|“Poor” Deer Season, Again
|By GON Staff
Posted Wednesday January 30 2013, 11:19 AM
Never has there been a response like GON received for this year’s Rate Your Deer Season. Not even close.
The charts shows the dramatic trend in a drop in deer-hunter satisfaction over the past 15 years in Georgia. While this survey is not a scientific, random telephone survey, it is consistent. We've gone from more GON readers rating the seasons as excellent to vastly more rating the seasons as poor.
Almost 1,200 hunters took the time to fill out our surveys and get them to us. And what is absolutely stunning is the number of three- and four-page, heartfelt letters from hunters who have been on their clubs or owned land for decades. Their situation, they feel, is desperate. Many are asking for help.
The number and length of the comments was almost overwhelming. In the magazine, we had space for only a very small sample of the comments. However, we want everyone’s voice heard, so every comment we received is published here at www.gon.com. Our hope is that all deer managers and decision-makers take the time to read, and listen.
This is not a scientific survey. There is an inherited bias in any poll because the people who are passionate, or mad, are more likely to respond.
However, because it's not a scientific survey, the passion of hunters should not be ignored, and this effort certainly should not be dismissed. We've been conducting the Rate Your Season survey for more than 20 years, and the methodology has not changed. What has changed dramatically is that year after year the most popular ratings were "excellent" or "good." Then, in 2002, the trend lines crossed, with "poor" ratings surpassing "excellent" ratings. Since then, the lines has grown farther and farther apart until this year when a record percentage, almost half the hunters, rated the season as "poor."
Before we get to the comments, here are the numbers.
For the Rate Your Season question, there were 1,190 responses, with 557 rating the season as poor (46.8 percent; 349 rating the season as fair (29.3 percent); 203 rating the season as good (17.1 percent); and 81 rating the deer season as excellent (6.8 percent).
For the question, “Should Georgia's season deer limit by reduced from 12 per hunter per season?” there were 1,154 responses, with 994 (86.3 percent) saying "Yes, reduce the limit.” Only 149 (12.9 percent) answered "No,” and 11 had no opinion.
For the question, “Should deer hunting either-sex days be reduced in the county where you hunt?” there were 1,148 responses, with 742 (64.6 percent) saying "Yes,” while 390 (34.0 percent) said "No.”
For the county ratings below, the letters denote E-Excellent, G-Good, F-Fair, P-Poor, and the number next to each letter is the number of hunters who gave that rating to the county's deer season.
Editor's Note: These are the opinions of deer hunters who responded to the VOTES survey. We give each of them voice regardless of whether we as hunters or as publishers of GON agree or disagree with the opinions or comments.
Atkinson Co. G-2, P-1
Good: We have a huge coyote problem. Thank RFC Hutto for catching the poacher at Gopher Plantation. We don’t need people like that calling themselves hunters.
Poor: I have attended the yearly WRD Hunting Regulation meetings in my area for the last couple of years. More hunters need to attend these meetings to voice their opinions and concerns. There is a definite coyote problem in my area, and something has to be done to the coyotes so the fawns can survive.
Bacon Co. E-1
Excellent: I harvested two deer, one buck and one doe, and that’s about all we can use for venison in a year. I have observed many deer this season and can say there are plenty where I hunt. The problem we have in Bacon with the liberal limits is people harvest their limit and up to two times over and become venison suppliers selling dressed deer from $25 to $35 each depending on the size of the animal. There are individuals in this county who support their hunting hobby selling venison. This same thing happens somewhat during turkey season, and they will start turkey season two to three weeks before opening day.
Baker Co. F-1, P-2
Poor: I am 70 years old and have hunted deer for about 50 years, primarily in southwest Georgia and our property in Baker and Thomas counties. It is true that quality bucks are increasing in some areas, but this is not true for sure in Baker County. The overall numbers of deer are definitely down in the areas that I hunt.
Poor: We are not seeing many mature bucks anymore. Nor are we seeing the number of does. Not only do we have a coyote problem, but also a problem with overharvesting of deer that are not reported by out-of-state hunters. Many are on a lease where there are drawn for a specific week, and they feel they need to get their money’s worth. That being said, I believe your harvest number are a bit low. I realize there are Florida hunters with leases who don’t have the kill-everything-with-hair mentality, but they are few and far between.
Baldwin Co. G-2, F-3, P-4
Good: The deer population on our farm is definitely down. We only harvested two does, and I wasn’t real happy about those two being killed. I did take a 145-inch buck that was 4 1/2 years old this year and was the only deer I harvested. The coyotes are decimating our herd here. We plan to step up our means of eradicating them this year by whatever means we have to do so. Overall, a good year, but definitely less deer and more coyotes seen this year.
Fair: I remember cruising Cedar Creek WMA in the 90s in the early mornings before deer season started taking pictures. I would take 24 pictures with my 35 mm camera. Now because of the decrease in the deer population, it would take 24 trips to take 24 pictures. After talking to Tommy Keys of the Ga. Trappers Association, I am convinced that coyotes have an effect on the deer population as well as the over-killing of deer by hunters.
Fair: We have nine hunters in our club. We killed five bucks and 10 does. I believe the warm weather played an important role in deer movement and hunter participation this season. I had rather see the deer limit decrease more so than either-sex days decrease. I would to know that if I went hunting and wanted to harvest a doe, I would be able to.
Fair: I shot two nice bucks this season. I had gone six seasons passing up bucks, and it had been around 15 years since I had shot two bucks in one season. I rate this past season as fair. I saw twice as many bucks as does. For most folks this would be a good thing. For the past 10 to 12 years, I have seen an average of 20 to 25 different bucks and twice as many does. In the 2012 season, I only counted about 10 to 12 does and yearlings. On my four trail cameras that were out all year on feeders, licks or plots, I only saw one set of twin fawns and one single fawn. This is a drastic reduction in the number of fawns seen in past years. I think we have a coyote problem. I do not think reducing the number of doe days or reducing the amount of antlerless that can be harvested will help our problem.
Poor: This deer season was truly unique for us in Baldwin/Wilkinson counties (my small farm straddles the line). While coyotes have decimated the fawn crop of 2012, the super abundance of acorns kept the deer close in to their tight cover, thus limiting their need to move around very much. We saw far fewer deer in our traditional hunting areas of food plots and fire-break lines. This truth is, we have gotten used to the deer coming to us instead of us going out and hunting for them. If GON readers limited themselves to one doe per season as a freezer deer, we would see a better fawn population the following spring. It can’t hurt.
Banks Co. G-2, F-5, P-4
Fair: Limited number of doe days; limited number of food plots and other food for deer; adjoining property hunters shooting everything that walks.
Fair: The coyotes are bad; we have lots of them. The deer limit is too high, and there are too many doe days. The deer population for 2012 was down.
Poor: Deer numbers have been dropping constantly over the last six years. Very few fawns are making it past the first six months. Too many coyotes; lower bag limits.
Poor: I have not see that QDM has helped the quality at all, but I don’t have a problem keeping it. Coyotes have greatly reduced the deer herd, and I have not seen a turkey in three years. As little as five years ago, it was not uncommon to see 15 to 20 turkeys at a time.
Poor: This year was very bad. I saw more coyotes than deer. DNR has too many doe days and too many tags per hunter. Killed five coyotes, one deer. Somebody needs to wake up.
Fair: I think the regulations in the Northern Zone are a JOKE! The population numbers we are given are actually higher than what really exist. I also think that it is unfair for us hunting in the Northern Zone to have to pay the same amount for our hunting license. We do not get to bait, and we do not get an extended season except for metro archery-only.
Barrow Co. F-1, P-2
Poor: I primarily hunt in Barrow and Oconee counties. This season was the worst I have ever experienced. The primary reason for this opinion is directly due to the SEVERE reduction in deer sightings. I am not sure if this decline is due to over-hunting, high bag limits, coyotes or is a cycle that we are experiencing. Almost every hunter that I have spoken to experienced the same observations. In my work, I spend many hours riding country roads, and I can say that the population of deer is at an all-time low.
I have been deer hunting for 40 years and strongly believe we need to consider some drastic measures for deer management: reduce the bag limit, reduce doe days, implement statewide QDM, etc. One hunter, one buck works for me. And on another subject, raise the price for out-of-state licenses. There are too many Florida hunters killing Georgia deer at a ridiculously low charge.
Bartow Co. E-1, G-4, F-4, P-17
Good: Professionals set the limits for what is needed to manage the state’s herd. That is their job. Satisfying hunters should not be the top priority! Absolutely, giving the DNR officials the time, resources and manpower to enforce and maintain the laws needs to be stepped up! Illegal actions of hunters has hurt the sport much more over the years than our liberal bag limits!
Good: Need to extend season for archery at the beginning or end after rifle. Keep QDMA practices.
Fair: Due to the lacking deer population. I strongly believe the rising numbers of coyotes has had an overwhelming impact on fawn recruitment. Over the last five years, I have seen a fewer number of fawns; this year I saw one! It is ironic that the number of coyotes I took during deer season far surpassed the deer harvested.
Poor: Yotes, deer limits and QDM. All three are not helping a million-dollar industry. They will cause it to go under. I’ve been a hunter since I was big enough to carry a gun. I started hunting in the 60s, but I have gone to seeing a deer every time I went into the woods to not seeing a deer. Let’s not forget about poachers and these clubs that say we have too many deer because of trail cameras. Get real. Unless you put a number of that deer, you are taking a picture of the same deer day in and day out. I would like to see a four-deer limit, one buck and three does; doe days closed after Thanksgiving; make turning a poacher in worthwhile. Yotes need to be wiped out before they wipe out the deer because they hunt deer 365 days, 24 hours. I have seen yotes hunting in packs—three yotes, one doe. They were after her in a clearcut.
Poor: Worst season ever, even worse than last year. DNR giving farmers permits to kill deer and leave them laying. Way too many being killed in Bartow County.
Poor: I do not know the exact reason why, but I am seeing drastically fewer deer on property that is hunted less now than in the past. I don’t believe it is hunting pressure or killing too many—we’re killing one or two per year compared to five to 10 or more in the past. It seems that when we killed deer in the past it didn’t affect deer seen or shot the next year.
Poor: Cut the gun season down to four weeks. Open too long. Also open baiting in north Georgia. The deer hunting now sux.
Poor: Did not see hardly any deer during the whole hunting season.
Poor: DNR gives out too many crop permits. Farmers killing deer and leaving them lay. Every year fewer deer.
Poor: If changes are not made for 2013, by 2014 there will not be a huntable deer herd. Then when my 12-year-old son goes deer hunting and does not see deer, he will get to the point that he won’t go hunting any more, which will kill our efforts to get our kids out in the woods hunting and fishing. I hate to see our heritage die.
Ben Hill Co. F-2, P-2
Poor: Due to the high number of road hunters and night hunters. I’ve contacted the DNR only to hear they are overwhelmed with calls like mine and can’t keep up. In a conversation with my processor, he explained to me the “mind set” of these individuals. He asked one of them why they didn’t join a club and hunt legally, and his response was, “Why would I join a club when I can just hunt at night where I want to and kill big bucks easily. If I get caught, then I’ve just paid my hunting-club dues.” In fact this man has been night/road hunting for 15 years and has only been caught once. I feel like the penalties for such actions should be MUCH MORE SEVERE.
Berrien Co. G-2, F-3, P-2
Good: Got a nice 8-point with my .270 and a good 6-point with my PSE bow, doe at Chickasawhatchee. Did not see any coyotes this year, so don’t know if they are that big of a problem. Bag limit of 12 is TOO many. It needs to be lowered and enforced.
Good: Did not see a lot of deer. Did kill a nice 200-lb. buck with 5-points on one side. The other side was broke off. Looked like he had been in a fight. Only saw three does all year.
Fair: Hunting seasons should be shortened in the southern counties. Many friends refuse to bowhunt because of temperatures too hot. I’m really seeing fewer deer each year. We need to save our deer for future hunters.
Poor: Lot of food in the woods, which was good. But deer movement was not good. Saw a lot of yotes and dog tracks. Had a feeder out with corn, but coons and squirrels were on camera and one yearling showed twice over a week, very few birds. Corn started to sprout. Peanut field showed very little sign of deer or hogs. Looks like they just moved out of the area.
Poor: I have not seen a deer this season while in a stand. There needs to be a way to determine that hunters are not taking over the limit. There are too many unethical hunters which will take every deer they see. Maybe more game-warden presence.
Bleckley Co. E-1, P-2
Excellent: Saw plenty of deer and harvested a big 12-point along with several does. Even in January I was seeing deer.
Brantley Co. P-4
Brooks Co. E-1, F-3
Excellent: I felt like I had a good to excellent season. Very few trips yielded no deer seen. While I had only one shooter on camera, I was able to harvest him in November; a unique deer with a double main beam on one side. Most of my neighbors had similar experiences with deer sightings. For them the abundance was down, but they mostly have hardwoods, and the acorn crop had deer not moving as much. Collectively we have about 1,000 acres we hunt.
Bulloch Co. E-1, F-2, P-1
Excellent: My family and I have had an outstanding year due to, we believe, hunting legal over bait and QDM. Just for those who care, the laws will only be followed by the persons who want to conserve the future of hunting for the next generation. I’ve got two that love to hunt.
Poor: I am retired and bowhunt four to five times a week. I had a terrible season compared to past seasons. It is no fun to hunt all day and not see a single deer. I did much better when I worked and hunted on Saturdays. I would like to see the limit changed back to three does and two bucks with no antler restrictions. I would also like to see a bonus buck tag for the five weeks of primitive-weapons season. Another suggestion would be to delay the doe season for two weeks. Tagging each deer is another suggestion. I surveyed 10 members of our hunting club, and all but one had a poor season. I am 75 years old and will probably not live to see the deer herd back to the 90s level. My only hope is to be drawn for the Ossabaw archery hunt in 2013.
Burke Co. E-1, G-2, F-8, P-2
Excellent: I had a wonderful season! Killed three does, saw several nice bucks, shot at a buck—hit a vine! Spent more days walking, sitting, slipping and looking than most seasons and really enjoyed myself.
Good: Killed two decent bucks and two does. QDM helping. Saw a good many through Thanksgiving but only a handful since. Had one doe and one buck with puss pockets in meat. Had to throw away deer meat.
Fair: I’ve been hunting in Georgia since I was a teenager. I would consider myself to be in average Georgia hunter in the sense that I am not strictly a trophy hunter nor am I strictly a meat hunter. I simply enjoy being in the outdoors and doing what I love to do, which is hunting. But I can honestly say within the years that I have been hunting I’ve definitely seen a decrease in the amount of deer as well as the quality. I strongly believe that this is a direct correlation to the DNR regulations on the deer-harvest limits.
Butts Co. P-3
Poor: Deer limit is the main cause of no deer.
Calhoun Co. P-3
Poor: People who lease land around us think they have to kill a limit each year. QDM is helping in Randolph, but still too many does are being killed. Most people’s mindset is “if it’s brown, it’s down.” This must stop. Ten years ago we would see 15 to 20 deer from one stand. Now you are lucky to see one deer.
Camden Co. E-1
Carroll Co. G-3, F-6, P-10
Good: I only took four deer. All were does and no bucks. I do not think my area was affected by the coyotes; however, I did manage to shoot one with a bow on our 50 acres. We do QDM. We seem to have many deer on our property, but we do not take a lot of deer. Our group of three hunters only took five deer off of our property. We do have two mature bucks on the property that we know of, and to our knowledge they did not get shot this year. We saw a fair amount of deer, but again, we do limit our deer kills.
Good: I would like to see Carroll go to QDM as Harris is and some other counties. In my area of Constellation Road we have several yotes, and we harvested three this past season. Yotes are a big part of not seeing as many deer and young turkey in my hunting area. We use food plots and protein feed in May through August for the new fawns and does. I harvested two does and a 100-class 8-pointer, and I only hunt with a crossbow.
Fair: Hunting clubs around me are shooting everything they see. Add coyotes to that; it’s hard to see a good buck.
Fair: I would like to see our county go back to limit of three, two does and one buck of any size.
Fair: Go back to two bucks and three does statewide. Alternate every other weekend as buck-only statewide.
Poor: It’s because of yotes.
Poor: I was in the woods deer hunting no less than 25 times and saw not one shootable buck and only 10 or less does. This season and last were literally the worst I’ve ever had. My father, who has been deer hunting since the early 60s, says it’s the worst as far as deer numbers he has ever seen. We went on several WMA hunts with the same results—Joe Kurz, B.F. Grant primitive-weapons, parent-child Clybel, West Point’s sign-in hunt and Paulding Forest—with all the same results. I myself did not have one chance at a deer, and we are mostly meat hunters. Georgia needs to do something now, or the hunter numbers will drop considerably over the next few years.
Poor: Reducing the deer season is an awful idea! It lessons the time we can be in a stand away from the crazy world we live in!
Poor: Our problem is coyotes. We have five coyotes for every deer. All coyote droppings have deer hair in them.
Poor: I started hunting in Georgia at age 14. We had a short season the mid 70s, maybe one to two weeks at or around Thanksgiving. Not many deer, but everyone looked forward to opening day, and it was fun for everyone. As time passed, the DNR had it right. More and bigger deer were being harvested. The limits were raised accordingly. Then when 2001 approached, DNR caved in to the insurance companies and the farmers. Now they have been over-harvested, and we as hunters will probably never pass on this legacy to our youth and future of hunting. Hunting is supposed to be fun. You can’t get a child interested if they can’t get a visual of what they are hunting.
Catoosa Co. G-1, F-1 P-1
Good: I hunt Catoosa and Walker counties. Deer numbers are down, but quality is better. If we could cut back either-sex days during November, it might make quality hunting better. Extend deer season for the Northern Zone into January like the Southern Zone with buck-only regulations. Wish I was deer hunting (Jan. 10)!
