SOCIAL CIRCLE - It's finally that time of the year again for Georgia hunters. Firearms deer season opens Saturday and goes through Jan. 1 in the Northern Zone and Jan. 15 in the Southern Zone. Last year, more than 276,000 licensed hunters harvested more than 300,000 deer.
"Regulated hunting is the most cost effective and efficient means of managing the deer herd," said John Bowers, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division assistant chief of game management. "In addition, sportsmen and women provide more than $30 million each year to fund wildlife conservation in the state through license fees and self-imposed excise taxes collected on the purchase of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and fishing equipment."The division manages more than 90 wildlife management areas, comprising nearly one million acres of public hunting opportunities. For just $19/year, resident hunters can purchase a WMA license and hunt on these lands. Georgia's WMAs provide a variety of hunting options, including archery, primitive weapons, modern firearms, adult-child hunts, ladies-only hunts and hunts for the physically disabled.
"The annual WMA license is a bargain for deer hunters," says Senior Wildlife Biologist Brandon Anderson. "It is the best value hunting club in the state of Georgia - nearly one million acres of land for $19 a year."
All hunters should read the 2008-2009 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations annual guide, available at www.gohuntgeorgia.com or from license agents, for any special county regulations, including either-sex days and antler restrictions and for specific WMA regulations.
All of Georgiaís public lands open to hunting are mapped out as a line map, topographical map and a color infrared map (with many larger areas divided up by tract for easier viewing) and now are easily accessible online at www.gohuntgeorgia.com . Search for maps by their geographic location or alphabetically by the name of the Wildlife Management Area, Natural Area or Heritage Preserve. These newly updated maps should serve as an excellent resource for hunters looking to plan their trips.
The season bag limit remains at 10 antlerless deer and two antlered bucks. One of the two bucks must have at least four points (one inch or
longer) on one side of the antlers. There are no other statewide antler restrictions. 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.
Deer hunters using modern firearms must possess a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. If hunting on a WMA, hunters also must possess a WMA license. Hunting licenses are available online at www.gohuntgeorgia.com, at over 1,000 license agents or by calling 1-888-748-6887.
For more information on firearms deer season, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com, contact a WRD Game Management office or call (770) 918-6416.