The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is hoping to clarify the laws regarding baiting. The department says recent decisions by a Greenwood County magistrate and the state Attorney General’s Office have overturned the long standing prohibition against hunting deer over bait on private lands in the Upstate. The DNR says those recent decisions lend themselves to the conclusion that it is lawful to hunt deer over bait, but unlawful to bait for deer. These decisions have the unintended consequence of making existing law confusing for both the public and DNR law enforcement officers and staff. Deer baiting on private lands is still unlawful in Game Zones 1 & 2 and remains a vital concern of the department, however, there will be less priority placed on enforcing the statute due to the confusing nature of the law and a diminished DNR work force of 192 officers. There were no changes to wildlife management area regulations and it remains unlawful to bait for deer, or to hunt deer over bait on all wildlife management area lands statewide.
The department will seek to have the law clarified during the upcoming legislative session which begins in January 2013.