The sense of anticipation that comes prior to the opening day of firearms deer hunting season is a feeling that many will have this week.
Beginning Saturday, Oct. 17, and continuing statewide until Jan. 10, 2016, hunters will have the chance to hit the woods in pursuit of white-tailed deer.
“There is no better way to manage the deer population than by hunting,” said John W. Bowers, chief of game management for the Wildlife Resources Division. “Deer hunting also provides an economic benefit to the state, with hunters spending millions of dollars every year traveling to hunting locations, purchasing equipment from local retailers, and visiting lodging and dining establishments.”
During the 2014-2015 firearms deer season, more than 300,000 hunters harvested more than 400,000 deer in the state. The use of regulated deer hunting ensures that Georgia’s deer population continues to be healthy and strong.
Georgia hunters have access to more than one million acres of public hunting land across the state, including over 100 state-operated wildlife management areas. In addition to traditional hunts, a number of special hunts are offered, including ladies-only and adult/child hunts. Dates and locations for these hunts, as well as WMA maps, can be found in the 2015-2016 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations.
Hunters are allowed a harvest of up to 10 antlerless deer and no more than two antlered deer (with one of the two antlered deer having a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers). While these are the maximum limits, harvest of female deer should be appropriate for the property hunted. Information on establishing deer harvest guidelines for your property can be found at www.eregulations.com/georgia/hunting/general-hunting-information.
To pursue deer in Georgia, all hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. If hunting on a WMA, a WMA license is required. Licenses can be purchased online at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/licenses-permits-passes, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).
All deer hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of fluorescent orange above the waist to legally hunt during firearms season except on archery-only areas.
Get a preview of what to expect during deer season with a brand, new video. Go to www.youtube.com/georgiawildlife and click on “Georgia Deer Season 2015-2016.”
Georgia’s new deer rut map can be found at www.georgiawildlife.com/rut-map . For more information on deer hunting seasons, regulations, licenses and WMA maps, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting.