Sprawling fields of sunflowers are in full bloom at the Draper Wildlife Management Area, a seasonal attraction in late June and early July.
S.C. Department of Natural Resources wildlife technician Kenneth Flemming says the sunflower seeds are planted in April to attract doves for the fall hunting season.
However, he said, “it gives us great satisfaction to see the smiles of awe and wonder on the faces of children and adults of all ages at this magnificent site.”
Admission is free and the site is open to the public during daytime hours.
Wildlife tech Eric Mortenesen said the peak blooming time generally is around the Fourth of July, depending on the weather. “They will remain that way for about 10 days,” he said.
This Wildlife Management Area off Brattonsville Road is managed for small game, but white-tailed deer and wild turkey populations are present. Special seasons and/or bag limits apply for dove, quail, rabbit and turkey. There are two dove fields, one youth field and one adult field.
Although the area is managed for hunting, other forms of outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking and bird watching are popular. No horseback riding is allowed. The property contains three stocked ponds and special limits and open times apply.
The Draper tract, sometimes called the Brattonsville tract, consists of 806 acres at 1080 Brattonsville Road, about 10 miles south of York. The tract is marked with a sign; visitors can follow a dirt road around to the parking area and walk to two sunflower fields, accessible through either of two gates at the parking area.
The gate to the right, across the pond dam, is the shortest walk, less than five minutes, but is a smaller field. The gate to the left is about a 10-minute walk to the largest field.
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Brattonsville Road in Western York County, York, SC