2017 South Carolina Deer Forecast
September 20, 2017
Lightening may not strike the same place twice, but don't tell deer hunters in the South Carolina coastal plains that hurricanes abide by the same law of nature. Hunters have endured two straight seasons of major hurricane rains and flooding that have significantly disrupted deer seasons. Additional weather effects were felt over a wide area of the state both years, but certainly the coastal areas — where, traditionally, exceptional hunting occurs — were hardest hit.
In 2015, the 1,000-year flood event of Hurricane Joaquin pounded much of the state, forcing localized closings of deer season in some areas. This was followed in 2016 by Hurricane Matthew, which also forced flood-related temporary deer hunting season closures in many coastal areas. On a broad scale, deer hunters experienced widespread access issues because of weather for the second consecutive year.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) Deer Project Supervisor Charles Ruth said the bottom line is that the 2016 deer harvest was severely impacted by flooding and poor weather for hunting.
According to the annual Deer Harvest Report data Ruth compiles, the 2016 deer hunting season was down by 11.7 percent from the 2015 harvest and that 2015 number was also down from 2014. In addition to the flooding, unseasonably warm weather and what many called a record acorn crop all combined to create the perfect storm of tough deer hunting for the second consecutive year.