As the seasons transition from summer to autumn, it is time to prepare for a favorite time of year for many hunters. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, archers get the first opportunity at bringing home a deer beginning Saturday, Sept. 13.
Last year, 118,238 archery hunters harvested more than 74,490 deer. Statewide archery season runs through Oct. 10, although hunters may hunt deer with archery equipment through the entire 2014-2015 deer season.
“Although the weather in early archery season is still pretty warm, this time of year is excellent for successfully patterning deer movement.” said John W. Bowers, chief of Game Management. “As the season progresses, deer home ranges expand or shift and individual bucks may leave an area altogether for the remainder of the season.”
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 2014-2015 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 & 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 10 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/licenses-permits-passes , by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).
Want a preview of what to expect during archery season? You are in luck! A brand new video featuring state deer biologist Charlie Killmaster is available here.
For more information on deer hunting seasons, regulations, licenses and WMA maps, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting .