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Deer Hunting over Bait Set to Pass Senate

web posted January 23, 2013

COLUMBIA – A Senate Bill, S91, received second reading on the floor of the South Carolina Senate on Tuesday and is expected to pass a third reading on Wednesday that would allow hunting over bait legal statewide, Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) said Tuesday evening. Last year, the Attorney General issued an opinion that the law actually does not prohibit hunting for deer over bait in the Upstate. This set off a debate to clarify the law.

"I think the law should treat everybody equally," Sen. Massey said. In his Senate district, hunters in Aiken and Lexington Counties can hunt over bait, usually corn, while those in Edgefield, Saluda and McCormick County cannot. Massey said the original intent was to cut deer populations in the lower part of the state, but he did not see any data that shows a disparity between Aiken County and Edgefield County when it comes to deer populations.

"Third reading in the Senate is generally a formality," Sen. Massey said. Once the bill is passed it will head to the House where passage is also expected. There have been no indications from Gov. Nikki Haley on whether or not she will sign the bill into law.

"It came down to whether or not we went back to the old law prohibiting hunting over bait and removed it in the lower state," Massey said. With so much of the state already being able to hunt over bait, prohibition statewide got very little support.

Sen. Massey said the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) signed off on the bill early on in the debate for clarification purposes as different Magistrates were ruling differently on DNR cases.

You can read a copy of the Senate Bill S91 here

The bill does not address the same disparity in the use of dogs to run deer on hunts in the Lower State Wildlife Zones that are illegal in the Upper State Zones.

Edgefield Daily will continue to follow this bill as it makes its way through the House.

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