hunting bear, in addition to the required hunting license and big game permit, a hunter must obtain a bear tag issued in his/her name at a cost of $25 for residents and $100 for nonresidents. Youth under the age of 16 are required to obtain a youth bear tag from the department at no cost. Bear tags are available over the counter at DNR offices in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Florence, and York. Tags can be ordered by telephone a 1-866-714-3611 or online at: http://dnr.sc.gov/purchase.html.
A handwritten application can be obtained on page 118 of this publication or at http://dnr.sc.gov/regs/pdf/speciallicenseapp.pdf.
The possession and use of bear tags is limited to the individual to whom it was issued. Tags must be attached to the bear before being moved from the point of kill.
Participants in party dog hunts for bear must register by application by Sept. 1 with the SCDNR. 25 members maximum per party and hunters must provide their hunting license number to register. Write: SCDNR Bear Registration Permit, 311 Natural Resources Dr. Clemson, SC 29631. Applications for tags and for party hunt registration may also be downloaded at: www.dnr.sc.gov/bearhunting.
Coastal Bear (Georgetown, Horry, and Williamsburg counties)
Hunting bears in the coastal plain is by computer drawing only. Applications will be available August 1 at SCDNR offices, online at: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/bearhunting/, or by calling 803-734-3886. Deadline for applications is Sept. 19. The season is Oct. 24-Nov. 5, 2016. The nonrefundable application fee is $10. Those selected will have to purchase a tag at a cost of $25 for residents and $100 for nonresidents. The tag will only be valid for one of the three counties so applicants should rank the counties in order of preference. Selected hunters will be allowed to hunt on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in the county selected but must have a valid WMA permit. Bears may be taken on private lands, as long as the hunter has the permission of the landowner or person holding the hunting lease. Hunters not selected will earn a preference point that applies to next year’s drawing.
Bear Seasons on Private Lands (Game Zone 1 ONLY)
- Tag required to take bear
- Harvested bear must be reported within 24 hours to Clemson SCDNR at
864-654-1671, ext. 24.
Still Hunt (No Dogs): Oct. 17-23
Limit: 1 bear; no sow with cubs, no bears 100 lbs. or less.
Party Dog Hunts: Oct. 24-30
Limit: 5 bears per party; no sow with cubs, no bears 100 lbs. or less.
- All parties (maximum party size of 25) must register by application due Sept. 1. For application call Clemson Office @ 864-654-1671 ext. 16 or 24 or download @ www.dnr.sc.gov/bearhunting. Groups hunting together are considered 1 party.