Licenses Recreational Hunting & Fishing
Resident is a person who is a domiciled (permanent) resident of South Carolina for 30 days. Proof of residency at license vendors is your unexpired South Carolina Driver’s license or SCDMV Identification Card.
A person licensed by another state as a resident for any purpose is not eligible to apply for, obtain, or hold any South Carolina resident license, permit or tag.
Military personnel and their dependents stationed in SC for thirty days or longer, or who are domiciled in this state, are eligible for resident privileges. Valid military identification must be presented when applying.
Active duty or military personnel who are residents of SC stationed outside of the state and home on leave, may upon presentation of their earnings and leave statement (which must declare SC as their home state), be allowed to fish and hunt throughout the state without purchasing a hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license. Permits are required to hunt big game, migratory birds, migratory waterfowl and hunt on WMA lands. Tags are required to hunt deer, bear and turkey, use nongame fish devices or for taking shrimp over bait.
Students enrolled full time in a SC educational institution are eligible for resident privileges. A valid student ID must be presented when applying for privileges.
Upon presentation of a passport or any international government issued documentation, an international customer may purchase hunting and fishing licenses without having to provide a social security number. Nonresident license fees apply.
Nonresident is a person who does not meet the definition of resident.
Change of Resident Status
Any person who lawfully acquires a resident South Carolina license, permit or tag and who then transfers their residency outside of this state may continue to use the privileges until they expire. However, if the licensee applies for privileges not covered by the license, and no longer meets the requirement for a resident, he or she must purchase the additional licenses as a nonresident.
License in Possession
All licenses, permits, stamps and tags must be in possession of license holder while engaging in activities for which license documents were issued. Identification indicating name and address must also be in possession of privilege holder. Persons hunting on their own lands are required to have all applicable licenses, permits, or tags in their possession.
Annual recreational hunting and fishing licenses are valid for one year from the date of purchase. 3 year recreational hunting and fishing licenses are valid for three years from the date of purchase.
Hunting tags (deer, bear and turkey) migratory bird permits, migratory waterfowl permits, nonresident alligator hunting fees and shooting preserve permits are valid for the season indicated on your license. Commercial licenses and nongame fish tags are valid from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024.
It is the responsibility of each person engaging in any hunting or fishing activity to verify they have a valid license, permit, or tag for that activity. Privileges for various licenses may expire on different dates if not purchased at the same time.
Duplicate licenses are issued upon affidavit from the licensee that the original license was lost or destroyed and payment of a $3.00 fee. Duplicates are available at all license sales vendors and SCDNR license offices. Duplicate/replacement tags are issued only through SCDNR offices. No duplicates are issued for federal duck stamps; a new stamp must be purchased.
Hunter Education Requirements
All residents and nonresidents, born after June 30, 1979, must successfully complete a SCDNR-approved hunter education course and present the certificate of completion before a hunting or combination license can be obtained.
SCDNR accepts hunter education certifications issued by other states in the United States and Canadian provinces. If you have a certification from another state, your certification meets the hunter education requirement in SC.
A hunter education card alone is not a valid hunting license. For more information on hunter education, call 803-734-3995 or 1-800-277-4301. See SCDNR Education & Outreach Programs.
Apprentice Hunting License
Hunting license applicants who do not have a hunter education certification may apply for an annual Apprentice Hunting License. The apprentice hunter must be accompanied by a SC licensed hunter who is not licensed as an apprentice hunter, is at least 21 years of age, has not been convicted of a hunting violation or received deferred adjudication of the same, and stays within a distance that enables uninterrupted, unaided, visual and oral communication with the apprentice hunter and provides adequate direction to the apprentice.
If the holder of an apprentice license obtains a hunter education certification prior to the expiration of his apprentice hunting license, his apprentice hunting license will be used as his statewide hunting license. The licensee must have the hunter education certification in his possession while hunting.
Saltwater Fishing License
A Saltwater Fishing License is required when harvesting marine resources, including finfish, oysters, clams, shrimp, and crab. A saltwater recreational fishing license is required unless fishing on a licensed public fishing pier; fishing on a licensed charter vessel while under hire; using 3 or fewer drop nets, 3 or fewer fold-up traps, or 3 or fewer handlines with no hooks and single bait per line (chicken necking); or shrimp baiting (which requires a shrimp baiting license).
Freshwater Fishing License
A Freshwater Fishing License is required unless you are fishing in a privately-owned pond. A license is not required when fishing in a commercial pay pond that is permitted by SCDNR.
Georgia & South Carolina Reciprocal License Agreement
All channels of the Savannah River, from its mouth to the confluence of the Tugaloo and the Seneca rivers, and the Chattooga River to the boundary line between Georgia and North Carolina are included in an agreement between Georgia and South Carolina to use valid freshwater fishing licenses and permits that have been issued by either state.
This agreement also applies to the following impoundments: Thurmond, Russell, Hartwell, Yonah, Tugaloo, Stevens Creek and the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, but not to any tributary streams to those impoundments nor tributary streams to the Savannah, Tugaloo and Chattooga rivers.
All persons holding a valid license from Georgia or South Carolina will be allowed to fish in the waters covered by this agreement.
NOTE: Contact Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division at 770-918-6406 for information on Georgia size and catch limits or visit
Migratory Bird Permit
A harvest information permit survey must be completed to obtain the Migratory Bird Permit. This permit is required of those age 16 and older hunting migratory birds in the state. Hunters 64 years of age or older who hold a SCDNR lifetime hunting, lifetime combination, Senior license, or Gratis license are not required to obtain a migratory bird permit.
Migratory Waterfowl Permit
A Migratory Waterfowl Permit, in addition to a state hunting license, migratory bird permit and Federal Duck Stamp, is required of those age 16 and older hunting waterfowl (brants, ducks and geese) in the state. Hunters who hold a SCDNR lifetime migratory waterfowl hunting add-on, Senior license, Gratis license, Catawba license or Disability license do not need to obtain an annual migratory waterfowl permit, the migratory waterfowl permit is included in each of these licenses.
All age groups are required to obtain and possess special tags when engaged in the following activities: hunting deer, hunting bear, hunting turkey, using non-game fish devices or taking shrimp over bait.
No child under 16 years of age is required to obtain a hunting or fishing license. If a child engages in the taking of game or fish for commercial purposes or possesses any nongame fishing devices, all licensing requirements apply. Youth are required to have tags for deer, bear and turkey except on designated youth days.
Senior Lifetime License
A person who has been a resident of SC for 180 days or longer and has reached the age of 64 may apply for a Lifetime License for $9.00. The license is valid for Freshwater Fishing, Freshwater Set Hook, Saltwater Fishing, State Hunting, Big Game, WMA and Migratory Waterfowl. Deer tags and turkey tags must be requested once. After the initial request, tags will be mailed annually.
Required of All Applicants
Applicants for all SC hunting & fishing privileges must present a state issued identification document at the time of application. The same information is required for internet transactions. Providing false information is unlawful. The same identification used to obtain your privileges should be in your possession when hunting or fishing. Applicants from other countries may provide their passport in lieu of a state identification document.
Social Security Number
The disclosure of your social security number or alien identification number is required to obtain SC hunting and fishing licenses. This complies with SC Code of Laws Section 63-17-1080 and Federal law 42 USCA 666(a)(13), which requires a licensing agency to provide this information to the Child Support Enforcement Unit of the Department of Social Services to establish, modify and enforce child support orders.
Child Support Violations
Should you become non-compliant with your child support payments all recreational and commercial hunting and fishing license privileges will be revoked. Once you become compliant with DSS you will be required to purchase a new license at the current price.