Charlton Co. E-1
Excellent: My daughter and I hunted on a hunting club of 3,000 acres with 26 members. Collectively last year, we started reducing the number of does we as a club shot, and this year it started to show the dividends. This year I think only a handful were shot. Also last year we put a hurtin’ on the hogs, and between two stands/feed plots we did not have a single hog on camera or have sign. Also, coyotes have and are actively being pursued. I think the dog hunters shot six this season alone. Although there are plenty of them out a howlin’, we are actively pursuing them with electronic calling in the off season. Approximately 60 percent of the time I hunted, I saw deer, although the big one did not show this year, but that is OK cause we saw a lot of deer—button bucks, spikes and 3- to 5-pointers along with a good number of does and yearlings showing a good fawn success rate. My daughter’s stand routinely has three does and two yearlings, and mine has four does with three yearlings eating almost every evening. My daughter Shayla Hendricks, of Kingsland, shot her first deer this year, a nice 8-point on the second day of muzzleloader season. On my camera, 45 minutes after she shot hers, while we were celebrating there was a 10-point at my stand, but it never showed while hunting this year. An over-aggressive work schedule and my daughter’s purchase of a new home limited the available hunting trips this year, but if you are seeing deer, then it is a good day hunting. I think if you actively pursue the hogs and yotes and control the number of does that are shot, most deer populations will start to thrive. Call it QDM or just common sense, but it works for us and would work for all of the state. That’s why we think limit either-sex days/dates and number of deer. Limit of one antlered 4-inch spike or larger per hunter and two does per hunter is plenty of meat for the freezer and would sustain a healthy deer population.
Chattahoochee Co. E-1, F-1
Excellent: I rate my deer season as excellent because my granddaughter Jamie shot her first deer this season and my grandson Mason has shot two does this year. I also have shot my biggest deer ever, an 8-pointer scoring unofficially 147 and hope to have him officially scored and send pictures to GON soon.
Chattooga Co. G-1, F-4, P-2
Good: I am an avid hunter. I am 60 and have hunted all my life, but in the last few years I have gotten to where I don’t want to hunt that much anymore. Thinking about quitting. When it comes to me paying the same license fee as the south Georgia hunters and get less privileges, it is time to quit. I think we should get to hunt over bait like south Georgia does, and we should have the same open season dates. All of Georgia should be the same.
Fair: Chattooga is a tough county due to rough mountains.
Fair: Let us bait in north Georgia because we have feeders out with trail cameras and all of our deer don’t come out until 6 p.m. to 4 a.m., which I like. That keeps our does and our big bucks safe, so they can grow older. Wish everybody would let deer go like we do on our property.
Fair: Y’all need to remind hunters to shoot every yote they see. Maybe even put some type of bounty on them.
Cherokee Co. E-2, G-1, F-5, P-9
Excellent: This year was the best yet. Hunted about 20 days and saw deer 95 percent of the time we hunted. Grandson was able to kill his first doe and second deer so far, and I was able to kill two does this year. On average, we had at least three deer in sight, and one morning we had 11 in sight. Only a couple of small bucks were seen this year after taking some 8s, a 9 and an 11-pointer the past couple of years. This was the best year for seeing does. We and surrounding neighbors try to practice QDM by killing the older, mature and non-desirable deer and by killing any predators. Next year, we are going to plant a food plot to help increase our odds for bigger and better deer and more opportunities for the kids to kill themselves a good trophy buck.
Excellent: I killed five deer. Two were real good bucks. Opening day of bow season killed typical 8-point, 130- to 140-class. Got him on a 5-acre tract of land for sale. Then Nov. 17 killed a non-typical with nine countable points but stickers and broken tines all over. Plus three does spread out through the season.
Fair: Deer sightings down. Less deer than ever before. Too high a doe limit!
Fair: I based this rating primarily on bow season. Several factors have been talked about, including a higher-than-average mast. The first month of bow season is before acorns start hitting the ground in my area. I hunted hard and only saw two deer. If not for ending the season with 6-point in November and 8-point in December, the rating would have been poor.
Poor: The deer population is way down. I blame the coyotes for that. I would like to see the quantity of does cut back to around two and keep the bucks as is. Keep doe days as is.
Poor: My club is the textbook example of what coyotes can do to a large deer herd. In past seasons, we have harvested 90 to 110 deer a year. Then our harvest numbers started to decline, and we weren’t seeing the numbers of either young bucks or does we had in the past. We knew there were coyotes on our lease, but like other hunters we had no idea of the damage they were doing to the deer. As pointed out in your article, some of the bucks harvested the last two years are some of the largest taken in over 10 years I’ve had the lease. Our lease owner suspected what the problem was and brought in a trapper. The number of coyotes he caught was really an eye opener. Since then we’ve started shooting coyotes on sight, encouraged members to hunt them during the off-season and started a trapping program. Now, based on the deer tracks, trail-camera pictures and members’ reports, I feel our herds are beginning to rebound. I also put into place a two-doe limit two years ago. What I’d suggest the DNR do is go back to a three or even two-doe limit, re-install the doe days county by county or Northern and Southern Zone, and cut back on the days WMAs are open to deer hunting—all depending on what the rangers feel the coyote population is in their area. Also, at least for two or three years, put in place a bounty on coyotes statewide. I feel the deer can survive the coyotes or the 10-doe limit, but not both.
Poor: Not as good as last year for a lot of reasons. Weather was strange this year, and I think deer numbers were down some. We feed deer year-round in two counties just to get photos to track the herd. The does were about the same, but buck numbers were way down, especially big bucks. Horns this year had smaller mass and more deformities than years past. While hunting we saw a lot less deer, and we have hunted the same land for 20-plus years, and this was worst year we’ve had. We didn’t harvest a single deer, but again it’s more about the blessings of getting to see the world as you only can from a stand. But it’s nice to see a few deer.
Poor: Everyone has a theory on why they are seeing less deer. We are not overkilling does on our club. We only killed about 25 on 5,000 acres. I think the does have just learned to be way more nocturnal now that they are hunted every day of the season. The vast majority of my trail-cam photos of deer during hunting season were at night.
Clarke Co. P-3
Poor: Coyotes are a problem, but PLEASE don’t ask for a state bounty on yotes. Are you kidding? Give the government more money and trust them to solve your problem? Would you let them handle health-care with taxes and public-safety with gun control? If you want a coyote bounty, have your hunters pool their own money.
Clay Co. E-2, F-2
Fair: How can the state get a true harvest number—each harvest record is not sent to state? Make it so you can’t get a harvest record for next season without returning previous one. Give out a free one-year all inclusive license in a random drawing of returned harvest records.
Clayton Co. F-2
Clinch Co. G-3, F-1
Fair: Deer numbers continue to drop in our area at a steady rate. Bigger bucks are being harvested, but way less deer have been taken in the last two deer seasons. We actually enforced a “no doe” rule this year to maybe help the herd come back on our leases. Usually there are two yearlings with does on our lease, but now it’s good to even see one. Traveling trails seem to be less traveled every year, and the actual sign has continued to decrease. Coyote sign is visible almost on a daily rate. It seems with the laws in place and kills by predators that the deer herd is unable to make a comeback. As a lease holder, members come and go every year due to the lack of deer, and it’s getting very hard to pay these leases.
Cobb Co. F-1, P-1
Fair: Deer limit too high and yotes.
Coffee Co. E-1, F-4, P-2
Excellent: Deer hunting is better than ever. The inbred deer are finally gone, and the bucks are the best in 40 years.
Fair: I have hunted on family farm land and numerous hunting clubs in and out of Coffee County my whole life. Lands that I’ve hunted practice strict QDM and have neighboring hunters also following the same practices being conservative in their deer harvest. Neighboring hunters and myself saw dramatic improvement in deer herd and quality over just a few years, and it was very much worth every deer passed up. While on another farm, I hunted conservatively but no progress in deer herd or quality was noted because every deer that left the property had a very poor chance of making it back as neighboring went on the motto, “If it’s brown, it’s down.” This is the reason I believe a statewide regulation is needed. I do not believe the coyotes are causing the impacts on the Georgia deer herd. My reasoning for this is the coyotes have always been a predator of the Georgia deer herd, it’s not some new invasive species that has recently been introduced. Also in my opinion, the coyote population has drastically decreased in my part of the state. Like I said, the coyotes have always been here. Guess it’s time to point fingers at all the hunters that cannot conservatively manage their deer. The poor herd is from poor hunting practices. If you have a coyote problem, fix it.
Columbia Co. G-1, F-3, P-3
Good: We have a lease on Clark Hill. We have 440 acres and five members in our club. We killed 10 deer between all of us with one member not killing one. After Thanksgiving we had to hunt hard to kill a deer. December was a bust.
Poor: Poor on Fort Gordon because too many yotes; quota of 200+ civilians in drawing; the number of troops that are now on post; the number of contractors that are working on post; the number of acres we lose to pulp wooding and new range facilities being built. Too many hunters!
Colquitt Co. G-2, P-1
Cook Co. P-1
Poor: DNR says we can shoot ’um, and shoot ’um they do. Coyotes overrated.
Coweta Co. E-2, G-1, F-4, P-9
Fair: I believe coyotes are making a major impact on our deer population. Along with natural disease and a bag limit that is set too high. QDM is a failure. They promote taking too many does while managing bucks. They fail to realize these bucks are born from the does. All the while leaving sub-standard bucks to breed.
Fair: I am a deer hunter, rabbit hunter and turkey hunter mostly, but I have hunted about everything we have in Georgia. QDM is good. Coyotes—we need a bounty on them. Funding for bounty needs help from NWTF and DNR and all hunters in state, also from homeowners and anybody else who has small dogs or cats who go outside in rural areas or in subdivisions or in towns. Add .50 cents to county property taxes for bounty fees. Let DNR and GON find places to turn in yotes for bounty collection.
Poor: Deer hunting this year was a huge disappointment. I have been hunting the same tract of land, 26 acres, for the past eight years. I have planted year-round food plots for those eight years, and in the past three years I have added a feeder with high protein. Deer seasons 2010 and 2011 I was seeing a big improvement in deer size and racks. The hunting season of 2011 we had 10 bucks on the property from the 120-class to the 140s. We, my brother-in-law and myself, harvested one 10-point that year in the 135-class. This past hunting season, we only saw one 8-point buck, several large does and three yearlings. What happened? We had food plots of clover, rye, wheat, oats, greens an supplemental feeding of Hi-Pro. I did shoot two yotes this year, and I always killed one to two on this property. Needless to say, it was a strange season. I talked to the other hunters around us, and they were all asking, “Where are the bucks?” I dare say we need to re-look at our deer season limits and take an overall view of the state.
Poor: I love the idea of QDM, and I think it does work, but we all know if you don’t have the does, you won’t have the bucks. We have worked hard to take care of our property providing food plots and supplements to improve the deer herd. But when you hunt natural food as well as food plots and you see only three deer all year, what are you to do? Before the bag limit was raised to 12, we had to turn in our tags at the end of the season to get a more realistic view of the harvest. But now with the honor system who really knows? I have only seen three does in the last three years and harvested one of them. We have gone from seeing 100 deer when the limit was raised to five. The most deer we harvested in one season was five, but there were five of us hunting. I enjoyed teaching my kids about how if you let the small ones walk they will grow into deer you would be proud of, but you have to see deer to do this.
Crisp Co. G-1, F-1
Good: I have had ups and downs like any season would have. I have been able to take four deer so far this season. They have been a mixed bag, two button bucks (thought were does) and two does. I have seen a total of 10 different bucks. I have never seen that many different bucks. That is more than any three years put together that I have hunted. I hunt around 100 days a year. Most of time I try hunt twice a day. On days that I do not work, I try to sit at least six hours. Any disappointments I have had have been due to my own fault. When it comes to what type of hunter I am, I believe I am somewhere in the middle. I do like to hunt for meat, I enjoy it and believe it is far better for me than store-bought beef and pork. I also like to have the opportunity to shoot a big mature buck to display on my wall. But mainly I hunt to enjoy the outdoors. It lets me have time to think and decompress, as some say. I enjoy taking someone, kid or adult, that has never been hunting and introducing them to this lifestyle. The joy it brings them when they take their first deer, buck or a deer with a different weapon beats anything a big buck will give me.
Crawford Co. E-1, G-3, F-3, P-6
Excellent: I shot two bucks and three does and could have shot several more if I had wanted. One of my bucks was an 11-pointer, 25-inch neck, 4 1/2 inches at the base and weighed 219 pounds. My biggest buck to date. I’ve seen a decline in the number of fawns over the last three years. This is due to the yote problem. Something must be done. How about a bounty. No funds? Consider a $5 increase on license or an additional sales tax on sporting goods to pay for it. QDM is helping. We’ve leased our property for the last six years. We impose all deer must have 4-point on a side, the larger deer must have an inside spread of 14 inches. In the past six years I have seen more bucks and bigger bucks each year. The dishonest hunter is going to kill all the deer he or she can take, but I would still like to see a check-in station requirement or a phone-in registration requirement with a number issued to maybe keep some of the dishonesty down.
Good: I retired in April 2010, and this year I was able to spend as much time as I wanted in the woods. Did not see anything worth shooting. Killed 48 does on 2,700 acres four years ago, knocked our deer population past the recovery line. Only time and management will repair the damage.
Good: We have a yote problem, and sometimes hogs come up to our property causing some issues. Still good hunting with my kids.
Fair: Our deer numbers have certainly decreased. I don’t know the reason, but I do think that 10 does is too many deer for anyone. I know that most hunters are killing under three, so bringing the limit down should not be a problem. Bringing back “doe days” will probably help more than anything.
Fair: My deer season was poor due to coyotes and the timber companies either cutting adjacent properties or doing controlled burns for land management. Saw a good number of deer, but less than last year.
Poor: 525-acre club, and I marked poor because I didn’t harvest a shooter buck according to my specifications (4-points on side at least 2 1/2 or more years old). I did see some with those specs, but just not my year. Had plenty of chances year-round to harvest a doe, but I don’t shoot does. Club as a whole had a good to excellent season; 10 of 16 members, 62.5 percent, harvested 22 deer, seven bucks and 15 does.
Poor: I’ve been a hunter for over 50 years. This season was one of the most challenging I have seen. I am very selective about the deer I harvest, only taking mature animals and only enough to feed my family for the coming year, usually three to four deer. What few deer I saw were too young for me to harvest. Recently I was a member of a 35-member hunting club in western Crawford County for about 10 years. Over half of the members in my former club are from Florida. These hunters kill any deer that come in range, even fawns with spots. They cut up their own meat and take it back to Florida in coolers, so these kills are not reported. This is just one club. How many other clubs are this way? A lot of resident hunters also process their own meat. That is a lot of unreported deer kills.
Poor: Early season hunting takes many does that are still nursing, leaving fawns to starve or become coyote food. Another bad and sad side of increased limits is no tagging, causing an overkill of bucks, too. I have also seen this attitude because lease prices never level off—kill all you can this year because next year we might not be able to afford it.
Dade Co. E-1, G-1
Excellent: I saw 15 to 20 different bucks, more does than I could count, and I harvested two mature bucks—a large-bodied 8-pointer and a very old 6-pointer—along with two does. That is more than enough venison for me and my family. I witnessed bucks scraping, two different buck fights and lots of rut activity like grunting and chasing. I saw a lot of does with twins and couple with triplets during archery season, which was a good sign. There are coyotes here, but they don’t seem to be as bad as in the past. As far as QDM goes, I think it is working well and needs to be left in place. I feel if more hunters would put more scouting time in along with food plots and supplemental feeding, no matter how big or small their hunting land is, they would see and harvest more deer. I am also a firm believer that the line dividing the northern and southern zones needs to be abolished and have one uniform set of regulations for the whole state. It’s the same bag limit no matter what part of the state you live in. That goes for baiting as well.
Good: Had a good year. Saw lots of deer, both bucks and does. Only rated it good because I only harvested one buck and two does. Think all the acorns and warm weather kept them from moving so much.
Dawson Co. F-1, P-2
Poor: Hunting in Dawson County has been pretty poor in recent years. I’ve hunted here for 38 years and can honestly say the best hunting here was during the 80s and 90s. Coyote predation and over-killing from hunters have contributed to this decline. If the state is concerned about hunter numbers declining, then they need to take action now to help rebound animal numbers to help keep young hunters interested. If they keep going to the woods not seeing game, then they may turn back to video games for entertainment. End result is not good. I wish the state would work with outside organizations (like QDMA) to help better what they’ve started. Georgia has the ability to move to the top of the country in quality hunting experience. We need someone at a state level who cares what sportsmen want, not to flex muscles and say this is how it’s gonna be.
Decatur Co. P-1
DeKalb Co. P-2
Poor: People need to keep their dogs put up.
Dodge Co. E-3, G-3, F-5, P-3
Excellent: Nice 8-point, not a wall-hanger, but nice. All five of my deer were heavyweights. Saw deer almost every hunt.
Excellent: This was a very unusual year. I saw more deer after Thanksgiving and the first week of December than I have ever seen in the past. I saw a good many bucks, but there were no bucks of any size. I live in the southern part of the state, and we have plenty of deer and plenty of areas to hunt. I understand there are parts of the state with many more hunters, not as much land for hunting and therefore fewer deer. If they could change the deer limits for those areas and not the whole state that would be a better deer-management plan.
Good: Everyone in Dodge is seeing more quality deer but much fewer than in the past three or four years. Lower limit and increase QDM in the state.
