NEWS | Aug. 30, 2011

Hunting season is here

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

Joint Base Charleston currently has hunting permits available for the 2011-2012 deer season which began Aug. 15 and runs through Jan. 1, 2012.

As a result of joint basing, the hunting program for Joint Base 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 require one.

JB CHS also sells permits for fishing. There are three permits available: a hunting pass for $20, a fishing pass for $7 and a combination pass for $25.

"Hunting and fishing provides great opportunities for family time and creating memories outdoors," said Keith Thompson, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron conservation program manager. "Being outdoors gives both young and old a greater appreciation of what nature has to offer. Both are great alternatives to sitting around watching T.V., surfing the internet and  playing video games."

Last year more than 700 permits were sold and JB CHS natural resource personnel expects similar numbers this year, Thompson said. In order to purchase a permit, individuals must have an applicable South Carolina hunting or fishing license, and hunters must provide proof of a completed state-approved safety course.

The natural resources staff on base, along with several volunteer instructors, teach the South Carolina hunter safety education course for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. There are two  remaining classes, Sept. 17 and Nov. 19, at the JB CHS- WS theater. Hunters interested in registering for the class must visit www.dnr.sc.gov to sign up.

At JB CHS-WS there are many species to hunt including, white-tailed deer, wild hog, wild turkey, bobcat, rabbit, bobwhite quail, grey squirrel, beaver, coyote, fox and migratory game birds. At JB CHS-NAAF, hunters may only hunt white-tailed deer and wild turkey. All hunting seasons are the same as those established by SCDNR for Game Zone 6 which includes both Berkeley and Orangeburg counties.

"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," Thompson said. "There are many weapons a hunter can choose from."

Hunters are allowed to use hunting bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders and shotguns (slugs only) on both installations. JB CHS-NAAF allows for rifles in certain areas, but rifles are prohibited on JB CHS-WS.

When it comes to the handling of firearms, safety is a must and it's important hunters can be seen in the woods, Thompson said.

"Hunters should always wear safety orange, a hat and vest or a combination of orange clothing," he said. "I'd also recommend carrying a flashlight in low lit situations. It's also important to be familiar with your weapons and always ensu gun safety. Practice with your weapon and make sure they are properly sighted."

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

"I'd recommend doing a little scouting to determine areas where deer travel, bed down and feed," Thompson said. "This will help to select stand placement. Hunters should always wear a safety harness and pull their gun up with a rope when using a tree stand."

JB CHS offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation including fishing, hiking, mountain biking and hunting.

"Outdoor enthusiasts should take full advantage of these opportunities and discover some of the pristine habitat and wildlife that can be found on base," Thompson said. "Above all, know your equipment and how to safely use it, know the rules and regulations, have fun and always be safe."

For more information regarding the hunting and fishing program as well as all rules, visit the Outdoor Adventure Center  (764-2120) and the Outdoor Recreation Center (963-1672).