BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Homeowners in Honey Hill are concerned about the possibility of hunting near their homes thanks to a future land acquisition.
According to a Nov. 14, 2017 public notice, The Francis Marion National Forest is considering the acquisition by "tripartite exchange" of a 637-acre tract of land off Highway 45 in the Honey Hill area of Berkeley County.
According to a District Ranger with the U.S. Forestry Service, the acquisition will provide more public lands for dispersed recreation, including hunting and subsistence gathering.
However, some homeowners are concerned.
"The hunters are getting closer and closer to our homes," said Allen Shuler. "We're really concerned about our safety and welfare, family and property around here."
"Those high-powered rifles [are a concern]," added Wilson Shuler. "They clear cut [the trees] over here and there's nothing to stop the ammunition from going through [the woods]."
The Shuler's grew up in the Honey Hill area.
Allen has hunted all his life, and has nothing against the sport, but said things can sometimes get out of hand.
"People get excited and do things they don't normally do," he said. "Not maliciously, but things do happen. That's the other concern. I'd hate to be walking around the yard, cutting grass or something and then all of a sudden have an accident or something."
Friday morning a meeting was held between the U.S. Forestry Service, Francis Marion National Forest officials, SC Department of Natural Resources, and the Nature Conservancy about this tract of land.
Francis Marion Forest spokeswoman Pamela Baltimore said the meeting was a positive one; one where they listened to homeowners' concerns.
She added DNR is looking into many of the homeowner's issues with hunting.
This is the second meeting held by the district for homeowners in the area, Baltimore said.
In addition to the hunting, the Shuler's are concerned about how this acquisition and the use of the land will affect livestock, and some of the young families moving to the area.
"My grandson is going to be raising his family over there probably, and I'd hate to see this be a problem for him growing up," Allen said.
All parties involved are expected to review comments from the public regarding this acquisition.
Baltimore said at this time there's no word on when the final purchase may happen.