Fair: Rarely saw more than one doe or yearling at same time. Never saw several does at one time. Retired, so I hunted just about every day. Farmer next door has agricultural permit to kill deer to protect is crop. They shoot deer all summer. Hefty coyote population.
Fair: Poachers, night hunters and Florida leases who will not practice any QDM. Our quality has taken a beating since Florida hunters moved in.
Fair: The main new law that I would like to see is a statewide antler restriction. Several counties in Georgia use these, so research can be done to see if they work. I am in favor that a buck must have 4-points on one side to be harvested. It would also be OK with me to make this a 16-year-old rule, so children can still harvest smaller bucks. It is in my opinion that this would not only be good for the herd, but it would be good for the economy also. I believe people will spend more on deer hunting if they know that they have a better chance on seeing a bigger buck.
Poor: Five deer seen all season; one opening day before shooting light, yearling week of Thanksgiving, three small does last Saturday of season. Go back to either-sex days for while state! Two bucks, one 4-points on one side, and three does! Hunting has not been good since early 1990s!
Dooly Co. F-2, P-3
Poor: Saw very few deer. Hunted many days.
Poor: How about a look at whether county QDM did any good? Sure aren’t bucks behind every tree, and now there aren’t any does either. How is this better when we killed big bucks before?
Dougherty Co. F-3, P-1
Fair: On my farm, I used to see deer almost daily. Now I can go for weeks at a time without a deer sighting. I put a game camera on a trail close to a feeder and did not get a picture of a deer for six weeks. The population has been declining for the last five years or six years. If it continues like this, the state will need to close the deer season in Dougherty County. Doe days do not need to start for the first 10 days of the season, so the young does can adjust to hunting, and the limits needs to be reduced to seven—two bucks and five does.
Poor: The 2012-13 deer season has been pathetic. I have hunted an average of three days per week since season started and have only seen deer one time. I think it is bad due to the deer limit and way too many have been killed off. Florida hunters don’t help either. They will kill anything big as a dog due to what they have invested in hunting Georgia.
Poor: I hunted 25+ times without seeing a buck, not even a spike. I did see numerous does, sometimes six to eight at a time.
Douglas Co. P-1
Poor: I spent a little more time in woods this year than the last two but saw way less deer. Deer were on camera through summer but vanished for the most part around Sept. 16. Had no pictures of fawns this year; usually I have three to four new fawns each year. Have captured lots of coyotes on camera (big ones, too) and have seen a pack of three upon occasion but never got a shot at them. My in-laws who hunt near me on a 200-acre plot have seen way less deer too this year. Food was put out over spring and summer, but deer quit eating it (corn) when acorns started to fall in early September. Been studying deer movements on cameras for three years now, and they always do the same disappearing act at the same time. There is no food plot around. They lose all interest in corn until early March. They start to show up when leaves start to appear. Antlers drop from end of February (bigger deer) to mid April (smaller deer).
Early Co. F-1
Fair: The past three years have been fair as far as seeing a number of deer. I’m 53 years old and can remember when seeing 15 to 20 deer a day was common. In the last two years, I’m lucky to see that many a season. We try to eliminate as many coyotes as we can and have done so. Hogs have been a problem, but not as bad this year (dry weather). A lot of my friends bowhunt as I do, even through the gun season. We just wonder if it has been mentioned about having an extended archery season in south Georgia. We would to hear about it if possible. Yes, I can see that QDM is working. We are seeing 1 1/2-year-old bucks with 8-point racks. We are killing mature bucks over 200 pounds, which years ago was not common. We just aren’t seeing a lot of either. With the price of a hunting lease nowadays, it’s hard to keep members if they are not seeing deer. I’m a working man, and I’ve been on leased land for many years. I feel we need to make some changes that would meet the needs of the hunters in our state and the needs of the game we hunt.
Echols Co. G-1
Good: Too many doe days.
Effingham Co. E-1, G-2, F-2, P-3
Good: Something needs to be done about the coyotes. Here, it is not low deer count that has us not seeing deer, it is because there is no dog hunting done close by to keep the deer stirring, coming out of our thick woods, during hunting hours. I feel WRD should leave the hunting regulations as they are, at this time, and put their efforts into the coyote problem.
Fair: I think the lack of water on my hunting tract played a role on us not seeing as many deer. I also think the number of deer being killed in the surrounding area is part of the reason. There have been a few coyotes seen around, but we have not seen any on our tract. The deer on our tract and surrounding area are under a lot of pressure. Dog hunting is allowed where we hunt. Let me say I am not against that. I do wish however that it could be broken up a little; give the deer a little time to relax.
Poor: Georgia insurance companies has the highest deer slaughter of any other state in the U.S. It’s time a true hunter goes back to feeding his family. Twelve deer a year is crazy. Two are plenty of any family of seven. You can’t hunt 10 doe a year for long, you’re killing two to three per shot. What are our children and grandchildren gonna hunt? Georgia needs to take a long look into the future, our and their future families. Hunters, we need to go back to the basics. We the hunters need to take this country back over. I’m old and tired. You young bucks need to do right, stand up before it’s too late.
Elbert Co. G-4, F-3, P-5
Excellent: Deer season was excellent. Saw multiple bucks on most trips to the stand. Killed a nice 9-point on Nov. 10. Fourth time I had seen him chasing. Finally got a shot. I don’t think we have as many deer as in the past, but I would say we have a better overall balance of bucks to does. Attitudes take a lot of time to change. Still have people ask how many deer I’ve shot. They seem to think this indicates if I’ve had a good year. I think it was a great year. Shot a the buck on Nov. 10 and a doe on Dec. 31.
Good: Deer numbers in Elbert are still good.
Poor: Over-hunted. Coyotes. Horrible season!
Poor: I don’t feel the current way that DNR gets information about deer kills is anywhere close to accurate. I have talked to no less than 20 hunters who hunted near me last season, and none of them have reported any deer kills in the past three years and all had killed three to five deer and some even more. I feel the old deer tags system worked better since hunters were afraid to move a deer before tagging.
Poor: Yotes and bobcats taking too many fawns.
Emanuel Co. G-1, F-2, P-4
No Rating: Did not hunt the last two years. Wanting deer to repopulate my property.
Poor: The biggest problem in the area I hunt is coyotes. So numerous I hear them howling at dawn and dusk virtually every day.
Poor: My season was the worst I have ever had. I did not see a single deer. The reasons, I think: too many does being killed; hunting with dogs; coyotes. I think the DNR should eliminate the QDM rule.
Evans Co. F-3, P-1
Fair: Saw plenty of deer this season. Only took two of God’s amazing bounty. Thanks to Him. One was a 180-lb. 15-point non-typical, still in velvet on Jan. 12.
Poor: For the past three years I’ve seen a decline in the number of deer in this area. I think it is due to farm permits and too many does being killed.
Fannin Co. E-1, G-2, F-3, P-4
Excellent: Too many road hunters, mostly at night and from Tennessee. Deer season should end after the first week of December and not open back up. No either-sex days with a rifle. Bow and muzzleloader is enough in Fannin County. Hunters do not understand either-sex days on national forest and county.
Good: Hunting Georgia mountains is more challenging than hunting on club food plots. Yotes will always be a problem effecting deer herd.
Fair: We have a lot of national-forest land that gets a lot of pressure. I take three to four weeks off every year to hunt. Sit for a week and maybe see two deer.
Fair: The main problems here are that everyone is either over-harvesting or spotlighting. I’ve heard several people talking about how many bucks they’ve gotten. Yes bucks. And how easy it is to shoot a doe and no one ever knows when it’s not an either-sex day. One guy went on about how he’s gotten two 8s and three 6s. The tags we have now are pointless, anyone can reprint them and fill out another one. Spotlighting is a sport around here. All the young kids and good bit of older guys do it every time they jump in the truck. I hunt some private fields and have watched on average three vehicles an evening hit their lights across them. Every time I would shine my flashlight back, and still they’d come back.
Poor: I hunt in the mountains on national-forest lands. We have very few deer here. We need to go back to very few doe days and a two-deer bag limit here in these mountains. I think we only need to hunt does on archery hunts and have a one-doe limit for the year, and one buck per hunter, 4-points on a side. The yotes and other predators are hurting the deer population also, but bag limits and over-hunting does has really hurt us. I hope DNR wakes up and sees that we are not south Georgia.
Poor: I am 65 years old. I see less does each season. Yotes do kill fawns, but we hunters don’t have to shoot does just because it’s legal. Most of my hunting is done on public land.
Fayette Co. F-4, P-1
Fair: I have lived on the land I hunt for 30 years. I have seen it go from seeing three to four deer after three or four days of hunting from 25 to 30 deer a hunt. This year we noticed that we were not seeing any does of fawns all spring or summer, and that was a first. We did, however, see plenty of yotes. We have too many doe days and yotes. Also, QDM has not made any difference on my property. I have been hunting since 1975 and have killed 150 plus deer, so I know what I am talking about.
Fair: Yotes are here; killed two, saw more than I did deer.
Fair: When our deer numbers became too high back in the 90s, sportsmen said it was time for a change, and as a result we enjoyed liberal bag limits as well as plenty of deer for quite some time. It is time for a change. As little as eight to 10 years ago it was common place to get pictures on my summer cameras of doe after doe, most with two fawns in tow. And once in a blue moon I would get a coyote on camera. Now, I long to get a doe with one yearling in tow, much less two, and coyotes on camera are common place. The simple fact in my area is this—cars and hunters take their percentage each year and both have stayed relatively consistent. However, coyotes are more prevalent and the cameras don’t lie—there are more coyotes. No debate it is a fact. So, it is time for a change sportsman. Conserve your does! If you have property, learn to trap or pay a trapper to reduce your yotes. It is that simple. The yote problem is very similar our current flu season. It’s all over the news with not all affected, but eventually you will be exposed, and it ain’t pretty! It’s time for a change.
Floyd Co. E-2, G-2, F-3, P-11
Excellent: Awesome season in southwest Floyd County. Two good bucks and saw deer, bucks and does, all season. Great rut! We do, however, have a song-dog problem.
Excellent: Took two bucks and one doe. Saw bucks chasing; good doe and fawn groups. If you want to see more deer, slow down shooting the brood stock (does).
Good: I saw some good does. I don’t harvest them at all. I did see some small bucks, but I let them walk, too. Too many hunters shoot anything that has four legs and a white tail. This is just not the way it should be. Also, too many coyotes. Way too many. If I see one, I shoot it.
Poor: Worst deer season in 25 years. Seeing no deer!
Poor: We have found several skeletons of deer over the past few years, both young and old. Coyote scat is all over the property. More coyotes were killed this year on our property than deer. Doe days should be reduced. Doe limits should be reduced. Hunters that practice QDM on their property are not the problem. Hunters on adjacent property that don’t care about deer-herd management are the problem.
Poor: The past several deer seasons I have seen a huge decline in the numbers of deer seen. I think this is a two-part problem. We have found 10 dead fawn carcasses the past two seasons on less than 200 acres. No. 2, the 12-deer per hunter season is a lot of deer. A lot of hunters have the mentality they have to kill all 12. I would also like to see some antler restrictions in Floyd County and some of the other northern counties.
Poor: I’ve been hunting here for 27 years, and I have never seen the deer herd so bad. I can remember as a young man going to the woods and seeing some sort of fresh deer sign, but I’m just not seeing that much anymore. See, I grew up hunting Berry College WMA where the deer were abundant, but it’s just not like that anymore. The last few years I’ve been hunting in Polk County, and deer sightings there have been really good until this year sightings were way down. I’ve talked to friends who hunt, and they’re saying the same thing. So let’s all take part in keeping out hunting fun in Georgia. It’s not always about shooting that big buck. Think about this... if we adults don’t like going to the woods and not seeing any deer, do you think our young hunters will?
Poor: We have hardly one-fourth the deer we had in 1995, excluding Berry School. The WRD and DNR are stupid and incompetent to allow 10 does to be killed in one season. The coyotes are killing a great percentage of deer. The hunters are killing themselves if they kill 10 does per season. We cannot stop the coyotes, but we can try to stop hunters from taking 10 does per season.
Forsyth Co. F-2
Franklin Co. G-2, F-4, P-4
Good: I’m a die-hard hunter. I will try to hunt every day if possible. Guess that’s why I got to kill four this year. My 12-year-old and 15-year-old boys, well they used to hunt with me a lot, but since they don’t see any deer when they go, they would rather stay at home. If it were statewide to hunt over bait, the kids can have a lot better chance of seeing a deer and hopefully become an avid hunter.
Fair: Bow season was the best I’ve seen in a while. I’ve been hunting this same property since 1998. Done a lot of work to the property by hand. Saw a good herd of does, some fawns and young bucks, but no mature bucks. Soon as gun season came around, I hardly saw any deer.
Poor: Between coyotes and doe days there won’t be any deer in a few years. And people won’t let bucks mature. I have not shot a deer in three years.
Poor: My season was sad. Put out food plots; up to Dec. 30 they weren’t touched. A food plot I put in for another member hasn’t been touched about 3/4-mile from mine. One has Sweet Beets Trophy Radish, turnips and rape. The other has Austrian winter peas and some kind of mix. They all came up they all look good—no deer. I have three cameras set up in a big triangle. One I call my money shot—since day one over three years ago it produced a lot. After around Thanksgiving, not one pic on any cameras, none. I thought they went into lock-down rut, but not the case. They just went away. I’m not saying deer numbers are down; they more than likely are, but not as much as some people think they are. I don’t know what happened, and in the end no one else does either. Maybe they got bummed out how the election went. I’m sure the people under the Gold Dome will figure it out.
Fulton Co. E-1, G-3, F-1, P-1
Good: Saw eight bucks and some does. Deer herd is down this year. Saw only one baby deer with spots. Saw only two 6-month-old deer this year. I think yotes are getting them. Too many game hogs. They won’t let bucks grow up.
Good: Not seeing does like in years past. Took two bucks, but no does. I think the limit should be seven; two bucks and five does.
Fair: DNR needs to inform residents, media, local governments/police that hunting is a good thing and hunters are not to be feared.
Gilmer Co. E-1, F-6, P-6
Excellent: I am 41 years old and have hunted in Gilmer County 97 percent of my life. I hunt very little in the Southern Zone. This season I hunted nearly every weekend. I saw seven bucks, five does and I killed two bucks. I don’t shoot does because of the population we have in the Northern Zone. We just don’t have as many deer up here as they do in the Southern Zone. So, this is my opinion on the deer situation. I think there should be a three-doe limit, lower the doe days to be hunted and also make the entire state a trophy state. There should be a point minimum and a spread minimum of both bucks. I hunt mostly for meat, but I like to see and kill big bucks.
Fair: I do agree that high or increasing yote populations are continuing to hurt the state’s deer population, and more concerted efforts must be undertaken both by the state and private individuals and clubs to decrease their numbers. This MUST be done consistently to knock back the yote populations, as well as the state SHOULD reduce the total deer limits allowed per hunter to help offset this condition.
Fair: Regardless of what management plan is implemented, don’t wait 10 years to see whether it worked. Take a look after two years, adjust as needed.
Poor: I am 45 years old and have been hunting deer for 32 years. This is the first season in 23 years that I didn’t kill a deer. The deer herd in northern Gilmer County has been devastated. About six or eight years ago, they caught blue tongue and it took a toll. This summer blue tongue surfaced again. We are over-run with coyotes. There are too many doe days up here, and the 12-deer limit is ridiculous. There are less deer now than there have ever been since I started hunting them. There’s not one deer for every 10 that there were 10 or 12 years ago. I only saw five deer the entire season. If something isn’t changed, I’m afraid there will be on deer at all in Gilmer County. In my opinion, if something isn’t done, we are rapidly headed back in that direction. I wish that folks who set the doe days and limits had to hunt up here. I bet things would change then. This year on over 500 acres of privately owned family land, which borders Rich Mountain WMA, we killed one deer.
Poor: Too many does being killed. There are too many bear and coyotes and poor management. Like the Blue Ridge WMA where I hunt, there are no deer, nothing but bear. Work on the food plots for the turkey and deer. Since 2002 the deer have been going down. I feel like the either-sex days had a lot to do with that, plus the coyotes and bear. Now Cooper’s Creek is a different story. They have plenty of deer and good food plots.
Glascock Co. G-2, P-1
Poor: Have two teenagers and can’t get them to hunt because of the lack of deer. After mid November, they had all but quit going because of this.
Glynn Co. P-2
Poor: Hunting was very poor and has been for the last 10 or more years. I am not seeing yotes or bobcats but do feel they could be a part of the problem. We need lower limits, limited dog hunting days, physical tagging of deer and spot-check points on roads in and out of hunting areas. I have hunted in Georgia for 17 years have never seen a game warden, and I do a lot of hunting. Help get the deer population better in Georgia.
Poor: Eliminate dog hunting on WMAs for deer. Too many deer harvested on Paulks Pasture WMA. Need federal money to help DNR rangers enforce hunting regulations such as on buck-only hunts. Lots of does are taken; lack of rangers on WMAs to enforce.
Gordon Co. G-2, F-10, P-9
Fair: Too many yotes and hogs. Does should have a size limit similar to bears. This will save a lot of button bucks from being mistaken for does. Anyone who hasn’t made this make hasn’t hunted very much or is just a liar.
Fair: Deer limit of five: two bucks, 4-points or better on one side; three does and no little does. A lot of button heads get killed for does.
Fair: I am starting to worry about the deer herd in northern Georgia. Just around where I live, I have seen a big decline in the deer herd. The limit is too high and too many doe days. If we as hunters don’t do something, they are going to see a lot less deer in the coming years due to overkill and yotes. We need to do something now before the deer disappear. I hope people can see what is happening and realize this is a privilege to hunt, not a shooting game.
