Gregg Holshouser’s Outdoors Column | Horry, Georgetown counties now in same game zone

A change in the game zones has been made beginning with the 2012-13 hunting season in South Carolina.

Horry County has in previous years been in Game Zone 4 but has been added to Game Zone 5.

Now, Game Zone 5 includes Horry, Georgetown, Williamsburg, Clarendon, Sumter, Lee and Darlington counties. Game Zone 4 includes Marion, Florence, Dillon, Marlboro, Chesterfield and Kershaw counties.

As a result, the deer hunting season will begin earlier in Horry County as the archery only season for bucks only runs Aug. 15-31 in Game Zone 5 with gun season from Sept. 1-Jan. 1, 2013. In Game Zone 4, archery season for bucks only runs Sept. 1-14 with gun season from Sept. 15-Jan. 1, 2013.

Freshwater fisheries

Numerous changes to laws governing freshwater fisheries were made earlier this year by the South Carolina Legislature through bills H.3864 and H.3865 and went into effect on July 1.

Local fishermen are having trouble accessing the new regulations since the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Rules and Regulations booklet for 2012-2013 were not yet available at select area sporting goods retailers contacted on Thursday.

The rules and regulations are available online at www.dnr.sc.gov/regulations.html and at the S.C. DNR hub office located at 295 South Evander Drive in Florence. Fishermen are advised to check out new limits for crappie, redbreast and bass among other species.

Look for more detailed information on the new regulations in a future column.

SAFMC meeting

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is holding a series of meetings to solicit input on proposed federal fishery management measures including, among other issues, the shrimp fishery and measures proposed for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and cobia.

Also, a Marine Protected Area workshop will be held in conjunction with the meeting held in New Bern, N.C.

The meetings are Tuesday, 4 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 5265 International Blvd., North Charleston, S.C. 29418 and Thursday, 4 p.m., Hilton New Bern Riverfront, 100 Middle Street, New Bern, NC 28560.

The council is also accepting comments by e-mail until Aug. 20. Send comments to mike.collins@safmc.net.

Migratory bird seasons

The S.C. Natural Resources Board recently approved migratory bird hunting seasons for mourning doves, marsh hens (rails), woodcock, snipe, moorhens, purple gallinules, and early seasons during September for teal and Canada geese.

The 2012-2013 seasons must still meet approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and be published in the Federal Register in order to become final.

The annual Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations brochure will be available in early September after the regular duck seasons are finalized.

The 2012-2013 mourning dove season in South Carolina is set for Sept. 1-3 (noon until sunset); Sept. 4–Oct. 6; Nov. 17-24; and Dec. 21–Jan. 15.

Legal hunting hours for mourning dove season, except for Sept. 1-3, are from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 birds per day.

An early season for Canada geese will be Sept. 1-30. This season is statewide. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit for Canada geese during this early season is 15 birds.

For more information, write to Early-Season Migratory Birds, DNR, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, call (803) 734-3886 in Columbia, or visit www.dnr.sc.gov.