Governmental regulations and hunting: How do they interact?
November 4, 2021
POW, POW. The sound of a gun shooting off into the deep, green forest. Birds cry as one falls, thump, to the ground. Senior Ben Duncan, who started hunting with his dad when he was about five or six, feels the thrill of shooting a duck during duck season.
Hunting and fishing has always been popular in the lowcountry, these are activities that have been ingrained in the south for generations. However, it seems recently hunting and fishing have become even more popular and the rules even stricter.
Ben’s father, Mr. Duncan, is a game warden, “so he enforces the game laws,” said Duncan.
Duncan’s dad, being a game warden for DNR gives Duncan lots of knowledge on what the laws are and how regulations for hunting and fishing have gotten more rigid. “They have definitely gotten stricter as far as limit wise and what you can and can’t kill, but that’s only because there are way more people hunting now,” said Duncan.
Another reason Duncan says that these regulations have gotten stricter are due to how much of a species is left.
“I think they have gotten more strict because there are more people hunting now…which results in more animals being killed so they are combating that with stricter rules and regulations,” said Duncan.
If there is a species of animal that has an overpopulation, DNR expands the laws. However, the opposite is true for a certain species who have a limited population at the time, and the laws are limited. This causes a variation in the regulations that change often and may give hunters and fisherman frustration.
“I mean not really, it’s not like the regulations make it impossible to hunt or they are super overbearing or anything, it doesn’t really change how fun hunting is at all” said Duncan.
Although Duncan acknowledges that these regulations have gotten stricter, he does not believe they take the fun out of hunting or fishing.
Splash! A fish jumps out of the water as junior Jack Scott reels in a wahoo (a large, predatory mackerel) to the side of the boat. Scott has been fishing for a year now and participates in a number of fishing tournaments in the lowcountry.
“I compete in the JMT, South Carolina Wahoo Series, and the Dolphin Tournament in Hilton Head,” Scott said.
They do not understand what we go through as public land hunters and fishers to have to actually get something and they try to take it all away from you”
— Jack Scott
Scott, like Duncan, also enjoys hunting. Scott understands the need for regulation, but sometimes having to deal with all of the different rules while hunting on public property can be aggravating.
“They do not understand what we go through as public land hunters and fishers to have to actually get something and they try to take it all away from you,” said Scott.
Scott agrees with Duncan that the laws have gotten stricter from years past.
“What they were doing back then was legal, but now when we do it, it would be illegal,” Scott said. Hearing all his father’s adventurous hunting stories leaves him longing for the same freedom his father had.
“I feel like 30 years ago, the DNR could not have caught you as easily and they’re not as enforcing as today because we didn’t have cell phones, cameras everywhere and the laws weren’t so strict,” Scott said. “But nowadays you can’t do anything without getting a ticket for it because they’re people videotaping you and the laws have gotten a lot stricter.”
Scott brings up another important point about the reasoning behind hunting and fishing becoming more strict.
“Most of the lands now are privately owned, but back then they used to be all government owned and there wasn’t so much development taken away from duck hunting and fishing and all that, ” said Scott. “So there were more opportunities for them, then what we have today.”
Both Duncan and Scott enjoy hunting and fishing and recognize the reasonings behind strict regulations. However, while Duncan does not see how these regulations take anything away from the amusement of hunting and fishing, Scott believes with more freedom hunting and fishing would be easier and more enjoyable.