Here are the major changes in hunting regulations announced by the Georgia DNR.
• Fewer licenses are needed, fees increased.
• Ten new counties are now open for hunting alligators, quota only: Baldwin, Columbia, Hancock, Harris, Jones, McDuffie, Monroe, Talbot, Upson and Warren counties. Liberty, Long, McIntosh and most coastal counties are already in the alligator zone.
• The central Georgia bear season is now the second Saturday in January. The south Georgia bear season is adding a three-day bear season the second to last weekend in September.
• The lower coastal plains will have an additional 21 “deer either sex” days.
• Hunters can now report their harvest through the GA Outdoors app when your phone has no service. Enter the harvest date and county on the harvest record through the app. When the hunter gets to a location with service access, sync the app to receive a confirmation number.
Changes to wildlife management areas:
• There are two new WMAs, the 6,870-acre Alapha River WMA in Irwin County and Wheeler County’s Alligator Creek WMA, which is 3,086 acres. Both offer deer, turkey and small game opportunities.
• Small game hunters must sign-in for all small game hunts unless otherwise stated. Sign-ins are available at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com.
Most WMAs will now allow small game hunting on dates concurrent with deer and bear seasons, but small game hunters must wear hunter orange unless hunting doves shooting on managed dove fields, fur-bearer hunters hunting at night and waterfowl hunters on managed bodies of water.
• Buckshot is allowed when it is consistent with state law and when hunting appropriate species.
• Silenced or suppressed weapons can be used on WMAs unless otherwise specified.
• A season for feral hogs and coyotes will be open on WMAs from May 16-31 unless otherwise specified. All legal weapons may be used, but hunter orange is required the restrictions for incidental take of hogs and coyotes during other open seasons and hunts on WMAs remain unchanged.
• Everyone 16 or older entering any WMA or public fishing area must have a valid license.
Important numbers for hunters to know
The Georgia DNR office in Brunswick is in charge of the coastal region. The address is 1 Conservation Way, Brunswick, GA 31250.
Game management 912-262-3173
Law enforcement 912-264-7237
Ranger hotline: 1-800-241-4113
Other important numbers:
Boating registration: 800-366-2661
Coastal Resources Division headquarters: 912-264-7218
Special permits unit: 770-761-3044