NEWS | July 24, 2012

Make plans for the 2012 hunting season

By Airman 1st Class Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Hunting permits are currently available at Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station Outdoor Adventure Center for the 2012 deer season which begins Aug. 15 and runs through Jan. 1, 2013.

As a result of joint basing, the hunting program for JB Charleston - Weapons Station has been combined with the program at Joint Base Charleston - North Auxiliary Air Field. In the past, hunters had to purchase two separate permits, but now only one is required.

JB Charleston sells three types of permits: a hunting pass for $20, a fishing pass for $7 and a combination pass for $25.

"Deer hunting is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality family time outdoors," said Terrence Larimer, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources manager. "Joint Base Charleston offers one of the safest hunting programs in the Lowcountry due to the extra precautions and emphasis on safety."

Last year more than 190 hunters participated in deer season at JB Charleston. Natural resources personnel expect similar numbers for 2012.

In order to purchase a permit, individuals must have an applicable South Carolina hunting license, a JB Charleston issued hunting license, a Department of Defense Identification card such as a Common Access Card or JB Charleston issued identification card. Hunters must also provide proof of a completed state-approved hunter education safety course.

Deer hunting at JB Charleston - Weapons Station is Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hunting at JB Charleston - North Auxiliary Air Field is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Hunting at the JB Charleston - Weapons Station is open to the military and the public. JB Charleston - North Auxiliary Air Field is open to CAC holders only.

The civilian public must undergo a back-ground screening to receive a base identification card, Larimer said.

The natural resources staff, along with several volunteer instructors on base, teach the S.C. hunter safety education course for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Classes will be held Aug. 11, Sept. 15 and Nov. 3, at JB Charleston - Weapons Station. Hunters interested in registering for the class must visit www.dnr.sc.gov to sign up.

Bag limits and hunting seasons at JB Charleston are the same as those established by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources for Game Zone Six, which include both Berkeley and Orangeburg counties.

Hunters are allowed to use hunting bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders and shotguns (slugs only) on both installations. North Auxiliary Air Field allows for rifles in certain areas, but rifles are prohibited on JB Charleston - Weapons Station.

Whether hunting at the Auxiliary Field or the Weapons Station, all firearms must be registered through the 628th Security Forces Squadron by filling out a form at the Outdoor Adventure Center, Larimer said.

Safety is a top priority and it's important hunters can be seen in the woods, he said.

"Hunters should always wear safety orange when hunting is in session," Larimer said. "I also recommend carrying a flashlight to get to and from your hunting stand in low light. Ensure you handle your firearms with proper safety precautions and be sure your weapons are accurately sighted. And, always use a rope to raise your weapon to a tree stand."

Although both installations have several hunting stands available during the season, hunters may set up their own.

"Scouting is a must in order to have a successful hunting season," Larimer said. "It's very important to have a map and know your area."

Hunting is an essential aspect of wildlife conservation and is used to control the population of animals.

"Hunting for deer and other animals is healthy for the environment," Larimer said. "Deer are known to overpopulate areas and eat off all food sources available, causing a disturbance to the natural environment of many species including plants and animals. Hunting helps control the population and also, venison is a popular choice of meat."

For more information regarding the hunting and fishing program, visit the Outdoor Adventure Center or call 764-2120 or contact Terrence Larimer at Terrence.Larimer@us.af.mil .