Poor: I am 31 years old and have been hunting since I was about 9 years old, and this past season was the worst season I have ever had. Not just because of reduced sightings, but reduced harvest and reduced deer sign in general. I believe if we reduce the bag limit back to five deer and keep doe days the same in each county, this would help increase population as well as leaving people with the freedom of shooting a doe when they want. I also believe that legalizing baiting in northern Georgia would give the hunters in the Northern Zone the same opportunity as the Southern Zone. My belief is that it should be across the board or not at all.
Grady Co. F-3, P-2
Fair: I saw one deer the entire season. I hunted a private farm. I can’t believe how few deer I have seen over past three to four seasons. My 12-year-old son has lost interest.
Fair: When people think predator management, they don’t need to just think coyotes. They need to think about bobcats as well. Studies done by Dr. Bob Warren and his graduate students have shown bobcats can have a significant impact on fawn recruitment rates.
Poor: I shot no deer this year.
Greene Co. E-3, G-5, F-6, P-14
Excellent: Antler restrictions for Greene please!
Excellent: I felt like it was a good season. Although I only took one doe, I did see around 30 to 35 deer this season. That’s not bad in my book for only hunting around 180 acres.
Excellent: I hunted Greene County only and harvested two Pope & Young bucks and enough does for the freezer and donations to the needy. I saw deer almost every time out, sometimes 15 or more. I am retired, so I hunted 60+ days bowhunting only. I do have a unique situation as I have 140 acres of my own with over 800 acres adjacent to me where no hunting is allowed. I don’t feel that we need as many either-sex days, and reducing the limit might help bring the population back in other areas. QDM has definitely helped quality of deer in the area. Yotes are not much of a problem here as I trap and hunt them year-round.
Good: Coyote trapping on WMAs needed! Trapping is now unlawful on WMAs, this needs to be changed.
Good: Hunt 1,200 acres; we have a three-doe limit and bucks with 13-inch inside spread and least 4-points on a side. Club killed seven bucks, of which three were killed by a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old. Kids have open season on any bucks. Club harvested six antlerless (three buttons). Our goal is to kill equal doe-to-buck ratio, per DNR biologist recommendations. Our neighboring club killed only does, 11 at last count. WMA next to us killed any that are brown.
Fair: Hunt 930-acre tract at Penfield. We have been on this lease since 1974. We have seen many changes since then. We have a rule, if you shoot a buck, you must mount it or pay a fine! Children 16 and under can shoot any buck. Their second buck must be mounted. Our kids and account for 50 percent of our yearly kill. We have a yote problem, but buck quality has greatly improved. Yes, fewer doe days please!
Fair: Fewer doe days, and 4-points on one side rule for both bucks.
Fair: The season and regs on deer are great for where we are now. It gives hunters the flexibility to manage their own way. It is up to the individual hunter to know when a property has had enough deer taken off of it. At our club we did not take the number of does the biologist had suggested but came closer than we would have if there were doe days. The coyotes are a problem. We killed seven between opening of rifle to Thanksgiving. I also support the antler restrictions and would support more.
Fair: Too few deer. We need to revert back to the regs of 10 years ago. Much more enjoyable then. Also, not everyone is a trophy hunter. People should be allowed to take any size buck they want.
Fair: I think perhaps our biggest problem this year was coyotes. There was always fresh coyote sign just about everywhere on our property.
Poor: My lease is surrounded by several other hunting leases. We try to “manage” a small parcel of 180 acres, which is sort of pointless. Nevertheless, we try to instill ethics and common sense into the young hunters in our group. Early in the season, we encountered a great number of deer, mostly young bucks and a few older does, and two shooter bucks which walked. Beginning early to mid-November, the woods fell silent, and we saw nothing but turkey for about a month, followed by occasional yearlings later in the season. What happened? I’m not smart enough to know. I do know that many in our area reported similar results. I also know that the surrounding leases have reputations of having a “brown and down” mentality. I’m not about to tell another hunter that he/she can’t harvest what is needed, but in my opinion heavy pressure (and kills) early sort of stalled our season to the point where my fellow camp member recorded eight hunts in a row without seeing a deer—this has never happened to us before.
Poor: Very, very poor. Saw four deer all season. Everybody else complaining. Been hunting 42 years—worst season ever.
Poor: QDM sux. Everyone wants to be a game antler god? Hunting has gone downhill so fast the past 10 years. About ready to quit and start back fishing in the mountains. Big clubs and rules will be downfall of hunting in Georgia. No fun anymore?
Poor: Saw two deer!
Poor: Another terrible, terrible year of deer hunting. If the DNR doesn’t reduce the number of deer you can harvest and reduce either-sex days, there will be no need in going. We can play golf.
Poor: Saw very few deer; killed one coyote. Saw lots of sign of coyotes. The one we killed had mange. State needs to do something about them. Also, hunters need to stop killing every deer with hair on it.
Poor: There are far too many gun-hunting days in the season. Limit gun hunting to no more than four weeks (or even less) and bowhunting only after that. We have started implementing QDM practices via guidance from QDMA.com and Growingdeer.tv. Although we have not seen changes yet (primarily because we had a timber cut and spray to kill undergrowth), we fully expect a significant improvement in the coming years. I believe coyotes are a significant issue affecting the deer population, and the ill effects of a high coyote population will continue to expand. Possibly a bounty on coyotes? Even $10/head would get some hunters/trappers out there. Hunting lease prices go up = more hunters in the club to keep the price down = more hunters per acre that think they should be able to take a few deer = more deer killed per acre, and probably a higher percentage of does killed = more does killed = deer population goes down. If, as a group of hunters over a large area, we don’t commit to managing the herd and how many does should be taken we’re doomed to poor hunting.
Gwinnett Co. G-2, F-1, P-3
Fair: I’ve hunted my property for seven seasons now. When I first started, there were lots of deer, fox, bobcat and rabbits. About three or four seasons back, I started seeing coyotes. They have become more numerous, and this year I saw more of them than the deer and others. I can only conclude that the yotes are the problem.
Poor: Legalize sound-supressors for deer rifles! It’s crazy we can’t even hunt anymore without complaints of gun shots.
Habersham Co. P-6
Poor: Stop doe days in the mountains!
Poor: I think the doe limit should be two as with bucks. Two is plenty. No one needs more than four deer.
Poor: I hunted more this season than I ever have and saw fewer deer. I put in some long hours on stand and saw few deer. None that I cared to take. In 54 years hunting, I have never failed to take a decent buck. I never saw a shooter this year. I am an experienced hunter, and I know too many does are being shot, and coyotes are eating the rest. Our county needs no does days and one-buck limit, and DNR needs to pay bounties on coyotes. Without these measures, we will have no deer to hunt.
Poor: I like more deer for the kids.
Hall Co. E-5, G-5, F-2, P-3
Excellent: I saw lots of deer; bucks and does. I took two bucks and two does. I could have shot more. Had an excellent year.
Excellent: I believe the deer limits we have now are good. In my opinion, the gun season should be limited to a few weeks a year. With today’s guns, deer can be harvested hundreds of yards away. I do believe that yotes have some impact in certain parts of the state, but a lot of it has to do with itchy trigger fingers. I bowhunt the entire season, and there might be a few days out of the season I do not see deer. I believe deer sightings/population and quality of deer would increase if the majority of the season was archery only.
Good: Saw more deer earlier in season, as usual in most years. Later on I think I saw the same small herd over and over. Took a 3-pointer and a nice doe. With the legal limit increase and the coyote problem, I think the legal limit on deer harvested per person should be back to no more than two bucks and one doe to reestablish our Georgia deer population!
Good: I am blessed to be surrounded by family and their land, approximately 150 to 200 acres that we all have access to. We are also bordered by several thousand acres of hunting club. We manage our properties with food plots and the like for the hopes of a great season. Four of us had a pretty good year with three 6-pointers, and one 4. Since we feed and watch all year long, we really see what’s going on. We actually name the does and their fawns. It’s amazing who never shows up after the season is over. You can harvest either-sex every day of firearms season in Hall County. Our family didn’t take any does, but our poachers took many, as well as those on the hunting club next door. We would see three to four does and watch them until they left only to hear shots a few hundred yards after they crossed those imaginary property lines. I used to have to keep my gardens fenced off to keep deer out of them. I have watched as many as four bucks playing and sparring out of the windows of my home. Now between the bag limits, doe days and the plentiful coyotes, I never see a deer around. I have apple trees that shed and the apples rotted on the ground. I haven’t had a deer in my garden for about three or four years now. I have a cousin with several hundred acres leased from the same owners of the hunting club that raise cattle on it, and he told me that they would go into the barn at night to get hay, and there would be coyotes that would stand over in the corner while they got their hay and left. I know especially in this economy people need meat in the freezer as do I. I could have shot more this year, but I only took the one. I have a family of four, and we’ll make do. I don’t need four or eight or 12, and I don’t think many other families do either. As a true sportsman, I would like to see more emphasis on coyote control, less bag limits, and specifically in Hall County fewer doe days. There aren’t enough bucks around for everyone, so quite a few doe days are probably necessary. It might be spread out over the season or maybe the last two to three weeks after the rut. One last thing about the coyotes. It’s not just fawns but what they also do to our turkey population by devouring eggs and little ones.
Good: Took a very nice 8-point, seven does and a hog from four different properties.
Fair: Bring back the Christmas Break! It’s a guaranteed way to lower deer harvest. It gives the deer population a break and lets the small-game hunters in the deer woods to have some fun. The only real way to stop people form killing as many deer is to get them out of the woods. People know it’s next to impossible for law enforcement to enforce the current “honor system” license. If a person wants to shoot a doe outside of a doe day, they know they can do it with ease, and odds are they will never get caught.
Fair: Harvested one 8-point and three does; saw five.
Poor: There should be a limit of five does and two bucks per hunter per season, and both bucks should have at least 4-points on one side or a 15-inch spread. The regulations should be equal across the state for baiting and hunting time. There should be a smaller gun-season window and a longer bow-season window.
Poor: My season was very poor. I saw only a doe and a doe and her yearlings the whole deer season. Saw no bucks at all. I decided not to harvest a doe because of the low deer numbers. Between the 10-doe limit and coyotes, the deer population has dwindled down to nearly nothing in my area.
Hancock Co. E-1, G-14, F-11, P-27
Good: No change in the number of doe days, but change the limit. As for the number of deer, I will leave that up to the pros. They have done a good job so far. I had a good year; saw plenty of deer, harvested a doe, but didn’t see a buck that I wanted to shoot.
Good: Exceptionally good so far as seeing deer. The only problem was that despite being in a mature QDM county, I only saw one legal buck. Did see lots of spikes early in the season, but December produced only does, albeit lots of them. I believe the bucks are there, and in a different year we will see plenty of them again. I personally don’t see the huge decline in deer population that people are talking about.
Good: Bring back December Break in northern season. No baiting in Northern Zone.
Fair: Low mature-buck numbers. Increase in nocturnal activity.
Fair: Hancock as a quality county appears to be working well for hunters in adjoining Taliaferro County, but they are shooting all young bucks we attempt to let walk with four on one side. We hunt northeast Hancock within 1/2 mile of Taliaferro County. We ran four trail cameras year round: fawn drops noted three to four-month interval (RUT?). Yet not seeing new 6-month-old fawns through season. Lots of yotes on trail cameras, so they are definitely on deer trails and travel corridors. I feel QDM is great program but spotty with select counties throughout state. Not the answer unless one’s lease or owned property is located in center of said county.
Fair: I think QDM for Hancock County was put in place to lure hunters for the few extra-large landowners for weekend or day hunts that they charge extremely high fees. The average landowner did not get to vote on the QDM at all.
Poor: Baiting will help. Food plots work, but some of us don’t use them because of renting land.
Poor: Not long ago in Hancock County, a man drove by a dumpster and said he saw at least 40 coyotes. This place was near our hunting camp. We no longer see or have any young deer on the 195 acres we lease.
Poor: Hunting is about gone in Hancock because of the yotes. They have killed most fawns, rabbits and quail. In my neighborhood there used to be lots of cats; now none.
Poor: No does.
Poor: We saw less deer this season. We did see a lot of yearling does or buttons. Fewer small bucks; average for shooter bucks. With five hunters, we took two medium does and one 15-inch 8-point. That’s all! We never knew when the rut came and went. We hunt 300+ acres.
Poor: Low number of deer seen. Deer turn nocturnal too early due to heavy hunting pressure and gun shots.
Poor: Our hunting was very poor, very few deer seen. Think it’s because of too many either-sex days and total limit is too high. Quality management is not working in Hancock because we see very few small bucks. Think some hunters shoot anything.
Poor: Why should bowhunters have a month head start on gun hunters? They could have already spooked a lot of areas where the gun hunter hunts; result seeing less deer.
Poor: We saw virtually no mature does. We saw a good number of yearlings and young bucks, but no mature bucks. This is the third season in a row that I have not killed a buck. Wish bow season ran the month of October, rifle season the month of November and muzzleloader in December. Also would like to see statewide 8-point minimum except for kids under 16.
Poor: I sincerely hope that sometime in the near future Georgia’s DNR finds some sanity and returns to using doe days and five-deer limit, so we will have some deer in the woods again. The current limit of 12 is killing the hunting in our area of Hancock County.
Poor: Bad due to yotes and deer limit; QDM not helping.
Poor: The problem this year was coyotes in the spring killing off the fawns, and the deer limit is way too high. Some hunters have killed the limit, and they shoot at the first deer that walks by no matter the size. The deer population is very low for Hancock County.
Poor: Our season was very poor. We hunt a 520-acre tract; 120 acres is swamp, and we plant approximately 50 acres in food plots. Our swamp was dry this year. Contributing factors for very few deer seen, even though food plots were thick and lush, were drought, acorns and coyotes. We average 15 deer per season, four bucks and 11 does. This year produced one buck and four does. Very few deer even came to food plots. Two of our deer were harvested during archery season. I think baiting should be allowed in the Northern Zone. We never approach as 12-deer limit. If we want young hunters to keep the tradition of hunting, they really need to see deer.
Poor: This was perhaps the most dismal deer season in my 47 years of deer hunting. I, along with my wife and son, hunt a small tract (52 acres) in Hancock County we bought in 1999. Our trail cameras tell the story, as we are seeing lots of small bucks, a few of which are 7- to 9-pointers, and very few does. We believe the doe harvest should be cut drastically. We can usually count on taking one or two a year, and we are very conservative-minded. This year, my son was the only one to harvest a deer, a 4x2 buck that was a cull deer. We did not see any does the last seven weeks of deer season. I saw two good bucks but couldn’t get a clear shot, so passed for a better chance later on. It didn’t happen. We only had one picture of a yote, and two of bobcats, so we don’t suspect predators. I believe there is too much pressure on the does since Hancock went QDM.
Haralson Co. G-5, F-3, P-9
Good: I hunted more than I have in past years, that may be why. I’m taking my 9-year-old grandson deer hunting now, and some my 5-year-old grandson. I just want there to be some deer to hunt when they get holder.
Good: Deer sign, deer seen, yearlings seen consistent last seven years.
Fair: The property we own has been in our family since 1967. I have never seen the doe population this low. We need two years of no doe harvest and then reevaluate after that. DNR’s 10-year planning period is way too long. As we have seen, the deer population can change significantly in a short period of time.
Poor: Due to coyotes and hunters not seeing many deer, I think it should be back how it used to be—only a few either-sex days a season. It would help bring back deer numbers.
Poor: I am not an expert in the management of deer population, but I can say that I saw half as many deer this year than in previous years. I am an avid hunter and have probably sat between 25 to 35 times this season and saw a total of four deer, one of which I harvested. I have seen a lot of coyote sign on our property and saw two from the stand this season. Good luck with the management plan, and thank you for all the hard work you do to ensure a good balance of our states resources.
Poor: Hunt 500 acres, been killing deer on it for 42 years. Deer hunting has been set back 40 years. Saw about a dozen deer this year compared to 100 10 years ago. Ain’t seen a turkey track in two years. Tell the insurance companies and yotes they’ve won. Hunted every weekend and one week vacation.
Poor: I feel like there are some serious issues associated with Georgia deer hunting, coyotes included. Coyotes are also becoming more and more of a problem in every part of the state. The answer? Obviously, declare war on the yotes. Although we can never get the population as low as it needs to be, more aggressive hunting on all deer hunters parts would put a substantial dent in the right direction. The future of Georgia deer hunting could be bright, especially with the advancements in agricultural nutrition that deer greatly benefit from. Hunters need to band together to promote deer quality and population, and then many more of these ballots will roll in marked “ good” or even “excellent.”
Harris Co. G-4, F-2, P-5
Good: Nobody needs to shoot 12 deer. I at least want to see deer when I go hunting.
Good: On the private land and clubs I manage, we want the flexibility to shoot does on the days we desire, but the overall doe harvest must be reduced because fawn recruitment is way down due to increase in coyotes kills.
Good: Smarter doe and buck harvest needs to take place on properties where coyotes are holding deer population down.
Fair: I killed one doe and one of my sons killed a doe. I saw a few small bucks and one small legal buck, but the number of does we are seeing has dwindled down here the last five years. We are seeing far fewer deer on our 1,000-acre lease. QDM is working for the bucks, but total deer numbers are down. We are in the process of trying to lower the number of deer we harvest off our property on our own!
Fair: Coyotes impacting deer herds on some properties. QDM is always a plus, but the state of Georgia should go to a tag system, would help restrict amount of deer killed.
Poor: I manage land in Troup and Harris counties. This is the worst year we have seen in the last 10 years. Georgia has a problem with its deer herd.
