Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, has announced changes in the hunting regulations. There have been quite a few changes made, so hunters are advised to make sure that they become acquainted with the new hunting regulations prior to engaging in hunting activity.
Among the changes to the regulations, hunters who harvest a deer or turkey must record the date, county and, in the case of deer, sex of the animal before they remove the animal from where it was killed. Deer harvest reports must be filled out for each deer killed after September 10, 2016. Turkey hunters must make a report online or by phone within 72 hours of harvest. Only the person killing a deer or turkey can legally move the carcass. Also, the regulations dictate that it is unlawful for anyone to take possession of a venison for the purpose of storage without recording and reporting the hunter’s name, date and county of the harvest and whether the deer was a buck or a doe. After September 10, 2016, the confirmation number for harvest reporting must also be recorded by the person storing the venison.
It is now illegal for anyone to hunt deer without wearing at least 500 sq. in. of fluorescent orange material above the waist and on top of any other clothing, where it can be clearly seen. This is to make the hunting safer.
There have been changes in regard to selection of the hunters for quota hunts, and the dates that applications must be tendered. These changes affect the hunts for deer, doves, wild hogs, alligator, turkeys, rabbits, waterfowl and bobwhite quail. Accepted applicants are also limited to taking no more than two people with them on the hunt. Waterfowl, rabbit and quail hunts are exempt from this limitation.
Alligator season is being defined as running from the sunset on the third Saturday in August through sunrise on the first Sunday in October. Only one alligator can be taken and it must be at least 48 inches long. There is an exception in hunting zone 1A; alligators taken must be at least 96 inches in length within this zone.
Bears can be bow-hunted now during bow-hunting season for deer and they can be taken with muzzle-loader firearms during the primitive weapons deer season, with the new regulations. The hide and skull of harvested bears must be taken to offices of game management. It is illegal to kill a bear sow that has cubs or to kill a cub that weighs less than 75 pounds.
GDNR has specific regulations regarding the harvest of bears and deer on a county and wildlife management area basis, so hunters should read and re-read the regulations pertaining to the areas they intend to hunt.
Except for waterfowl and dove hunting, the regulations state that small game can’t be hunted during primitive weapons deer hunts or managed firearm hunting. The only night hunting for small game that is allowed in Wildlife Management Areas is for raccoon, fox, bobcat and possums. Note that alligator hunting at night is allowed, but these aren’t considered to be small game. The regulations also stipulate that during deer season, coyotes can only be taken using firearms that comply with deer hunting regulations. Before and after deer season, there are no restrictions on the firearms used for hunting coyotes.
A breakdown of the hunting regulations changes is given online in PDF format, so it is recommended that hunters download and print out the PDF document, so they can read it prior to going out hunting. It also isn’t a bad idea to keep the document with you for easy reference.
The changes to the hunting regulations in Georgia are seen as a step forward in properly managing the state’s wildlife. It is up to the hunters to make sure that they are fully aware of what the changes are. Thankfully, the regulations can be found on the Georgia DNR website.
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