In years past, non-resident hunters have had it very easy in South Carolina. A non-resident hunting license and a big game permit were the only things required for harvesting deer in the Palmetto State, and compared to most states, the non-resident fees in South Carolina have always been more than fair. Some big changes are coming across the board with the 2017-18 South Carolina deer hunting season, including what it will take for non-resident hunters to kill deer here.

South Carolina’s long deer hunting season is enticing for hunters from neighboring states, and the early opening dates of the low country give hunters a unique opportunity to kill a buck in full velvet. That isn’t changing, but the cost for out-of-state hunters is.

Non-resident hunters are still required to purchase a hunting license and a big game permit, but they will not receive deer tags when they buy their license and permit. And this year, every deer killed in South Carolina must be tagged.

While South Carolina’s resident hunters will receive a set of tags upon purchasing their hunting license, for out-of-state hunters, tags will cost an additional fee.

An annual hunting license in South Carolina costs $125 for non-residents, and the Big Game Permit is $100. On top of these two items, non-residents must purchase deer tags (maximum of four), which costs $50 for the first antlered buck tag. Three more antlered deer tags may be purchased for $20 each ($110 total for 4 antlered deer tags). And two of those buck tags can only be used on bucks with at least 4 points on one side, or a minimum 12-inch inside spread.

Non-residents may also purchase up to four individual antlerless deer tags at a cost of $10 each, for a total of $40.

Non-residents should keep in mind that deer tags will not be available for purchase at stores like Walmart, Bass Pro Shops, or any other such locations. Non-resident tags can only be bought over-the-counter from one of SCDNR’s offices in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Florence, and York, and they will not be available at those locations until after Aug. 1.

Non-residents may also purchase their deer tags by phone after July 1 at 866-714-3611. Online purchases are also an option at http://dnr.sc.gov/purchase.html. Keep in mind that tags will not be mailed until early August, and if you wait until after the season starts, you should allow at least 7 days and up to 10 days for your tags to arrive in the mail for the online or phone purchases.

If you choose to hunt on WMA lands, an additional permit is required, which costs $76. 

Non-resident hunters will pay a minimum of $275 to kill one buck ($351 if hunting on WMA land), and up to $375 to kill four bucks and four does ($451 if hunting WMA land). In comparison to many other states, some of which only allow non-resident hunters to kill one buck and one doe, that’s still a bargain in the eyes of many hunters.