Poor: I have been a deer hunter for 25 years in Georgia and have witnessed a steady decline in the deer population. I would suggest the following changes in the deer-hunting regulations: County-by-county estimation of the herd resulting in two or two either-sex weekends in most counties in the northern and middle parts of the state. Change the limit to one buck and two does per season. Minimum 4-point on a side statewide on the bucks. While it probably could not be funded, a small bounty on coyotes would probably be good for the deer herd.
Poor: We have been hunting our family farm since 1983. If the rate we are not seeing deer now continues like the last five years, we will not hunt the property anymore. My father has even talked about selling the property and buying land in another state. We have not shot a doe in five years, and the numbers keep dropping. We even reduced the number of food plots from 15 to two big 3-acre fields, so we could see how many deer we have on our property. Many weekends go by, and we see nothing. In the early 90s, some of these same plots would have 15 to 20 come out every afternoon. Coyotes and hunters are both to blame. We found a 2 1/2-year-old 9-point barley alive in our creek with both hams eaten out by yotes. We are trapping and shooting all we see but hear yotes every night. All doe days should be stopped until the numbers come back. If not Georgia will loose a valuable resource and money from hunters. Please help.
Poor: I’ve hunted the same land for 30 years. It sure has changed. It went from a few deer to over-populated in the 80s and 90s. We tried to kill two does to every buck. We started management before Harris went QDM. Deer were everywhere? Now for the last five years we quit killing does, and it doesn’t seem to even help! We are seeing less and less deer every year. Coyote predation is a problem. The re-population is just not happening. We have fewer deer each year. We’re looking for new land, but most land is just like ours—been over-hunted and has coyote problem. I don’t know what the answer is! But we need to do something to bring back the deer population! Please help!!! Killed two bucks last five years on 400 acres. Miss the good ’ol days.
Hart Co. G-2, F-1
Good: In the early season the hunting wasn’t all that great but just before Thanksgiving and up until the end of the season the hunting was extremely good. I filled seven of 12 tags. My family and friends loved hunting this year and they were able to harvest their first deer. That did me more good than killing a B&C buck. I enjoy seeing the younger generation starting to get interested in the outdoors.
Good: I hunt private farm properties. I shoot two to three deer per year for my own grillin/chilli eating. I had very fun year due to highly preserved/protected hunting areas! Either-sex days need to remain as set for 2012 for several years to build up decimated populations! Deer limit definitely should be reduce to six or seven only due to non-reported high harvesting of does!
Fair: Too many coyotes killing baby deer. Need something done to reduce number of coyotes.
Heard Co. F-5, P-14
Poor: The doe population has been decimated by overharvest and coyotes.
Poor: We have a coyote problem. We are killing less does by choice. More deer seen this year; 30 club members, eight does killed, nine bucks killed.
Poor: Deer numbers too low due to yotes, also deer limits are too high. The bad limit should be two does plus one buck mature buck.
Poor: Only saw one deer and one coyote on our hunting club. We have 1,150 acres, and we started seven seasons ago for the buck of any size to have three points or better on a side. That’s helped. We have one or two nice bucks taken each season. This season we started limiting one doe per hunter. I didn’t see any change in the number of deer killed.
Poor: Worst year in 43 years. Have 1,227-acre lease, 13 members. Do not shoot does or small bucks (maybe one or two a year for all members total). I hunted 25 days on lease; saw six does and one buck first day hunted (let walk). Saw no more deer until Dec. 31 (saw five does, let walk). West Point WMA just as bad. Eight days hunted, six does seen, all doing 60 mph. Coyotes, hot, full moon, acorns abundant, limit too high, either-sex days excessive.
Poor: Not enough deer seen. It is getting very hard to keep children interested. Seeing deer and killing one per year will keep the hunters and kids happy and the sport healthy (kid recruitment). Two major contributors—coyotes and QDM. The situation with coyotes is obvious. The situation with QDM is an example of everyone doing an excellent job of educating hunters, but the message was wrong. All we’ve heard for the last 20 years is kill does, kill more does, hurry up, you’re not killing enough does. OK, now we don’t have enough does to handle the exploding coyotes population—the ’ol downward spiral. Change our focus. Manage deer numbers with adult doe harvest. Manage buck quality with buck harvest.
Poor: I’m a big outdoorsman. I have hunted and fished all my life. I’ve camped and hiked all over the southeast. I’m 50 years old, and I started bowhunting when I was about 18. I hunted a lot of the WMAs. West Point was the closest and my favorite. What happened at West Point is very similar to what happened at my hunting club in Heard County. I’ve been hunting this club about 10 years. When I joined this club and began to go scout and hunt, I saw deer every time I was in the woods, either going in, or in the stand, or leaving the woods. It was like clockwork while in the stand. I saw deer 90 percent of the time, up to 15 deer on a four-hour sit was often! Each year I’ve seen fewer and fewer deer. Talking to other members in our club, the story is the same. Some members have been in this club longer than me. It’s a mystery, what happened to all the deer?
Henry Co. F-6, P-7
Fair: Hunted 27 times, saw a total of 36 deer. Saw plenty of bucks, very few does. Coyotes do some damage. Deer limit too high. Lots of squirrels and turkeys fighting for same food due to hunters hunting them anymore.
Fair: Too much food.
Poor: A lot of people bait and still don’t kill many deer. They are seeking big bucks, not does. A large problem is many hunters don’t hunt around Thanksgiving and Christmas. They lose about a month of the season. Everyone has time to hunt after the first of the year, but the season is over. Deer are everywhere and hunters are at home. I think we need to extend the season. Bow season is too hot and too many bugs. We need some rescheduling of seasons.
Houston Co. E-1, G-1, F-5, P-1
Excellent: I saw several deer. In fact, there were so many in the area that our 1/2-acre turnip crop was totally depleted in a week. There were also six does hit by cars in a two-week period within 1/2 mile of my house. I killed zero, shot at zero, I am looking for SUPER BUCK.
Good: I had a good deer season; however, the number of deer I have seen the last two years is down. I hunt several tracts with food plots, supplemental feeding, control burning and QDM practices. On many occasions this year I saw no deer—rare for me over the past 15 years. I strongly believe that predators (coyotes) and many hunters feeling the need to fill their tags and freezers in these difficult economic times has dramatically reduced our deer population.
Fair: Three deer harvested for the year. Two major concerns with this property are coyotes and hogs.
Fair: Did not see much of a rut this season. Not seeing the does that I normally see. For the past three or four years have only seen young bucks. Would like to see the deer limit reduced to three or four deer.
Poor: People think they have to shoot their limit, given it is 12 does they shoot everything! Then the yotes take the fawns of the few does that make it.
Irwin Co. E-1, G-1, F-5, P-3
Excellent: I saw more deer this year than last year.
Fair: I have seen an increase in coyote sightings and a decrease in the number of deer over the last four years.
Fair: I think we don’t have the number of deer we used to have. I believe it’s due to the limit and yotes.
‘Fair: I believe a bounty placed on yotes would go a long way to cause citizens to try to kill yotes. I believe this would be fun, especially to younger hunters and would greatly reduce the yote problem.
Poor: Surrounding landowners don’t practice QDM!
Jackson Co. F-4, P-6
Fair: It seems to me our deer herd, as a whole, is lacking more so in overall balance rather than population. With a few specific areas excluded, the doe/buck ratio in our state remains less then ideal to say the least. I believe it is a result of an overwhelming number of hunters who consider themselves “trophy hunters” and in turn are not harvested the necessary quotas of the less-than-wallhanger portion of the population. They like having the option to harvest a doe but are rarely taking advantage because the one may have been right behind her. I think the sooner we as hunters can get away from the trophy-hunter mentality and start thinking more along the lines of what’s best for the health and strength of the overall herd, the sooner we will begin to see more consistent and plentiful seasons throughout the state. Extended archery or primitive-weapon season for doe harvest only; doe harvest to obtain second buck tag; or three-plus doe harvest earns third buck tag; open archery month early for doe harvest only?
Fair: Have hunted private tract for 24 years. Used to see lots of deer during each sitting, but during the last eight to 10 years lucky to see one or two deer during each sitting. Only saw approximately six does during entire season. I spent lots of hours on stands. Need to lower number of does that can be harvested. Also saw and killed several coyotes on land.
Poor: I have had three bad years in a row. I think it’s a combination of low deer herds from coyotes and being over hunted, with the warm weather not helping, too. I would like to see the whole state under quality-buck rules to stop the over-killing of younger bucks, so hunters would have more chances at a trophy buck.
Poor: I have hunted in Jackson County for 20 years. The deer herd has gone down here bad. We don’t need 12 doe tags every year. But the one buck any size and one 4-points on one side is fine. I do like being able to shoot a doe any time. With all that said, the coyotes have hurt the deer here more than anything. I hunt a 120-acre tract and we never shoot more than two does off the property a year. And our deer herd has still gone down every year for the last 12 years. I think we should go back to three does and two bucks a year. But let the hunter pick when he or she wants to take their does. I wish there was a good fix for getting rid of the coyotes altogether.
Jasper Co. E-1, G-1, F-13, P-16
Excellent: Killed three mature does and one pig.
Good: I harvested three deer and saw nine different ones from the stands. I believe deer predation (coyotes, bobcats, wild dogs and poaching) is a bigger problem than most people realize, and unless something is done regarding the coyote problems there will continue to be a reduction in our deer population. It was not uncommon for me to hear two different packs of coyotes on any given night.
Fair: I feel QDM is helping our club and numerous others where practiced. There still prevails high levels of poaching across the state by its hunters licensed or not, and also many hunters that only have a goal of stocking their freezers with the current 12-deer limit per hunter, as opposed to those individuals or clubs such as ours that are more interested in improving the heard via QDM and self regulate lower total allowed limits for this same goal. While self-regulated lower limits by clubs is hugely beneficial, those same goals often can be erased due to rampant poaching which is not patrolled or effectively managed due to insufficient state funding for enough DNR officers to make a difference. There lies another issue which always needs addressing! Funding for DNR officers.
Fair: Our club joins a farm on one side and B.F. Grant on the other. Had very good deer five years ago. One made cover with “80-year-old hunter” pic of member and deer. Began to see evidence of road hunting, and Jasper County sheriff caught person and fined him. This year witnessed same person stop truck and shoot at deer. When we talked with him, he responded “trying to run deer back you.” Notified game warden and sheriff again. I really think what we see only the tip of the iceberg. Nothing has been done!
Poor: Probably the last year I spend money to hunt Georgia.
Poor: The season for deer hunting for gun season would start Nov. 1 through Dec. 1, then a break for three weeks, then a bonus week.
Poor: If there was a lower option, I would have chosen that one. We hunt a lease and are almost doe-less. I did see a doe being chased this year, but it was not by a buck! It was coyotes. The deer was a medium-sized doe. I guess they have to try to take down bigger game now? First few years we hunted this property we never saw a coyote. Now it is common place to see them.
Poor: When I started hunting this property, I saw deer all the time, and this season it dropped to about half the amount of deer I was seeing.
Poor: Twenty-two coyotes were removed alive five years ago by a trapper. Yotes have been seen on trail cams many times at day and night. Bad problem!
Poor: There are two reasons I think our deer herd is in the shape it’s in—QDM and the recession. I know more people are hunting public lands and killing more deer. My property is surrounded by Oconee NF and Piedmont. I see the traffic, and I hear the shots. Trophy hunting has preached killing does. Always seemed crazy to me. Reading what some of GON’s Hunting Advisors say about increased antler regulations. I don’t try to force my belief about what to shoot on them. They shouldn’t try to use government to force their’s on me. I personally disagree with trophy hunting and antler restrictions. They are harmful to hunting in my opinion. My family hunts for meat. We don’t like shooting does because they provide next year’s deer. People tell me to shoot does. The problem with that, besides my disagreement with shooting them, is there are not any does. My work carries me all over the state. I leave very early and come home late. I do not see deer on the roads like I did a few years ago.
Poor: We believe we have a pretty bad coyotes problem on our 600-acre lease between Gray and Piedmont NWR. Our deer sightings are way down.
Poor: Terrible deer season! Hunted four days a week from gun season opened until Thanksgiving. No deer and heard no shooting.
Jeff Davis Co. G-2, F-1
Jefferson Co. E-1, G-1, F-4, P-1
Good: Since we started the baiting law, I’ve been seeing a lot more deer, and my deer herd is a lot more healthy. The does and fawns are noticeably fatter, which will carry them through the winter. I hunted one day the week of Christmas for two hours and saw 13 deer. Never happened before the baiting law was passed.
Fair: I wish we had a call-in system for deer and turkey like other states, and we could get people minus children to only kill mature bucks.
Jenkins Co. F-3, P-2
Fair: We are just not seeing near as many deer as we used to. We own a small piece of land. Don’t know if it is the high deer limit or what. We haven’t seen any coyotes in a few years. We don’t bait and don’t agree with baiting. Maybe deer are being baiting around us and are not having to move a lot and possible becoming nocturnal.
Poor: Hunted 23 days and saw 14 deer from the stand. Harvested one buck (4x4). Have not seen coyote sign, but number of deer are down. Club members agree.
Johnson Co. F-1, P-2
Poor: Did not see deer, very few. Did not kill a deer of either sex. I think doe harvest needs to be reduced. I also think yotes have a big impact on deer population.
Jones Co. E-1, G-3, F-3, P-11
Good: I believe our deer population has been effected by predators more than the hunter. The coyote need to have a bounty put on them to lower their numbers. I think hunters in our area where I hunt only average two to three deer a year, if that many.
Good: I, along with many of our hunt-club members, feel either-sex days and doe limits should definitely be reduced. Our season was very good. The success was due to our club electing to kill no does during the entire 2011 season. This was based on recommendations from a game biologist after reviewing our harvest records and surveying the property. While our club has a two-doe limit, there were still in the neighborhood of 30 does harvested this season. There are mixed ideas among members as to the kind of season we can expect in 2013. Most feel we over-harvested does this season as deer sightings became almost non-existent during the final month.
Good: Shot a 134 7/8-inch 9-point opening weekend QDM is definitely working. We follow a 6-point rule for one of our bucks. Nothing smaller than an 8-point killed this year. Deer numbers are good. Saw two yotes all year.
Fair: Definitely think the bag limit should be reduced by half or more, and either-sex days should be greatly reduced. It should be brought to every hunter’s attention that is irresponsible to let a coyote walk past his or her stand without shooting it. Coyote number must be reduced.
Fair: Either-sex days should be cut back to six per season. Hunting was poor. Did not see near as many deer. Do not see at nighttime along roads like before. Everybody I talked to saying same thing. We do not have the number of deer that they think we have.
Poor: Hunted Piedmont NWR; saw three yotes, no deer. You can’t shoot yotes on Piedmont NWR. Why?
Poor: Bad due to excessive hunting from three large hunting clubs bordering my property. Each club has about 800 acres or more, but all three hunt within 80 yards of my property. I have lots of hardwoods with acorns. Deer get shot coming to or leaving my property. The club members shoot any deer that they see. I have yotes and bobcats, but that is not the problem. Over-hunting is. I only have 100 acres.
Poor: Deer limit is too high and too many does are being killed. There are too few deer in the woods. The deer limit per hunter needs to be lowered and we need to reduce the number of does being taken.
Poor: Harvested zero, saw three.
Poor: Poor year for harvest. Coyote problems in the Piedmont region. Saw probably 30 to 40 on our club. Food sources abundant, little movement from bedding to feeding areas. Weather patterns unseasonably warm. Rutting observed from Oct. 1-Nov. 25 (very widespread).
Poor: This past season was by far the poorest I have seen in years. Six of us hunt 230 acres. There were way too many trips that NO deer were seen. I saw FIVE deer all season—two does and three small bucks. My adult so saw NONE in three weekends of deer hunting. There were hunts that I did not hear a single shot from the area surrounding our land. Three club members live in Jones County. From their talks with other hunters, we were not the only ones experiencing a bad season. Coyotes are an issue, but deer limits are, I think, the main problem. The more does killed by hunters, the greater the impact of deer killed by coyotes.
Poor: I see less deer. More doe days and excess doe bag limits do not make more or larger bucks. The past years of at least four points on a side of one of your two bucks you’re allowed to harvest does! Decrease doe bag limits.
Poor: When will Georgia allow corn feeding statewide? I vote yes.
Lamar Co. E-1, G-2, F-1, P-2
Good: I am a member of a hunting club in Lamar County. We have 700 acres with 20 members. Members shoot anything that moves. After the second week of gun season, you are hard pressed to see a deer. The reason my season was good is because my wife and I were able to purchase 97 acres of land in Upson County. We put in several food plots and kept pressure down, which enabled to us to see a lot of deer and harvest a few.
Poor: Deer slaughter, not conservation like it should be. The DNR is either uninformed or not telling the truth. I think a lot of both. First of all they are telling every Georgia hunter that there is over a million head of deer in our state. That is not true. They said the same thing in the 70s and 80s, and there was back then. When you went hunting you always saw lots of deer along the roadside and in the woods. Now you don’t. I have hunted all my life and I am 70 years old. I hunt a lot, and I saw two deer this season. Pathetic. Yes, I let them walk. I killed no deer, and I hunted hard. I killed two deer last year and I shouldn’t have. Everyday doe day for the last 10 years has slaughtered our deer herd. Thanks DNR for your great management of our deer herd. You should be put in the “Hall of Shame” as I stated last year GON. You did nothing with my letter last year and will probably do nothing with this one either. I am just a concerned deer hunter. Maybe GON should be put in the “Hall of Shame” alongside of the DNR now that our deer herd is GONE.
Poor: Bad due to the deer limits and due to yotes.
Laurens Co. G-2, F-5, P-4
Good: Only because of the lack of doe and buck sightings. Last year we didn’t kill anything. This year, I got two nice 8-points. Wife got a really nice 8-point entered in Week 11.
