SOCIAL CIRCLE — If you have never had that pre-opening day of firearms deer hunting season feeling, let this be the year you experience it. Firearms deer hunters can take to the woods beginning Saturday, Oct. 22, and continue through Jan. 8, statewide.
“Hunters already know the benefits of having a few deer in the freezer,” said John W. Bowers, chief of game management for the Wildlife Resources Division. “However, we hope that people interested in providing healthier, organic meals for their families take an interest in the pursuit of their own meat.
Venison is a healthier alternative to most domestic meat, and hunting is an excellent way to enjoy the ‘field to fork’ experience.”
During firearms deer season last year, more than 302,000 hunters harvested almost 300,000 deer in the state. DNR says regulated hunting ensures that Georgia’s deer population continues to be healthy and strong.
New: Either-sex day map: A new interactive map has been created to show Georgia hunters the opportunities available in the counties they hunt. More info at www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/deer-opportunities.
New: Georgia game check: While deer hunters have used a deer harvest record in the past (to record the date and county of kill), beginning this season, all hunters on both public and private lands must record their deer on the harvest record and report their harvest using Georgia Game Check.
All deer must be reported within 72 hours of harvest. However, deer taken to processors/coolers must be reported before the deer can be left at the place of business. More info at www.georgiawildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck.
Georgia hunters have access to more than one million acres of public hunting land across the state, including more than 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 2016-2017 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).
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.
Georgia’s 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.