SOCIAL CIRCLE — Hunters and other interested citizens are invited to any of eight upcoming public meetings regarding the development of hunting regulations for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 hunting seasons.
One of the meetings is set for Tuesday in Midway.
These meetings, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, are to give the public a chance to provide input in the development process.
“Public input is important and valuable,” John Bowers, chief of the Game Management Section, said. “While we currently have no proposed regulation changes, we are considering establishing a single statewide deer season and adjusting the timing of buck-only days. As always, we want to maintain simple, easy-to-follow hunting regulations that encourage hunting participation, maximize opportunity, and are biologically appropriate.”
Previous survey data, public input and other information have demonstrated to the department that most hunters desire a single statewide deer season. That is, one statewide deer season with a consistent closing date, which would end separate season dates for the northern and southern zone. However, there has been no consensus among hunters for what closing date makes the most sense. Current information indicates that most hunters prefer a date other than Jan. 15. The most popular options are: the first Sunday in January, the second Sunday in January and Jan. 15. The department is specifically interested in public input on this important issue.
Additionally, the department has received feedback on the recent regulatory changes providing for buck-only days during the deer season. For the past two years, these days have been Dec. 1-25 for most counties of the state. However, public input suggests that most hunters prefer some other timing during the deer season for buck-only days and the current dates may not meet harvest reduction goals. Again, there is no consensus on this issue.
Potential options include: the first nine days of firearms deer season, the first 16 days of firearms deer season, Nov. 1 to the third Sunday, or a combination of days that achieve desired biological objectives. The department is specifically seeking public input on this important issue.
Other issues of interest include: deer bag limits, charging an application fee to apply for the department’s quota hunts, migratory bird seasons (e.g., waterfowl, doves, etc.), hunting regulations and season for Wildlife Management Areas, and any other hunting issues.
All meetings will begin at 7 p.m.
• Southern Crescent Technical College (Room B132, 1533 Hwy. 19, S, Thomaston)
• Coastal Electric Co-Op Auditorium (1265 S. Coastal Highway, Midway)
• Blue Ridge EMC (875 Main Street East, Young Harris)
• Nathan Dean Center (604 Goodyear Ave., Rockmart)
• Pope Center (48 Lexington Road, Washington)
• Southwest Georgia Technical College (15689 US Hwy. 19, Thomasville)
• Gwinnett Co. Justice and Administration Center (75 Langley Dr., Lawrenceville)
• Dodge Co. Public Fishing Area – Group Building (325 Dodge Lake Road, Eastman)
Any participant at a meeting may present data, make a statement or comment, or offer a viewpoint or argument, either orally or in writing. Statements should be concise to permit everyone an opportunity to speak. Participants must register upon arrival and notify the registering official of their intent to give a statement. Those unable to attend a meeting may submit input either electronically or in written statement. Input must be received by Jan. 14.
Written statements should be mailed to: GA DNR/Wildlife Resources Division/Game Management Section; Attn: Tina Brunjes; 2070 U.S. Highway 278, S.E.; Social Circle, GA 30025.
Statements may be electronically submitted at: www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/Regulations/SubmitComments
These meeting sites are accessible to people with physical disabilities. To request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids, call Brunjes at (770) 918-6404.
Hunting regulation proposals will be available in early-April and will be considered by the Board of Natural Resources in May.
For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations/SubmitComments or call Hunter Services at (770) 761-3045.