Fair: Coyotes, hogs and wild dogs are all playing a role in the deer-herd reduction. Season limit should be drastically reduced.
Fair: Let’s be real. In all rural counties, local residents take wild game of all kind year-round. The lax of real supervision of what is being killed (this so-called “log” of “deer killed” is a joke) allows unethical hunters to run wild. I didn’t kill a deer this season, not because I did not see any. I didn’t get the shot I require. Didn’t see abundance of deer after the rut, but had 150-acre tract adjoining my 130 acres clearcut, so the pattern changed.
Poor: The tract we manage is family owned, and there has always been plenty of deer. We harvest around five to seven deer a year. This is mainly does with the exception of a good quality buck each year. This year our hunting has been non-productive. We have seen very few deer and hardly any good bucks. We couldn’t understand what had happened to our deer population. On a visit to the local hangout where most in this rural area come to eat breakfast and lunch, we found our answer. One farmer was bragging they had killed 74 deer with a night-vision scope. This he said was with the blessing of DNR to “do what you have to do” to protect your crops. We also discovered two other adjoining tracts have DNR permits and had killed 25 to 30 deer on each tract. One of the tracts they were continuing to hunt at night during deer season.
Poor: Because of the way people do us in Laurens County. They rent out to Florida people because they seem to always have more money. Keep the Florida people from winding up with all the property. Cut out buck hunting for five to 10 years due to the way people hunt for trophies instead of meat. We have an overabundance of does. Extend doe days to about the first week of February. Open state land year-round.
Poor: Our season was terrible; haven’t seen a deer since late October! NO ONE needs to kill 12 deer. Our deer numbers have decreased drastically over the past 10 years. The main reasons I think for the lower numbers is because of hunting clubs shooting anything that walks by. We also have no game management personnel in the area during hunting season. On a number of occasions this past year I could hear rifle shots all night long from poachers. We also have area farmers that get permits to shoot deer during the summer, but they shoot deer year-round! This past year alone one particular farmer boasted about killing over 80 deer with a illegal .204 cal. rifle.
Poor: We experienced less deer population due to less habitat as a result of less agricultural crops and increased logging of hardwood and all timber. Where farming is in existence, farmers are over-harvesting deer through permits even after they expire. Some even boast about the over-harvesting.
Lee Co. F-2, P-1
Poor: Deer and yotes combined. Too many younger people killing anything that walks out in front of them.
Liberty Co. F-1
Fair: Deer not here like they used to be. We have a different kind of coyotes called Florida hunters.
Lincoln Co. G-1, F-3, P-1
Fair: I have a hunter in my club who killed six does in one day! Why!! I have hunters that shoot does, and if they can’t find the doe in 10 to 15 minutes, they just give up and saw, ‘I can kill another one tomorrow.’ This is very common. As far as coyotes, we see and hear them all the time. We kill a few. Our cameras see them in late spring with dead fawns. What can be done to reduce their numbers?
Lowndes Co. E-1, F-1, P-2
Excellent: Worst year last year, but year ever this due to retirement. Plenty of time in the woods. Lots of bucks; good number of does. Small amount of fawns due to yotes. Please reduce number of does to be taken.
Lumpkin Co. F-4, P-1
Fair: Too much baiting; not enough DNR rangers to enforce regs. Hunting from roads day and night.
Fair: This season was fair but trending toward poor. We must get the coyote population under control. I have seen more coyotes this year than any year prior, and I have been hunting Georgia for 20 years! We need to work with DNR and come up with a viable trapping solution and set a target reduction of the coyote population by at least 15 percent! If we don’t do this, and do change our hunter limits, all we will do is increase the coyote population.
Poor: I give this year a very poor rating. I hunted hard all through bow season and rifle season and did not see a deer until Black Friday. We hunt 1,500 acres around Little Mountain. I killed one doe around 85 pounds the Sunday after Thanksgiving. My buddy and his son didn’t even kill one this season. This season by far was one of my worst. We have a huge coyote problem on our land. You can’t walked down any of our roads without seeing tons of tracks and scat. We tried trapping them last year but only got two. If we don’t eliminate the coyote problem, then deer numbers will continue to decline.
Fair: I think a landowner with over 500 acres should be able to manage their own deer harvest based on their own herd population.
Macon Co. E-2, G-4, F-4, P-7
Excellent: Best deer season in a long time. At our family farm, I killed biggest buck ever—9-pointer, 284 pounds on Oct. 17 with a muzzleloader. Have taken six does so far. Altogether we have taken three bucks and 11 does on our farm. The deer have been very fat.
Excellent: Got a nice buck. Saw a good number of bucks. Let a number of bucks over the 15-inch limit walk. Saw less does; could have harvested them but let them walk. I think the doe days and limit should change to three does per season. Bucks should stay the same.
Good: Like the QDM, but less doe days.
Good: I don’t think either-sex days are a big issue, but I support a lower deer limit for no other reason it makes hunters look less greedy. I’m sure there are a few hunters who shoot 12 deer every year and that’s fine by me, but it’s certainly not the norm. Hunters could use all the positive publicity we can get. I’m fine with two bucks and three does per year per hunter. We had a pretty good year seeing deer. Plenty of bucks, but not as many big ones. More poor racks this year. We didn’t shoot as many, but we let more walk or shot at and missed more—so it evened at.
Good: Plenty of bucks and no does.
Fair: I can only rate my past five deer seasons in Macon, Schley and Oconee as fair to good. I have definitely not seen the number of deer that I used to see in these locations, and I have been hunting all three locations for 20 years or more. The coyotes are definitely a problem everywhere I hunt and even behind my house in Loganville. I see the evidence every summer of fawns in coyote scat everywhere I hunt. In Macon County where I mainly hunt, I think QDM has increased the age structure and size of the bucks that I do see; however, I do not see the numbers of deer that I used to see. We are big proponents of food plots and supplemental feeding and cameras, and yet we have noticed a considerable drop in deer sightings over the past five years. I would like to see the deer harvest numbers lowered significantly and address the coyote problem in Georgia ASAP.
Poor: Saw fewer deer than I’ve seen in years.
Poor: I am a non-resident hunter who hunts a small lease. I have hunted in Macon County for about 10 years and have only shot one buck (16 1/2-inch spread 8-pointer with a broken brow tine). I and the other two club members often discuss not seeing as many deer as just a few years ago. Personally, I have never needed to harvest more than three does, more often I will get only two. This year, none! I hunted mostly during November and passed up the does waiting for a big buck that never showed up during daylight. I had about five opportunities for shots at does in about 18 days of hunting. I did shoot two hogs. We are infested with feral hogs and can’t shoot them as fast as they breed. We hear coyotes almost every morning and night. I shot a female that attacked my turkey decoy this past spring and shot another female on Dec. 28 that was coming in to my fawn bleat. I am returning after deer season to call in some yotes and thin out the hogs. We have definitely seen a drop in numbers of deer seen from stands and on trail cameras. Georgia must maintain a healthy deer herd. It is the reason I pay almost $300 for a non-resident license and leave another $1,500 in the local Macon County economy.
Poor: Doe to the amount of does killed by hunters, coyotes, bobcats and road kill. I feel it’s extremely important to reduce the amount of does killed in the state or at least some counties.
Poor: The locals do most of the shooting. Two years ago a farmer told me by the end of November he and his family had killed 20 deer—16 does and four spikes. This may help the insurance companies but does nothing for the sportsmen. No family needs 20 deer. It should be only three deer per person.
Poor: Very few does. A lot of young bucks 6- and 8-points, but barely legal. We have several bucks that need to be eliminated due to messed-up racks or one-sided racks. We have several pictures of them over the past several years.
Poor: Too many deer are being killed. Four deer is enough for anybody. Our neighbor and the yotes are killing too many.
Madison Co. G-1, F-2, P-7
Good: There are a lot of yotes where I hunt, but this was also the best year I’ve had. That’s not saying much because I’ve only been hunting for four years. I’m self-taught, but I feel I’m doing pretty good. I only have place to hunt now, and I can only bowhunt there. I killed three this year, two bucks and one doe, but only one the last two years.
Fair: If they don’t reduced either-sex days and reduce limit, deer will be gone. Last five years we haven’t shot a doe; still seeing few does and bucks on around 325 acres. Yotes eating deer is not helping. We want deer feeding in the north just like the south has now.
Poor: My season was poor due to large pockets of coyotes in certain areas. I heard or saw them almost every time I hunted this year. I also think poaching is a big problem due to the economy, because a lot of people are not buying a permit to hunt. The QDM I think may have sounded like a good idea when it was first introduced, but in the long run it has taken many does and has reduced the numbers greatly. With all the issues of deer limits and coyotes and some people taking more than their share of deer. I work for the Athens-Clarke County government. I know alone in Athens-Clarke County over 70 deer were hit by cars in just the month of November. This doesn’t help the issues for our deer limits. The droughts have added to the problem.
Poor: I am sorry to say this past hunting season for deer has gotten even worse than previous three years. I have been hunting the Georgia woods since 1967. Deer hunting has always been my passion other than my wife. I no longer prepare for the season as I did 10 years ago. I will make one comment. Get rid of the coyotes. They no longer eat small animals. Venison is on their menu now!
Poor: Not seeing a lot of deer. Seeing a lot of yotes. QDM is helping with seeing some good bucks.
Poor: Can not prove, but I think coyotes are killing too many newborn and young deer. Also, too many either-sex days and too high season limit.
McDuffie Co. E-2, G-1, F-3, P-3
Fair: I would like to see the first couple of weeks be buck-only, then doe thereafter. Also would like only eight deer per season, two bucks and six does. Eight is enough! Yes, coyotes definitely a problem. We have a three-doe limit on our lease for about eight years now and still seeing a decline in numbers. QDM helping in buck aspect of seeing better bucks but have been doing that now for 18 years.
Poor: In January 1951, I saw the first 28 deer released on Clark Hill WMA. If we don’t do something to reduce predators and over-shooting, I will see the last 28 leave in the next 10 years.
McIntosh Co. P-3
Poor: Feel long season tampers with does that are bred. Hunting has been less successful over the past two years. Few coyotes, if any; 12-deer limit is excessive.
Meriwether Co. E-2, G-7, F-13, P-12
Excellent: QDM is helping in Meriwether. Took two quality 8-pointers. But we are not seeing as many deer as in years past. I would like to see antler restrictions as in Dooly County.
Excellent: QDM helping? Yes! All counties in Georgia should have QDM regulations or antler restrictions. Deer limit is good. Tag system needed. Helps restrict amount of deer harvested and generate revenue for the state. Need predator control across the state along with more fawning cover put in place.
Good: I think everything should stay like it is. I saw deer every weekend from bow season until gun season was over. I hunt on the Strickland Farm. Their QDM program is unbelievable. The bucks have to be at least 3 1/2 years old. Never been in a situation where you’re told what to shoot. The buck I got on camera was at least 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 years old, big 9-pointer. Saw three times during bow season, never gave me a shot. I guess that’s why they call it hunting.
Good: Our small club hunts during archery and general gun seasons and are seasoned hunters. Our 2012 season was better than average, however, not the best year we ever had, we feel due to the weird weather. We are seeing our normal amount of does and yearling bucks, but did not see or get on camera any 2 1/2-year-old and older mature bucks. Though we are not seeing a decrease in does and fawns, we are seeing more coyotes on the cameras and are hearing more in the early evening hours and at night. We feel that the 10-doe limit is excessive at least for Meriwether and Troup counties. We practice QDM, and we think our surrounding land leasers also practice QDM. We shoot very few does and only legal bucks. QDM has helped our area as best we can tell over the years as we have seen and taken several bucks over 125 size. A large area near our lease was clearcut during the summer of 2012 and could be part of the problem. Overall, we are very happy with the results of our property. On a side note, we saw more turkeys this fall than ever before, but very few were gobblers. Very encouraging for the spring turkey season.
Good: We have self-imposed doe limits which have helped re-build our doe population over the last several years.
Fair: There certainly are not as many deer as there used to be. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it is depressing to sit on a very good food plot for four hours and not see a deer. I did that on several occasions this past season. We had a few nice bucks taken considering the fact the rut was mostly non-existent.
Fair: Not seeing the quality of deer we used to see.
Fair: Some sort of a check system should be established where deer would be checked in at a convenient location like a hardware store, sporting goods store or convenience stores. I have hunted our lease for 22 years and each year we see fewer fawns. At the rate the deer herd is decreasing, in a few years there will be very few deer left to hunt. For the past four years we have killed no does and average two mature bucks per season. We are trying to manage our deer, but with coyotes out of control, it is very difficult. We need fewer doe days. The DNR needs to take a hard look at this.
Poor: I bought my tract of land in 1992. Deer were everywhere, now they’re gone. When the limit went up and every day was a doe day, it sounded like a war zone for several years. I started seeing less tracks and trails, and now they’re gone. Believe it or not, there were more yotes back then. I guess they more with the herd. People come up with a lot of reasons for not seeing deer, but the truth is they have not grown wings yet. Simple—no track, no deer. Ride the dirt roads in north Meriwether and tell me what you see. I’m 61, been hunting deer since 1964; taxidermist for 12 year; killed my share of big bucks. Having to hunt Macon County now to have a good success. Thinking about selling cabin and land in Meriwether County.
Poor: I have been deer hunting since 1970 and have seen the deer population decrease in the last 10 years.
Poor: Sell doe tags as needed. Limit doe days to pre-rut and post-rut only. Statewide feeding a must! Encourage more co-op club participation.
Miller Co. G-2
Fair: For south Georgia, we think the season opens too soon. It’s too hot. If bow season could open Oct. 1 and muzzleloader the last week of October, it would be better for both hunters and the deer herd. We’d like to see regular gun season open Nov. 1 and go through entire month of January. The rut for our area of the state is usually the second to third week of December, with the secondary rut one month later. Also, we think too many does have been taken with the 10-doe limit. No one needs that many deer, and it has a negative effect on the doe herd, making them more nocturnal. I’m 76 years old, farmed for 50 years. No longer row crop, but still look after two herds of cattle. Love to fish and hunt, still climb trees and spend about 30 days in the woods deer hunting. We own about 600 acres. Took two deer to eat this year, one 8-point and one 10-point.
Mitchell Co. G-1, F-3
Fair: We have seen a steady decline in deer numbers over the past several years. We try our best to manage the land we hunt, but some of the people joining our land do not. It is very frustrating to let small bucks and does walk only to hear the gunshots across the fence taking them out.
Monroe Co. E-1, G-1, F-8, P-7
Fair: Lived in Monroe County 35 years, own my own far. Deer are not here like they used to be. Do not have an answer. I protect them and look after them like children, has not helped my numbers one bit. Saw 14 bucks, 18 does all year. Didn’t kill one.
Fair: Saw a lot of does and a good many bucks but let them walk. Really never knew when th rut came in. Saw more signs very late in the season than I did early.
Fair: Food plots had no water (drought). Bad experience—shot two does on Dec. 31 and both had two babies inside, so that was six deer that I killed. Does ought not be shot after Dec. 1.
Poor: We see no deer.
Poor: This was, by far, the worst season that we have had in my 11 years on our 815-acre property. We are a QDM-oriented club; we only harvest quality bucks (with the exception of a child’s first buck of choice), and does over 100 pounds. We plant food plots in the summer/early fall that last into the summer, supplemental feed during the off-season (January to August), and provide mineral blocks during the off-season. We traditionally have harvested four to six really good quality bucks a year. Last year, we harvested one, and this year we harvested none. While we had a few sightings of quality bucks, the count was less than half the norm. Overall deer harvest was less than half, and the scariest fact was the young deer sightings were down about 70 percent. Meanwhile, the coyote population is up significantly. You can’t camp out at night without hearing them, and they are seen about once a week or so by a member from a member from a deer stand. All of this is to say it appears evident that some immediate measures should be taken to enhance the deer population in our area.
Poor: It’s just not right for Southern Zone to get more hunting time than the Northern Zone for the same amount of money for license.
Poor: Moon phase, warm weather, and poor rut.
Montgomery Co. F-1, P-3
Poor: Did not see many deer. All I have seen is young does; no bucks. I feel that QDM is not working in Montgomery County. In blackpowder, I got one doe. I feel many hunters are not following the rules. Have seen too many spikes left near hunting clubs where only part of the meat is gone.
Morgan Co. E-3, G-7, F-11, P-6
Excellent: We trophy manage a fairly large block of land in northern Morgan County and bowhunt bucks and use our rifles late season to manage does. We supplemental feed and plant high-quality annuals and perennials. We use minerals as well, one lick per 100 acres roughly. Our habitat is nicely mixed with hardwoods, fields, pine plantations and cutovers. Our game-changer was hiring “Mr. Coyote” last winter and involving adjoining landowners in the trapping process. He removed several in a block of about 3,000 acres. We saw more deer than ever, more fawns than ever and turkey as well! We are doing it again this winter. The state needs to include predator management in its next plan. We are fortunate to be able to afford to do it ourselves. Many others can’t. I would be in favor of more stringent requirements on the buck harvest, higher minimums, as well.
Good: There were good food sources, acorns and plots. We did notice on several farms less mature does in our herds, possible disease in Georgia herd. We trap coyotes each year to reduce fawn kills.
Good: Had a good year hunting. Shot one 8-point buck and one 9-point buck and a doe. One of the mornings I counted 14 does/buttons... not the same deer. I had shot two female coyotes last December, and I hope it helped slow the killing of the fawns... didn’t see a lot of yearlings last year. I still would like to be able to bait deer with corn/etc., as south Georgia does. That’s just my opinion. We only kill what we will eat, and bucks that we plan to mount.
