The week-long primitive weapons deer hunting season opens Saturday, Oct. 15. Last year, more than 45,500 hunters took to the woods with muzzleloaders, bringing in over 9,000 deer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“The primitive weapons season is a great opportunity for an early deer before the pressure of rifle season hits,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist with WRD Game Management. “All deer hunters need to be aware of the Georgia Game Check mandatory harvest reporting system, a valuable data collection tool that is new this season. Although every deer must be reported within 72 hours of harvest, those taken to a processor must be reported in advance with the confirmation number provided to the processor.”
During the primitive weapons season, hunters may use archery equipment, muzzleloading shotguns (20 gauge and larger) and muzzleloading firearms (.44 caliber or larger). Youth under 16 years of age may hunt deer with any legal deer firearm, including during any wildlife management area primitive weapons hunts.
LIVE Q&A SCHEDULED WITH DNR BIOLOGISTS: Live, on Oct. 11, 2016, from 8 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., we will have a Deer Q&A session with DNR biologists on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Q&A also will be available to view on social media post-event.
NEW: Either Sex Day Map: A new interactive map has been created for Georgia hunters allowing hunters to see the opportunities available for the counties they hunt. More info at www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/deer-opportunities.
NEW: Georgia Game Check: While deer hunters have utilized a deer harvest record in the past (to record the date and county of kill), beginning this deer 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.
More than one million acres of public hunting land is available to hunters in Georgia, including more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas. Many areas offer special hunts throughout the season, including primitive weapons hunts. Dates and locations for hunts are available in the 2016-2017 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide (www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations).
The season bag limit is 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer (one of the antlered deer must have at least 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. 10-Jan. 8.
All deer hunters, including archers, are required to wear a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist during primitive weapons season. Scopes and other optical sighting devices are legal for muzzleloading firearms and archery equipment.
To pursue deer in Georgia, 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).