Bill would allow S.C. hunters to shoot game in self-defense

astice@islandpacket.comFebruary 11, 2013 

A proposal in the state legislature would allow people to shoot gators, bears and other wild animals anytime they threaten people or pets.

The Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Commission has passed a bill allowing hunters who commit violations, such as shooting game out of season or at night, a way to claim self-defense or defense of another -- a designation which will include hunting dogs and house pets.

The hunter wouldn’t face penalties so long as he or she reports the kill to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and doesn’t keep the carcass.

Commission chairman Republican Sen. Chip Campsen, whose 43rd district includes parts of Beaufort, Charleston and Colleton counties, is sponsoring the bill. He crafted it after discovering during last year’s session that hunters accused of gaming violations had no way to claim that they were protecting themselves or another.

Although prosecutors might not bring charges against a hunter acting in self-defense, Campsen said it was important to him to set it down in law.

"What happens when you have to kill an alligator or a bear that’s coming after you or your dog or your child?" Campsen said.

Check back later with The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette for more on this story and follow reporter Allison Stice at twitter.com/IPBG_Allison.

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