Fair: I killed one 8-point and saw two small bucks. I didn’t shoot any does because of the amount of deer we were seeing. I believe we have too many coyotes. Too many deer limit, and as far as QDM, I believe the hunters can decide whether to kill all their bucks or let them walk!
Fair: The only way to lower doe harvest is to cut either-sex days. Do the math. If we had a three-doe limit and every hunter killed three does a year, our population would be decimated. No one wants to impact their own hunting, but if you want to actually help the deer herd, you have to cut those doe days.
Fair: No mature bucks or does. Lots of yearlings and 1 1/2-year-old does and bucks.
Fair: No deer harvested, but population looked good. QDM club with minimal hunting pressure for the year.
Fair: Did not see any small does. Saw 10 to 12 bucks with smaller racks. Killed one 8-point, but did not see big 8-point I have on camera. Seems that I see less does as years go by. There are lots of yotes out there. I have my predator call, and I am putting up a higher ladder stand and I will be hunting yotes.
Poor: Our club only shot two does and two bucks this year, and we saw very few deer at all and also had much fewer pictures on our trail cams compared with most recent years by. I contribute part of this to the QDM initiative that the two adjoining clubs put into place three years ago. They killed 55, 42 and 26 does from the adjoining properties dating back three years when they started the program. Also, we are seeing very few yearlings and fawns and rarely see twins in our cam pictures, and this was not the case three years ago. I think QDM and coyotes have played a great part in this decline in our deer population.
Poor: You can limit the number from 12 down to two bucks and five does. The Northern Zone should have as much rights as the Southern Zone to bait and hunt longer. QDM is not really helping, since you can only kill a certain size of antlered deer.
Poor: This has been the worst season in a long time, and I have been hunting for over 30 years.
Murray Co. F-4, P-6
Poor: Not many deer left in mountains. Too many coyotes. Cohutta WMA should be closed and repopulated with deer. We should look at other states like Kentucky; maybe less gun season and more bow/muzzleloader seasons.
Poor: We have 325 acres leased, a lot of it is cutover. We planted food plots in it, and right before deer season they came in and sprayed 100 acres of it, killing all the growth that was in there. We could not get anyone to talk to us about who we should contact to see why this was done right before deer season. I hunted all year and saw one spike and let it walk. We have nine members, and there were only four deer killed off the 325 acres.
Poor: Too many poachers. They are very brave, no respect. Couldn’t hunt for chasing them, then toward the end of the season, they brought the beagles in and were hunting on the line. Bullpen Hunting Club would like to recognize our game warden Casey Jones. He helps all he can, but with three counties he goes above and beyond his duties.
Newton Co. G-3, F-3, P-6
Good: Newton has a little problem with yotes, but mostly there was a bunch of food on the ground and deer were hard to pattern.
Good: Went hunting 19 times, saw deer—bucks and does—over half the time along with turkey and other wildlife. At my age (73), I am just grateful to be able to go and see things I do. Oh yea, I did manage to kill a nice 8-pointer. Loading him up was an event in itself.
Poor: We have 400+ acres in the south end of Newton County that borders the South River. This was the worst year we have had in eight years plus. We only killed two deer with six members plus four or five teens. The acorn crop was huge, so they did not have move very far to find food. Our property has eight or 10 food plots 1/2 acre to 1 1/2 acres each, which the Army worms cleaned us out and had to replant, which was expensive. The shooters were not seen, and we hunted long and hard. In my opinion, we are losing a huge amount of our herd to coyotes and wild hogs eating their food supply. We did not kill a single buck much less a 130-plus, which is our target size. Last year was not much better. We have a lot of turkeys during deer season, 18 to 20 in a flock; then most of them disappear in turkey season or the coyotes eat them. Maybe next year will be better; however, I think we are going in the wrong direction.
Oconee Co. G-1, F-5, P-3
Fair: Although I did kill three deer this season, I did so at the start of the season. I saw only one other deer while hunting, which is unusual. These woods were devoid of any deer at all during daylight hours. I even tried hunting during the mid-day but to no avail. There just weren’t any deer to be seen. I did some walking around throughout the year and found several kill sites were young deer had been eaten. Coyotes are a big problem for baby deer and for that matter adult deer. This coupled with the very liberal bag limits of 12 deer per hunter I feel is having a tremendous impact on the total deer population in the state.
Poor: The club behind my land stole my ground blind. They put stands 100 yards apart all the way down the fence line 3 feet from the fence and shoot everything.
Poor: In my area it is not over-kill of the does that have caused the numbers problem, it’s coyotes. This year I have seen five coyotes and shot three. I saw five bucks and shot one, and by the way, I only saw 15 does this year and shot none this year or last year. I am retired and hunt around 25 to 30 hours a week. It’s not like I’m not hunting. I am. I like the convenience of being able to shoot a doe all season, but the legal limit needs to be lowered.
Oglethorpe Co. E-1, G-5, F-15, P-15
Excellent: Passed up many bucks that I worked to see grow and filled the freezer with does. Coyote problem? Research has shown some areas of Georgia have a problem. We do not. Instead of putting a band-aid on the problem by shooting fewer does, we take case of the problem by hunting coyotes with mouth calls as soon as deer season ends. Our problems are usually for the most part dead by the fawn-drop time.
Good: See if someone can’t convince the brain-damaged, slightly mentally challenged idiots with the GA DNR to quit playing favorites and treat the entire state the same. Northern Zone should be allowed to hunt deer over bait, as the Southern Zone can legally do.
Good: Hunt 55-acre hardwood tract surrounded by 1,700 acres of 20-year-old planted pines. Saw and killed three yotes. Only saw five does after opening day. We hunted every day. Buck numbers and quality excellent. Doe sightings down drastically. Does without yearlings up.
Good: This season was the first time I have been hunting in really about eight years since I moved out of glorious Athens. I logged A LOT of hours in the woods this year. Back when I lived in Athens and hunted, the does were abundant. I still think there are a lot of deer in the woods, but I do feel like the numbers have decreased a decent amount. I do think a new management program is needed, but also think the weather/rut/full moon had a huge effect. The Oglethorpe rut came really early... basically right after the first week of the season. After that the full moon came and warm weather stayed, so it really gave the deer no reason to move during the day. We are a 300-acre club with seven members. We harvested a 6, 7, 8 and two does off the land this year. Mostly we like to be out there and hunt for the bucks and just a bit of meat. Early season was crazy in the woods, but after that completely dead. I did notice a decent amount of younger deer (bit older than fawns) this season, so that is a good sign. I just hope they can survive. We do have a good bit of coyotes out there, and I hope to rid the land of some of them soon.
Fair: I have to agree with Keith Ingram, the Oglethorpe Hunt Advisor. It’s tough out there. Saw a lot of coyotes and got lucky and killed one. If there are no does, it won’t be long before there aren’t any bucks. Our limit needs to be two bucks and two does and go back to tags.
Fair: Why not model after Kentucky, which seems to have a more successful program than Georgia?
Fair: Number of deer is definitely down. Coyotes are a problem. QDM has increased number of older bucks but has reduced deer population by increasing doe harvest. Also, decreasing emphasis on small bucks has made deer hunting less attractive to young hunters. Too much focus on fines and penalties.
Fair: My season was fair to poor due to 100-plus acres on one end of property was being clearcut during prime time of rut. Opposite end was clearcut about one year ago, and in early September it was sprayed with helicopter to kill everything. Nothing for deer to eat. Day before Thanksgiving it was burnt off and pines were planted in December. We also have a lot of coyotes.
Fair: Deer sightings and harvest has dropped. Coyote sightings are up.
Fair: Very few deer sightings this year, which continues a trend our club has seen for five years now. Our clubs have instituted our own limits (two does and two bucks with 4 points to a side) per membership, and it has not helped over that time. We assume due to unlimited harvests of does by our neighbors and the influence of coyotes. My 12-year-old son did harvest a nice 8-point buck on our Oglethorpe land, so that raised the value, otherwise it was a wash.
Poor: No deer lift. Too many frickin’ doe days and 12 deer per person is crazy too many.
Poor: I’ve hunted 40 years, and this is the worst season I have ever had. Killed one doe and didn’t see any mature bucks.
Poor: Our QDM lease consist of roughly 2,000 acres with 19 members. The harvest as well as deer sightings were down in 2012. General consensus of the members blame the unusually warm fall and predation. Coyote sign and sightings indicate a large population, which we intend to begin hunting and trapping shortly. The membership usually average two deer per season per hunter, so season limit does not seem to be a problem. I have been in leases in the past with the “if it’s brown it’s down” mentality which could benefit from reducing the season limits. Changing the number of either-sex days could make it difficult for some hunters who have limited days to hunt to harvest a doe. This could potentially further erode the hunter population. My two dollars and seven cents worth which will get you a cup of Starbucks.
Poor: I don’t rate my season poor, I rate it as horrific. It was without a doubt the worst I have experienced in over 40 years of hunting. I think a number of things contributed to this, but I think there are three major reasons: liberal bag limits, coyotes and baiting.
Poor: Very poor. Between the over-killing of does by hunters, you have the yotes killing the fawns and young deer. The deer are not able to rebound in our area. We don’t have near the deer we had. Put a bounty on the yotes like they have in some states, and it would control the yote population.
Poor: Too many yotes. Saw one buttonhead, no other small deer.
Poor: Too much pressure on does.
Poor: No deer. Too many yotes.
Paulding Co. G-1, F-1, P-5
Good: Surprisingly, I didn’t take a single deer with my bow, as I didn’t have any does or quality bucks comes within 35 yards. I let seven deer walk, but all were either small bucks and one doe with late-drop fawns still wearing spots. However, I took three does with my muzzleloader. I also got two does on the Paulding Forest WMA hunt. Five deer is plenty to get my family through the year without having to buy beef. I saw no coyotes this year, but saw no quality bucks either. Lots of small bucks... future looks good.
Fair: We saw some deer early, but they were not as numerous as last year or the year before that. The coyote problem has gotten a little more serious, and we do not have QDM in our county. We have 10 hunters that are spread out over 1,500 acres, but with everyone, including myself, killing small bucks each year, we rarely see trophies. I will shoot small bucks because I know that if I pass on them, then the others in my club will get them, unless it is during the last week of the season or something. I also hunted in Rabun County and Hancock County this year, with varying success.
Poor: Deer herd decimated by too many either-sex days.
Poor: Coyotes killing fawns. I saw the least amount of fawns ever. Too many does being killed. Less does and less fawn survival means less deer population. Been hunting since 1956, and 2012 was the worst deer season since we used to have three-day hunts. Help.
Poor: This season I spent more time hunting than I ever have. I am retired. I put game cameras out in four locations over food plots. Every location had pictures of coyotes, as many as three in one photo. I also had photos of two bobcats in one picture. I hunt 60 acres of land, with four good food plots. This season I saw two does with a fawn by their side at the same time. This is the first year in a long time I did not kill a deer. I would not shoot the does because of the photos of so many coyotes.
Peach Co. F-2, P-2
Fair: Coyotes are definitely a concern. Lack of wardens and their workload makes it difficult to enforce deer limits.
Poor: I blame my poor season on several different reasons, which I will list in my opinion from greatest to least: coyotes, too many doe days, too many deer-harvest tags, poaching and high-fencing. More than 5,000 acres of the Flint River has been high-fenced. I have been cut off completely from a public natural resource.
Pickens Co. G-1, F-3, P-5
Good: I rated my season as good because I hunted several WMA check-in hunt which provided a good opportunity to hunt unpressured deer. My lease in Pickens was fair. I do like WMA check-in because of the good opportunity they present to hunt “fresh ground.” The deer numbers are still down on those areas, but at least they aren’t pressured.
Poor: This next year has to be a better year as far as deer seasons go; this past season was ridiculous. I saw five deer total; one doe, one yearling, one spike which I harvested and two bucks being chased by three dogs. They were moving so fast I could not get a safe shot. We should reduce the limit of 12 back to the way it use to be of only three total. No one person needs more than that. I think we could leave the number of days alone.
Poor: Coyotes, poaching and EHD made it the worst season ever.
Pierce Co. F-1, P-3
Poor: Worst season in over 15 years. Reduce state limit to two bucks and four does. With the high limit and farmer with permits, the number of deer is dropping. Need a system to report all deer by hunters and farmers. I do not disagree with permits—are the numbers reported?
Pike Co. F-5, P-7
Excellent: My land (66 acres) had more acorns this year than I’ve seen in the last 10 years. I hunt on the edge of my horse pasture. The only thing I noticed this year was the hogs moved onto my land, and the deer changed their patterns. I think the true test is to see how many people turn in their harvest numbers in the next month. I bowhunt only, and this year I could have easily harvested the 12 allotted. I was thinking the numbers were down until the last evening and 10 mature does came into the food plot, before the sows arrived with the pigs and cleared everything out.
Fair: Saw fewer deer overall. Four hunters on 450 acres. Fewer does and fewer bucks than the last two years, hard to figure out why. Lower the doe days for sure and the limit also. Protect the younger bucks somehow.
Fair: The hunting is bad where I live due to neighbors killing all and any deer they can. Three people with legal licenses can shoot 36 deer (they have plenty of tags) if they want. That is pretty much the whole herd on the 100 acres on which I live.
Fair: We have had our lease for three years and this is the worst we have ever seen it! We saw coyotes just about every time we went in the woods during bow season, and often they were out of range to shoot. When firearms season rolled around, we heard coyotes just about every time we went in the woods, but they seemed to have wised up and were not coming out in shooting light. I am certain we lost a lot of our fawns, in fact I never even saw a fawn the whole deer season, and our doe population was way down.
Polk Co. E-1, F-3, P-7
Excellent: I plant peas and corn for them and other animals. Me and my son and grandsons reaped two good 8-points, one good 10-point and two small does this season; more than enough meat and some to give away to those that want it.
Poor: We are losing our young hunters due to the fact that when they go, they don’t see any deer, so they lose interest in hunting. Due to the low population of deer, I think they should reduce the either-sex days down.
Poor: I realize at one time we had too many deer, and the state created these current rules to combat the problem. Apparently they had no faith in their solution because they didn’t come up with a plan once the goals were reached. Now we have gone the other way.
Poor: I have been deer hunting since the late 60s. There were few deer back then. Killed my first deer in ’71. Since then I have killed my share. But when they started every day doe days, starting the second year of that, I saw less and less deer. Coyotes are killing more baby deer than people think. I know first hand. Then hunters are shooting does down by big numbers. If I keep seeing less and less deer, I am going to quit. I could go on and on about deer being slaughtered, but I will stop writing for now.
Poor: Coyotes, 12-deer limit, depredation permits and poachers have decimated the deer herd in many areas of this state. The 12-deer limit is actually a farce since it is possible to print as many “harvest records” as you want. That makes it to be an unlimited buck and doe harvest record. We desperately need to go back to deer tags. They weren’t perfect, but they were superior to what we now have. Anyone who gets a depredation permit should be required to recover each and every deer killed to be processed and delivered to a food bank or needy family. Instead the deer are usually gut shot so they will die somewhere other than where they were shot. They should also be required to allow hunting on the affected property. We need to get today’s youth interested in hunting, but sitting for hours or even days without even seeing a deer doesn’t make for a very exciting time for a kid. On our Polk County lease, seven members killed two deer. On our Heard County lease, 20 members killed three deer. Definitely a poor deer season for our two Georgia hunting clubs.
Pulaski Co. F-3, P-1
Putnam Co. E-3, G-2, F-7, P-10
Excellent: My best season ever with plenty of deer sightings! Killed four deer and filled buck tags by Nov. 3. Went squirrel and rabbit hunting.
Excellent: Reduce deer limit to five. Statewide, both bucks 4-points on a side. Reduce doe days—does killed only in December. Find a way to get rid of coyotes.
Good: Killed a nice 8-pointer and two does. I did see less deer this season than I ever have. Been hunting in Piedmont counties every year since I was 13, and I am 45. Lots of coyotes, and I know the drought does not help. However, had a good season and invited a friend who has never killed a deer, and he got two does! PS... your rut map was on the money—Nov. 8-10 was good!
Good: QDM on our private club is absolutely improving fawn mortality, weight of deer and antler size of bucks. However, we are not seeing the numbers of deer as seen in the past. “Past” is referring to 15 to 20 years ago. I believe our club has increased the number of deer seen during the past three to five years due to the above mentioned QDM practices. I do not know if the apparent 20-year decline in deer numbers is the result of the increase of yearly limit or increase of coyote population.
Fair: Lot of yotes.
Fair: Doe numbers way down. Big bucks are great, but clubs are wiping out does to fill freezers. Combined with coyotes, numbers are way down.
Poor: I have not figured out why yet. It could be amount of coyotes or the amount of people hunting national forests. In addition, I think camping should be limited to campgrounds only on national forest land. On more than one occasion this year I have came upon campers near where I was hunting.
Poor: Way fewer deer. Try QDM, but meat club next door shoots everything.
Poor: I attended the Walker County Civic Center meeting; 90 percent of the people were asking for help on coyotes. The game warden said they absolutely would not help the hunters.
Quitman Co. G-1, F-1
Good: We never kill many deer, mostly larger does. We never kill and have never killed the limit, but we don’t see as many deer at a sitting as we used to; two to three at a time if we’re lucky. I think deer limit is too high, maybe change to two bucks and five does.
Rabun Co. G-1, P-9
Poor: No deer sightings. No sign to hunt. Saw coyotes more this year during turkey and deer season! Too many does being taken over the past and too big of a bag limit! We need QDM help in our county!
Poor: I think deer season in the Northern Zone lasts too long. Dog hunters do not have much opportunity in prime hunting time.
Poor: Not enough does. Too many yotes and bears. Save the doe days for the children 16 and under. We need logging on national-forest lands for fawns to survive, and it would help grouse to rebound, also.
