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529Ratification Number: 226Act Number: 148Introducing Body: SenateSubject: Regulation of trapping furbearing animals
(A148, R226, S529)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 29 TO CHAPTER 11 OF TITLE 50, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGULATION OF TRAPPING FURBEARING ANIMALS, TO PROHIBIT VARIOUS DEVICES IN TRAPPING, TO REGULATE DEALERS, BUYERS, PROCESSORS, AND TRANSPORTORS OF FURS OR SIMILAR PRODUCTS, TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS, TO AMEND SECTION 50-1-30, AS AMENDED, OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO CLASSIFICATION OF BIRDS, ANIMALS, AND FISH, SO AS TO CLASSIFY BEAVER AND WEASEL AS GAME ANIMALS, AND TO REPEAL ACT 183 OF 1977, RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF FURBEARING ANIMALS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Regulation of trapping furbearing animals
SECTION 1. Chapter 11, Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Trapping furbearing animals; regulations
of dealers, buyers, processors, and
transporters of furs
or similar products or articles
Section 50-11-4310. For the purpose of this article:
(a) 'furbearing animal' includes red and gray fox, raccoon, opossum, muskrat, mink, skunk, otter, bobcat, weasel, or beaver.
(b) 'fur dealer' means any person who purchases raw or green furs, pelts, or hides for processing.
(c) 'take, taking' includes the trapping, hunting, killing, catching, capturing, or taking of any furbearing animal, including taking with the use of firearms.
(d) 'taking for commercial purposes' means the involvement of anyone possessing five or more furbearing animals.
(e) 'trapper' means a licensee under this article.
Section 50-11-4320. It is unlawful for any person to sell, make, or use a foot-hold trap or any like device within this State. This prohibition does not apply to foot-hold traps of a size number three or smaller made, sold, or used by the owner, leaseholder, or owner's employee for the protection of property when the devices are set within two hundred yards of the person's residence or within twenty-five yards of any poultry house; nor does this section apply to merchants who have such traps for sale outside this State.
The use of body gripping traps of the Conibear type may be used without bait or scents for vertical water sets and vertical slide sets only.
It is lawful to use foot-hold traps of a size number two or smaller for land sets and a size number three or smaller for water sets in Game Zones Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, and 11 inclusive. The use of foot-hold traps in Game Zones 5, 8, and 9 may be allowed with the approval of the majority of the legislative delegation for the game zone involved. The legislative delegations for any game zone may elect to restrict the use of the foot-hold trap and the Conibear trap, except when it is used as permitted in the preceding paragraph, by a majority vote. A petition duly signed by the members shall allow or prohibit the use of foot-hold traps. The petition must be forwarded to the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department. The initiative for the petition shall originate with the members of the delegations for the respective game zone. The approval or repeal shall remain in effect for a period of no less than one year.
Section 50-11-4330. In addition to a valid state hunting license, a commercial fur license is required of all persons who take by any means, except trapping, furbearing animals for commercial purposes and all persons who trap or who attempt to trap any furbearing animals. The license must be issued by the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department at a cost of ten dollars for residents and one hundred dollars for nonresidents. The license is valid for the fiscal year for which issued. Persons fourteen years of age or over must have a valid hunting license in addition to a commercial fur license. Any person taking animals under authority of a commercial fur license shall carry the license on his person.
Any person having in his possession more than five furbearing animals or pelts shall have a valid commercial fur license.
Section 50-11-4340. Any person engaged in the act of trapping shall have proof that he is the owner of the property on which the traps or devices are set or carry on his person written permission to use the property for trapping.
Section 50-11-4350. A trapper shall visit his traps daily but no trapper shall visit any trap at night and no trap may be set 'in the open' or in paths, roadways, or runways commonly used by persons or domestic animals. The existence of any decomposed and decaying animal, with the exception of skunk, in any trap is prima facie evidence that the owner has not visited his traps daily as required by this section.
Section 50-11-4360. Any person required to be licensed under Section 50-11-4330 shall report annually to the department within thirty days after the end of the regular season set for the taking of furbearing animals all furs, pelts, and hides taken, sold, or shipped, together with the names and addresses of persons to whom sold or shipped using forms as the department may prescribe.
Section 50-11-4370. The following traps are allowed for trapping in accordance with an approved commercial fur license:
(a) body gripping traps (generally known by the brand name 'Conibear') as provided in Section 50-11-4320;
(b) live traps;
(c) foot-hold traps as provided in Section 50-11-4320.
All other traps, including 'deadfall' traps are unlawful unless expressly authorized by the department by regulation.
All traps shall bear the owner's name and address either directly thereon or by an attached identification tag.
Section 50-11-4380. Any person other than a retailer who engages in the business of buying furs, pelts, hides, or similar articles in this State is required to have a fur dealer, buyer, and processor's license. The license must be issued by the department at a cost of one hundred dollars for residents and two hundred dollars for nonresidents. The license is valid for the fiscal year in which issued. Any person transacting business under authority of such a license shall carry that license on his person or have it permanently displayed in his place of business.
Section 50-11-4390. The following persons are not required to obtain the license provided for in Section 50-11-4380:
(a) A person who buys or otherwise acquires not more than five furs, pelts, or hides for his own personal use during one season and not for barter, exchange, or sale.
