South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officials have decided to adjust planned rules to a cormorant hunting season, the first of its kind in the state.
According to The State, more than 800 applicants signed up for permits to hunt double-crested cormorants, which led to some tweaks in the initial season that was proposed. Changes include shortening the season by a month, from February 2 through March 31 to February 2 through March 1. Also, boats used in cormorant hunting will need to be stopped or at idle speed.
These changes, to take effect in the Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion areas, were intended to perfect the hunting season first created because of abundant cormorant populations. Anglers and fishing guides have been complaining for some time that more cormorants are eating more bait fish, leading to more problems with their livelihood.
The Audubon Society, usually a DNR collaborator, is against the cormorant hunting season, arguing it could have a bigger effect on the overall ecosystem.
Cormorants are typically not eaten, and because they aren’t considered game birds, the DNR had to get permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a volunteer program to reduce their numbers.
Those who applied for the cormorant hunting privileges were required to attend a mandatory instructional meeting conducted by the DNR, and when 200 showed up at the first, with 600 cramming into the second, the agency realized they needed to make changes.
Full regulations for the cormorant hunting season in South Carolina will be finalized and mailed out by early next week.