Deer hunting season is one of the most highly anticipated times of the year for many in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. Archers get the first opportunity at bringing home a deer beginning Saturday, Sept. 14.
Last year, 113,566 archery hunters harvested more than 60,190 deer. Statewide archery season runs through Oct. 11, although hunters may hunt deer with archery equipment through the entire deer season (Jan. 1 in Northern Zone and Jan. 15 in the Southern Zone).
“Spring and summer seasons with abundant rainfall, like Georgia has experienced this year, generally produce abundant natural foods,” said John W. Bowers, chief of Game Management. “These conditions often contribute to an increase in deer quality, but can also make it a challenging year to hunt deer.”
Beginning this season, the number of firearms either-sex days is reduced in most counties. A few factors went into this decision, including the decline in the number of fawns that survive into fall and an increase in doe harvest rates. These factors warranted regulatory changes to reduce the doe harvest. For more information on this change, visit www.eregulations.com.
Many public lands offer specialty hunts, including primitive weapons hunts, adult/child hunts and ladies-only hunts. Dates and locations for these hunts are listed in the 2013-2014 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide. Georgia offers more than 90 state-operated wildlife management areas (WMAs) for the public’s use.
State-managed public hunting lands are funded through a combination of state license fees and matching federal funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Wildlife Restoration Program. Hunters account for $977 million in retail sales in Georgia each year with a $1.6 billion ripple effect and almost 24,000 jobs.
Hunters are allowed a season bag limit of ten antlerless deer and two antlered deer (one of the two antlered deer must have a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers). Special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas. Counties in the Metro Atlanta area (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Rockdale counties) offer either-sex archery deer hunting Sept. 14-Jan. 31.
To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, 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, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).