Hunting is one of the priority recreational uses on National Wildlife Refuges and compatible with the mission of this refuge. Organized hunting of surplus wildlife species is on tool used to maintain wildlife populations at a level compatible with the available habitat.



Summerton, S.C....Santee National Wildlife Refuge announces the opening of the Refuge for public hunting of white-tailed deer during the seasons listed below.

The deer hunt schedule is changing a bit this year with the special lottery deer hunts on the Bluff Unit beginning on October 6th as listed below. These special hunts, called “Family, Friends, and Kids Hunts” are an effort to encourage adults to share an outdoor experience with kids by bringing a child hunting with them – spending more time together outdoors. Information on how-to apply for these hunts will be posted on our website along with our annual hunting brochure. Cuddo and Pine Island Unit hunts will open for hunting as listed below.  Please see the Refuge Hunt brochure for specific information on these hunts. 

Four managed hunts for white-tailed deer will be held on the Refuge in 2018 as follows:

Bluff Unit Family, Friends, Kids; October 06 - 07, 2018 and October 20 - 21, 2018
Cuddo Unit Primitive Weapons Only; October 12-14, 2018 and October 26-28, 2018.
Cuddo Unit Archery Only; September 22, 2018 to October 7, 2018
Pine Island Unit Primitive Weapons Only; October 12-14, 2018 and October 26-28, 2018.
Pine Island Archery Only; September 22, 2018 to October 7, 2018

Bluff Unit - Family Friendly Hunts (Quota)

Quota Hunt Application – Call, write, or email the Refuge Headquarters at the number/email address listed above or by written request to:
Santee NWR, 2125 Fort Watson Road, Summerton, SC 29148.

Hunters are advised to study a copy of current regulations before hunting on the Refuge. Any questions regarding permitted activities and all requests for information about hunting, fishing, and other public use programs should be directed to: Refuge Manager, Santee National Wildlife Refuge, 2125 Fort Watson Road, Summerton, SC 29148. Information may also be obtained by calling (803) 478-2217.

Hunters may also find additional information on the Refuge website at:


Hunting Permits 

The Santee NWR host special lottery deer hunts on the Bluff Unit this fall.  Legal weapons for these hunts include muzzle loading rifles (black powder rifles) or shotguns with slugs.  Up to 15 applicants will be randomly selected for each hunt date.  To be eligible, each hunting party must include a youth (17 years of age or younger) and an adult at least 21 years old with a valid hunting license.  Anyone born after June 30, 1979 must have completed a hunter education course to hunt/discharge a weapon on the refuge, including youth under the age of 17.  Fixed, two-person ladder stands will be provided for hunters with both the youth and accompanying adult hunting from the same stand. Travel to and from the designated deer stands will be provided by refuge staff and all parties are to stay in their respective stands until refuge staff arrives for the end of the hunt.   

“Family, Friends, and Kids” hunts are designed to encourage adults to share an outdoor experience with kids by bringing a child hunting with them.  The following rules apply for the special Family, Friends, and Kids hunt:

-Both the adult and youth may possess a firearm and harvest deer. 
-Eligible hunting parties must include one adult and one youth.
-For the child to harvest a deer, they must be between 10-17 years of age, have a valid hunter education certificate, and be accompanied by an adult.  Children ages 16 or 17 must be properly licensed.
-Children under 10 years of age or older youth without a valid hunter education certificate are still welcome to participate, but will not be allowed to possess or discharge a firearm.  However, adults may harvest deer.
-Adults must be over 21 years of age and have a valid hunting license.
-Valid hunting license and hunter education card (if required) should be in the hunter’s possession while hunting on the refuge.
-Hunters are permitted to take feral hogs as an incidental take during this hunt.

    All participants must check in at the refuge Visitor Center no later than 5:30 a.m. on the day(s) of your scheduled hunt.  If you are not present and checked in by 5:30 am, your hunting opportunity will be given up to standby participants

    The Visitor Center is located 8 miles south of Summerton on U. S. Hwy. 15/301 (exit 102 off of Interstate 95). Items you will need to bring include:  a shotgun with slug ammunition or a muzzle loading rifle, bug spray, flashlight, an orange hat and vest, hunting license if you are 16 and older, and proof of hunter education. If a hunter does not bring the proper orange required, they will not be permitted to hunt.

    Hunter Education Classes:
    In cooperation with the South Carolina DNR, one hunter education class will be held at the Santee NWR Visitor Center on Saturday, September 8, 2018. The South Carolina Hunter Education Class is recommended for motivated students 12 years of age and older with good reading and comprehension skills, and may have some firearm and hunting knowledge or experience. Course materials are on a 6th-grade reading level. For additional information or to register, please contact the SCDNR by calling 1-800-830-2268 or visit:

    Santee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 as a sanctuary for migratory birds. The Refuge encompasses approximately 13,000 acres of habitat along the banks of Lake Marion in four separate units, and has approximately 39 miles of shoreline to maintain. The Refuge visitor center as well as the Santee Indian Mound and site of Fort Watson are located on the Bluff Unit, 7 miles south of Summerton on Hwy 15/301. For questions about the Refuge, please contact 803-478-2217 or visit

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to providing access to these events for all participants. Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in this event should contact the Refuge Manager at 803-478-2217 or

    In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please contact us at least two (2) weeks prior to the event. The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

    National Wildlife Refuges…Where Wildlife Comes Naturally!