(b) A person who can substantiate the fact that any fur, pelt, or hide he possesses has been bought from a licensed fur dealer or lawfully obtained from a dealer in another state and is dressed, altered, trimmed, repaired, or manufactured into a finished product so as not to be resold as a fur, pelt, or hide.
(c) A tanner or taxidermist who possesses any fur or pelt legally owned by another person, which he is temporarily holding solely for the purposes of processing.
Section 50-11-4400. All fur dealers, buyers, and processors, other than retailers, shall keep a daily register on forms provided by the department showing the name and address of each person from whom any furs are purchased, the number of his commercial fur license, and the number and types of furs, pelts, or hides purchased. Not later than the tenth day of each month, all dealers, buyers and processors shall furnish the department all of the daily register sheets for the previous month. Any fur, pelt, or hide not properly tagged or logged when examined by the department is declared contraband and must be confiscated by the department.
Section 50-11-4410. Any person desiring to hold fur more than thirty days after the end of the regular season for taking furbearers shall apply to the license division for a permit at no cost to hold the fur. The applications for the permits shall contain an itemized list of furs to be held along with their fur tag numbers. The possession of any raw or green fur, pelt, or hide of any furbearing animal more than thirty days after the end of the regular season for taking furbearers other than provided for in this section, is prima facia evidence that the animal was taken unlawfully in violation of this article.
Section 50-11-4420. Any fur, pelt, or hide which is taken by any commercial fur licensee must be tagged at the time the fur, pelt, or hide or part thereof is removed from the body or carcass of the animal. The tags must be sold by the department according to the following fee schedule:
bobcat . . . . . . . . . . . . $2.00
otter . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.00
mink . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.00
gray fox . . . . . . . . . . . 1.00
red fox . . . . . . . . . . . 1.00
weasel . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.00
beaver . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
raccoon . . . . . . . . . . . .50
skunk . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
muskrat . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
opossum . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
The tags must be of a type and size the department prescribes. The tags must be securely attached to the fur, pelt, or hide and may not be removed until the fur, pelt, or hide is made into a finished product or sold for private use. Any fur, pelt, or hide which has been removed from the body or carcass or part thereof and does not have a tag attached as required by this section or that is unlawfully tagged, is declared contraband and must be confiscated. Each fur, pelt, or hide found constitutes a separate offense against the holder. Unused tags must be returned to the department within thirty days after the end of the regular season for the taking of furbearing animals. Full refund must be given for returned tags. Tags may only be used for the specific species for which they are issued and they must be numbered consecutively. These tags are nontransferable and may not be altered in any manner. The department may limit the number of tags for each species and the area in which they may be used.
Section 50-11-4430. The executive director of the department, all conservation officers, and any other employee of the department designated by the executive director may, at any and all reasonable hours, inspect the business premises and records required by this article of any person licensed under this article to insure compliance.
The license of any licensee who refuses to allow promptly an inspection authorized under this section is subject to immediate revocation.
Section 50-11-4440. The department may confiscate all traps and devices, furs, pelts, and hides which are illegally held, tagged, or used and hold them as evidence. Where the department has no storage facilities for perishable items such as furs, it may sell them at a reasonable price and hold the proceeds pending the final outcome of the case. Upon conviction of the owner, any traps, devices, furs, pelts, or hides being held may be disposed of as determined advisable by the director and any proceeds resulting from the sale must be used for the propagation and protection of game. Any trapping device found set without identification of the owner or which is improperly located or of a type or size prohibited by Section 50-11-4370 must be seized and destroyed by the department.
Section 50-11-4450. It is lawful to trap furbearing animals for commercial purposes from January first to March first of each year. The trapping season may not exceed sixty days each year under any circumstances. It is unlawful to trap any other times unless authorized by the director of game and freshwater fisheries. It is lawful to take furbearing animals by other lawful means during the general open hunting seasons established therefor.
Section 50-11-4460. Any person desiring to ship, transport, or attempt to transport out of this State, the skins, furs, pelts, or hides of any furbearing animal shall contact a conservation officer before packaging the items. The package must be sealed in the presence of the conservation officer who shall affix a label furnished by the department at no charge to each package, certifying that the tags required by Section 50-11-4420 have been properly attached and paid for. Any conservation officer or designee of the executive director may open and inspect any package containing furs, pelts, or hides shipped from within this State.
Section 50-11-4470. Any person violating the provisions of Sections 50-11-4400 or 50-11-4380 is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be fined not less than three hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than sixty days for each violation. In addition, upon conviction the department shall suspend the person's privilege to buy furbearing animals for one year from the date of the conviction.
Any person violating provisions of this article other than those specified in this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than two hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days for each violation.
Section 50-11-4480. The department may issue special permits, at no cost to the applicant, for the taking, capturing, or transportation of any furbearing animal or of other game animal which is destroying or damaging private or public property, timber, or growing crops, so as to be a nuisance, or for scientific or research purposes."
SECTION 2. Item (4) of Section 50-1-30 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 625 of 1978, is further amended to read:
"(4) 'Game animals'. Beaver, black bear, bobcat, white-tailed deer, fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, otter, rabbit, raccoon, skunk, squirrel, and weasel."
SECTION 3. Act 183 of 1977 is repealed.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon approval by the Governor.