SOUTH CAROLINA

Deer Forecast 2004 -- SOUTH

Outdoor Life Online Editor

It was status quo last season, reports state deer leader Charles Ruth, with more does killed than bucks for the second straight year.

Hunter surveys show 273,504 deer killed, 135,797 of them bucks. That's good, Ruth says, as officials hope to continue efforts to maintain or reduce the overall population.

"Our population leveled off in the mid-1990s and is holding its own," he said. "We're trying to moderate it a little more. If we're killing more does than bucks we're doing a good job."

South Carolina's deer population, estimated at 900,000, is enormous for such a small state. Season harvest was down slightly last year, Ruth says, but it could rebound to about 300,000 with favorable conditions and continued antlerless harvest.

Contact: Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (803-734-3886; www.dnr .state.sc.us).