Hello, and welcome to South Carolina Natural Resources, a blog created and maintained by the staff of the S.C. Department of Natural Resource’s Office of Media and Outreach.

Over the coming months, we hope to bring to our readers a lively daily discussion on topics related to natural resources conservation, hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism, SCDNR projects and initiatives, and other news and information that will be of value to our state’s sporting and conservation communities. It’s just one more way the SCDNR is working to fulfill its mission as the primary steward of and advocate for our state’s amazing natural resources.

Whether you are lucky enough to be a Sandlapper by birth, or are one of the many thousands of folks who have “voted with their feet” to make South Carolina their adopted home, you know without a doubt that this is one special place. With the responsibility for managing more than 1 million acres of wild public lands (and counting), the SCDNR has a huge responsibility to the present and future citizens of this state. And we know that it is the sportsmen and women, the hunters and anglers, and the other individuals who love spending time in the outdoors, who make wildlife and natural resources in this state and in the United States work. Without the funding provided through hunting and fishing licenses and permits and the excise taxes paid on outdoor sporting goods equipment, firearms and ammunition, as well as the working partnerships with landowners and sportsman’s groups, our amazing conservation efforts would be a fraction of what they are today. So for that we say, “thanks,” and please come back and visit often to find out what your state Department of Natural Resources and the larger outdoor community in South Carolina are up to.  We value your input, so if you have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered here, please contact site administrator David Lucas at lucasd@dnr.sc.gov. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Best of the Best

The Best of the Best

A new group of SCDNR Officers is sworn in by Law Enforcement Division Deputy Director, Col. Chisolm Frampton; January 17, 2017.

A new group of SCDNR Officers is sworn in by Law Enforcement Division Deputy Director, Col. Chisolm Frampton; January 17, 2017.

As more and more people have begun to visit and follow the SCDNR Facebook page and our other efforts to provide public information through social media and in other digital formats, it’s fair to say that the staff in our Office of Media and Outreach has been  amazed at the number and variety of questions that people have about the SCDNR.  So much so, that we’ve begun researching and publishing the answers to some of them on the blog.

(See FAQs and Answers: Is it legal to sell a mounted white-tailed deer buck? from last week.)

 But it’s probably a testament to the men and women in the SCDNR’s Law Enforcement Division that by far the number one question we get asked is “How do I/What are the Requirements for” becoming a “game warden.” And yes, while in the modern day, we generally refer to these folks as conservation or natural resources law enforcement officers, but I haven’t met one yet who didn’t take pride in the old-school moniker.  

New officer candidates chat with veteran officers prior to entering the classroom at the SCDNR's Styx Receiving Compound for a day of training and orientation.

New officer candidates chat with veteran officers prior to entering the classroom at the SCDNR's Styx Receiving Compound for a day of training and orientation.

Once in class, the new hires received words of encouragement and advice from their supervisors and other veteran SCDNR Officers -- all of whom once went through the same grueling application process to wear the green uniform.

Once in class, the new hires received words of encouragement and advice from their supervisors and other veteran SCDNR Officers -- all of whom once went through the same grueling application process to wear the green uniform.

The application requirements for becoming an SCDNR officer are tough, befitting the demanding nature of the job. You’ll find them here, on the SCDNR website (along with a nifty recruiting video). You could also check out the article “Called to Serve” in the January-February 2013 issue of South Carolina Wildlife magazine.

Recently, I had the chance to attend the first-day orientation and swearing-in ceremony where a new class of 15 SCDNR officers received their badges and credentials from SCDNR’s Chief of Law Enforcement, Col. Chisholm Frampton, as well as a full day of training and some words of advice from their future supervisors, and even a retired “game warden,” former SCDNR Lt. Chuck Dial.

“I wish I was you all right now, because I miss it a lot,” Dial told the new officers. “This is the best job you will ever have.”

The new officers also heard from retired "game warden," Lt. Chuck Dial, who shared some of his stories from the field.

The new officers also heard from retired "game warden," Lt. Chuck Dial, who shared some of his stories from the field.

So just how competitive is it to get one of these positions?  Well, as Col. Frampton told the class, the 15 new hires in this class represent the very best and brightest culled from a field of more than 500 initial applicants. 

“I want you to get the sense of the legacy and the heritage of what this job means to us,” Col. Frampton told the group. This job is special…it’s a different brand of law enforcement. We wouldn’t have five hundred people wanting these jobs if it wasn’t something special.”

Veteran Officer and Investigations Section supervisor Major Gary Sullivan also addressed the new hires. “I offer this challenge to you:  try to learn something new every single day,” said Sullivan, a thirty-eight-year SCDNR veteran. “Help people whenever you get the chance along the way. I guarantee you, you will be remembered more for the good deeds you do than for throwing somebody in jail.” 

Photo Gallery Below: In the hallway at Styx, a glass case provides a reminder  of nearly 100 years of SCDNR history. Getting photo ID pictures made for officer's credentials is a part of the process, as is detailed training on the radios and other equipment that will be issued to the new officers. A row of trucks awaits their new occupants -- after training, these vehicles will serve as these SCDNR Officer's mobile office, communications center and all-around home-away-from-home during long hours spent in the field. The sense of pride of accomplishment reflected in the faces of many new officers upon receiving their credentials is shared by Col. Frampton.
A Fine Kettle of Fish

A Fine Kettle of Fish

FAQs and Answers: Is it legal to sell a mounted white-tailed deer buck?

FAQs and Answers: Is it legal to sell a mounted white-tailed deer buck?