Poor: I attended WRD Regs meeting in Rabun County. Our communication was poor due to lack of good speakers from us hunters. Almost all county hunters wanted to reduce the doe harvest. All WRD personnel are from south Georgia. But from Panther Creek south is a totally different world. Private land protects the game population and limits the hunting. Rabun County’s back-country deer are gone. What deer we have are at golf courses, highways, orchards, people’s yards and gardens. What you see from your truck seems to be OK, but it isn’t! Eighty to 90 percent of our national forest and power company land has very, very poor deer population. I propose for the mountain region: no doe days in gun season; buck-only muzzleloader season; either-sex archery season only.
Poor: I believe the population of the deer herd in the mountains is so low because of coyotes and too many does being taken out. In the mountain regions, doe days should be eliminated or at least greatly reduced. Coyotes need eliminated.
Randolph Co. E-1, F-7, P-7
Excellent: Through extensive herd management the past five years, we are experiencing the best hunting we have ever had on our properties. By herd management, I am referring to supplemental feeding, harvesting adequate amounts of does and passing on younger bucks.
Fair: Coyotes are a big problem for deer. Hogs are a big problem for the habitat. The deer limit should be no greater two bucks and two does per person per season. When the deer population gets too low, it’s hard, if not impossible, to rebuild because of the coyotes. The coyotes and hogs are impossible to eliminate. Maybe a bounty on hogs and coyotes and reducing the number of either-sex days for deer? Common sense goes a long way, and 10 to 12 does is not common sense in my opinion. There is a need, if possible, to keep open disabled and youth hunts. For the future of hunting, young people should be involved.
Fair: Lack of large bucks due to clearcutting on club.
Fair: Coyotes are a real problem. A couple of years ago I shot a doe in the early morning (7:30 a.m.). I thought I had missed and started to blood trail her at 10 a.m. She was 50 yards from the stand and completely disemboweled by the critters. We hear lots of howling and see a tremendous amount of tracks.
Fair: For what it’s worth, I have been to DNR input meeting for years. They do not listen! We need to start our deer season two weeks later and end season Jan. 31 like Alabama has done forever. They have many more deer than Georgia has.
Poor: I have a hard time finding a doe. I wish you would go back to the tag system. Two bucks and two does is all anybody needs. If the does are gone, the bucks will leave. Please drop the limit on does. It’s not the coyote hurting the deer population, it’s the hunters.
Poor: There doesn’t seem to be any game wardens here. The people just keep on killing the does with no respect for the law. It needs to be reduced to two does per man per year. I saw two does this whole season.
Richmond Co. G-1, F-2, P-1
Good: Season was good, just did not see many does or fawns. Yotes are here (shot two). Trying to thin them out.
Fair: Reporting actual deer killed would help. Go back to tagging deer and turning it in. Too many illegal bucks, not does, are killed and never reported. The population of deer, quality of deer and opportunities for success of killed deer are only as good as the hunters around you. All the either-sex days, limits, etc. are irrelevant if the hunting community isn’t accountable as a whole.
Poor: For myself and many I’ve talked to, it has been a sad year. I hunt mostly mature bucks and do take doe for meat when need. Because of the lack of deer available this year and last, I have let does walk. On Fort Gordon, as of Jan. 7 there have been 154 deer killed by over 1,000 hunters, plus about six by vehicles, bringing the total to 160 on about 43,000 acres used for hunting. Fort Gordon has lowered its doe-kill numbers for over half the property, allowing only 32 does to be taken. Last year, they implemented a 42-doe limit and only 198 total deer were taken. Before the rise of the coyote populations, in the early 1990s, we used to average 400 deer a year. Coyotes are killing off our deer population, and it’s not just fawns. This is a killing machine and taking mature bucks as well. I think October through January is buck season for coyotes. That is because of the fighting bucks do prior and during the ruts. Bucks are wounded or fatigued and become easy prey for coyotes.
Rockdale Co. E-2, P-1
Excellent: I believe our doe number overall is down. I’m not the one to say what the state number as a hole is, or should be. As a club member, I think it is up to your club to manage deer numbers and ratios. Coyotes have a major impact on deer numbers. A lot of hunters don’t spend time in the woods during summer and are not aware of how many, or how few, fawns are surviving. We are okay at our club but would like to see as many coyotes killed statewide as possible. All this being said, I’m okay the way WRD is going. I firmly believe it is up to each club to take care of their own.
Poor: Sightings way down so far; not seeing anything in three to four hunts. Two primary reasons: coyotes and too many does allowed to be taken per hunter per season. Limit two does per hunter, bucks to stay the same. As for the coyotes, I’m not sure what can be done other then extensive trapping and hunting of them year-round as we already do, but we are loosing ground faster than we gain with the coyote. We have to think of some other way to exterminate these unwanted critters.
Schley Co. E-1, G-4, F-2
Good: We had a nice crop of acorns, so we saw a lot of deer. Had a nice 12-point killed on property and several does. We let a lot of smaller bucks walk. Rut was earlier than it usually was, and after a warm spell, big bucks went nocturnal according to our trail cams. Overall a good season! Look forward to 2013!
Screven Co. E-3, G-1, P-5
Excellent: Saw plenty of deer; club took 28 total for season.
Poor: We have seen a huge decline in the deer herd in the last three years. We manage our club to mature 8-points or better. We killed two bucks and 11 does in 2012; in 2011, nine bucks five does; in 2010, five bucks and 22 does. There are way too many does being shot around our club and in the area joining our club. We didn’t see but very few small bucks this year and 70 percent less does than in past years. The coyotes are everywhere. What do you do to get rid of them? This is part of the problem.
Poor: Greedy neighbors!
Poor: Did kill one nice buck, 8-point, 5 1/2 years old, but saw fewer deer than I ever had. Coyotes terrible. Also, killing way too many deer on Tuckahoe WMA. You sensationalize this hunt because of the success rate, but it is just a slaughter of immature bucks. I challenge the GON to make a cover shot with a grown man and a 92-lb. gut shot 4-pointer. On one hunt, 89 bucks killed, 90 percent babies. Criminal. Criminal.
Seminole Co. F-1, P-1
Spalding Co. E-2, F-2, P-3
Fair: Too much talk of state coyote bounties. Hunters would pay for that and give money to the DNR who would use it to study bat caves and creek fish. Take care of yourself, and stopping expecting state to take care of it.
Stephens Co. F-2, P-3
Fair: I believe we have gotten too liberal with the season and bag limits. I have been a wildlife officer with the state for 20 years and have seen a lot of changes in the people who are using our resources and the people who are supposed to be managing and protecting them. At one time we had too many deer. That’s true now, but I think we need to be a little more conservative with our deer herd. Go back to a five-deer limit and the shorter season with the break. I haven’t seen any research done by our wildlife biologists in our region in 15 years. With the quality of habitat on public lands still declining due to lack of timber cutting and increase in predation on young fawns by coyotes and also outbreaks of EHD, the deer numbers are way down from years past. And yes, we still have the game-hog hunters who still want to kill more deer any way and any how, because we still catch a few every year who don’t want to abide by the Game & Fish laws of the state. We also need to make our Wildlife Management Areas a more special place to hunt like in days gone by. Not having so many deer hunts, and by restricting public usage when not open for hunting. Go back to physical tags, and have a phone number to call in the info like other states have.
Poor: My hunting is primarily national forest land in Stephens County. My son and I have hunted this piece of land for over 20 years and have seen the number of deer drop drastically. I don’t think we have ever taken more than three deer from here in a given season... that’s all we need. When we first started hunting here, we saw deer almost every day we were in the woods, and there were a lot of does and spikes. This year I only saw two deer, period. I saw a spike and a 2 1/2-year-old 8-pointer the same day. Neither of us saw a doe. There was almost no rut sign this year such as scrapes and rubbed trees, probably because of the lack of does. Almost no one but us hunts this property. You have to walk 1/4 mile, cross a creek and walk another mile or more to get to where we hunt. There are coyotes. I usually kill every one of them I can, but I don’t really think they are the problem. I really don’t know what the problem is. We had a bumper crop of acorns this year, both red and white oaks, and there are still acorns under the leaves.
Stewart Co. E-2, F-5 P-1
Excellent: I harvested two nice 8-points and saw lots of deer each hunt, eight to 21. I have had nine bucks in my feed plots at one time, from spikes to 8-points. Saw a lot of 15- to 16-inch bucks.
Fair: Can we meet in the middle? Reduce number we can kill, and implement a few either-sex days.
Fair: I only killed two does and two bucks. I spent a number of hours in the woods to kill them. All the deer seem to have gone nocturnal with the feeding that is legal now. I don’t think hunters are the problems. Coyotes and wild hogs are a major problem even though coyotes do help keep the hogs in check. The hogs feed at night from the hunters’ feeders and lay up all day in places where a human can not go. Imposing a bounty on the hog population might be a good idea.
Sumter Co. G-1, P-3
Poor: Yotes are devastating the fawn crop!
Poor: Too many Florida hunters killing too many deer, especially does. Limit is too high. Should have never been allowed to be so liberal. We need to go back to a two-buck limit and just a few doe days. State needs to stop cutting DNR, so we can have enough game wardens to enforce game laws.
Talbot Co. E-4, G-6, F-7, P-15
Excellent: QDM helping.
Excellent: On 656 acres with 18 members, we have taken an average of 34.4 deer over seven seasons. This is a high of 40 this year and a low of 28 in 2011 with timber thinning taking place that October. If you throw out the high of 40 and the low of 28, it is 34.6 over those five seasons. This averages to just under two deer per hunter. I read with amusement a comment from a fellow in Jones County who because he was seeing fewer deer decided to hunt less! I would only say that in my mind there is a direct correlation between time in the stand and sightings of deer! If one hunts less, they will see less! Additionally, I recall that in I think 2001 Ms. Vera at York’s Processing on Highway 36 in Barnesville was giving away a ball camp for the first 200 deer. One fellow in our group asked for a hat, and she told him she had already given away all the hats. He persisted, and she told him, “If you want a hat, you will need to become a better hunter!” I think this analogy applies to all of us!
Good: Had a good season; saw plenty of bucks and does. Would like to see limits cut back to three does and two bucks.
Fair: The deer herd is too low. We also have too many yotes. Over the last six years, each year has gotten worse. We do QDM all year long, but the numbers are not getting better. We only select hunt.
Fair: Yotes are taking large toll on deer herd. QDM is not helping; no quality bucks from Talbot County this season. Young kids taken to any QDM county cannot take a good 6-point even as a first deer—a shame.
Poor: If the legislators were removed from the process and hunters allowed to have more input with DNR, it would be better. I think the legislators pay more attention to the insurance companies about the bag limits. Responsible hunters are a better judge about the bag limits than the legislators or the insurance companies.
Poor: Did not see the number of fawns to adult does the past two years that we normally see. We feel like the 10-deer limit on does is too many. Should not be over two or three. Shorten the number of either-sex days. No one is controlling coyotes. Something has to be done. QDM is great! The quality of our deer in Talbot County has greatly increased.
Poor: Too many either-sex days; 12-deer limit way too high. QDM is working. Our club is managing our buck herd by not shooting bucks even though they are legal when they have four or more points on one side! This has allowed us to harvest several mature bucks. We only allow three either-sex deer per member. But due to clubs around us limiting out with 12 deer each has severely hurt our doe herd. With DNR cutting back game wardens, it just opens the door for the slob hunters.
Taliaferro Co. G-3, F-7, P-10
Fair: Not seeing no where near the numbers of deer we used to see. We are QDM, 10 members on 510 acres, all private land. I am controlling our coyote population, and it is working. Still not seeing a lot of deer. Several good bucks on trail cameras, mostly at night after season started. Our club rules are one buck and two does per member per year, and the buck has to be 8-points or better. We normally take two bucks per year and approximately six does per year.
Fair: The Georgia DNR claims that the deer herd is not being affected by the season limit of 12 deer because only a small percentage of hunters kill more than one or two deer a year. Isn’t this the same DNR that until recently was saying that coyotes had no effect on the deer herd? If you are hunting in an area where the credo of a “few hunters” is “if it’s brown, it’s down,” well you are very much being affected by the deer kill. If we got a two-buck, three-doe limit, and still allow doe days as it, then this will continue to allow hunters to shoot their doe when it is convenient. At the same time, it will limit those who ruin the hunting for others by shooting 12 deer.
Poor: I have hunted the past 20 years. We put a limit on our club to three does and two bucks because we have seen a decrease in our deer herd. We do have coyotes on our club, and we know that is probably part of the reason, but we think the 12-deer limit also plays a big part. That’s why we lowered our club bag limit. This past season we saw less deer. A couple of good bucks were taken, but not a lot of mature does were seen. We need these does to ensure we have a deer herd for next year. We would like to see regulations to lower doe days in this county. We have clubs all around us. Even though we lower our limit, it does not keep these hunters from shooting what we let walk.
Poor: Coyotes and wild hogs both eat baby deer. Coyotes also kill adult deer. We are seeing more coyotes and more hogs than deer.
Poor: I have been hunting Taliaferro for 23 years. When I first started, you could not turn a corner without seeing three or four deer. Now you are doing good if you see a deer in a week. I think yotes are a big problem down here along with deer limit, I-20 and poachers. I saw a deer get hung on a pasture fence and yotes cleaned it to bones. My guess was they ran that deer until he could not make that jump, and they got him. I wish the Game & Fish Commission would do something about yotes. We as a club will not let anyone shoot but three deer. If you shoot three, to shoot a fourth you have to shoot a yote first. Fifth, another yote.
Poor: Saw deer, but no bucks I wanted to shoot. Too many yotes. Didn’t see any young deer. Did not get a deer this year for freezer.
Tattnall Co. F-1, P-2
Poor: There are too many predators in Georgia and almost no control measures in place. They not only impact deer, but quail, turkeys, etc.
Taylor Co. G-1, F-7, P-5
Fair: Bought my property in 1993. Deer were numerous. Now it is rare if you see a deer at all. Clubs around kill every doe they see. I don’t hunt my property anymore. It is a waste of time!
Poor: I’m a landowner, and I’m really concerned about the number of small bucks killed—spikes, 4s, 5s and 6s. And saw no fawns this year. Meat hunters hunt land that join mine; if it’s brown it’s down. They killed a 28-lb. baby. Need to let little bucks grow up. I trophy hunt, and there’s none out there. They get mowed down in this county. I haven’t shot a buck since 2004. None seen. Yes, and coyotes all around. We need to do something in Taylor County. I wish it was like surrounding counties. I think some kill too many does. Not all or half of the deer killed are known about.
Telfair Co. G-1, F-2, P-5
Fair: DNR needs to regulate the issuing of permits. Too many people are using these to shoot deer in the spring. In my area, young people are using AR15s. On my particular 200 acres, I have seen two live deer this year and only a few on camera. If this is not regulated, the deer herd will be abolished. Mine already is.
Poor: Something has to be done to stop the slaughter of deer via agricultural permits. Indiscriminate issue of these permits and their use without control has decimated deer population in many areas of the state.
Poor: Hunted very hard all year and saw very few deer! The 12-deer limit along with the coyotes have taken a huge toll on the deer population in the two counties I hunted, which were Dodge and Telfair. I did manage to kill a few deer this year, but it was tough!
Poor: Deer numbers are indeed very low and have been for the last couple of years. Coyotes may be a contributing factor to the decrease of some of the deer population. However, we have witnessed that in our county and surrounding counties that an overflow of out-of-state hunters are the biggest factor to this decrease in our deer population. The out-of-state hunters that we have witnessed always kill their 12-deer limit regardless if it’s a fawn, doe or spike. They don’t care. They are here to kill.
Terrell Co. E-1, G-1, F-2, P-2
Fair: Yotes are killing the fawns, and hogs are taking over sources of food. Significant increase in hogs.
Poor: Reduce deer limits. Reduce out-of-state hunters’ deer limits. Hog population growing and competing with deer for food sources. Move season three weeks; start end of September and end Jan. 31.
Poor: I think two bucks and two does are enough for anyone. Hunters around me are shooting small bucks because they don’t see any does. If four deer are legal, they can easily get away with twice that many because wardens are spread so thin. I used to see 15 to 19 deer per field on a four-mile ride home from work most every day. Easily see 25 to 40 deer, and this is not even the best part of Terrell County for deer hunting. Nowadays in that same ride, I might see three deer, but usually zero. Also would like to see suppressors legal for high-power rifles for deer, coyotes and hogs.
Thomas Co. P-2
Tift Co. G-2, F-2
Good: I was sick and didn’t get to hunt much. I was in the stand less than one hour and harvested two deer.
Toombs Co. F-2, P-4
Fair: We don’t need to change either-sex days or legal bad limit. We should changed the baiting laws. Deer no longer have to move to feed.
Poor: Toombs County is pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole for buck size in Georgia. I have not seen or shot a buck in three years. The deer are not getting the allotted time to mature before they are being harvested. Farmers are getting night permits. This drastically reduces deer herd in my county. This farm would produce at least two good bucks and as many does as you wanted, but in the past two years only a handful of 4-points and 6-points have been seen with an occasional doe because of the night permits being handed out.
Towns Co. G-2, F-1, P-3
Good: Population is way down, but anytime in woods is good!
Treulten Co. G-1, F-2, P-1
Troup Co. E-1, F-4, P-6
Excellent: This season was excellent, but the three before were all poor. I quit letting people shoot does on my place the past last year, and we started seeing does, and that of course brought in bucks. I have hunted this land since I was 12, and it has never been as bad as the previous three years.
Fair: Lower the number of deer taken but keep does days as they are. Hard enough to see two or three does to take for our freezer as it is, so limiting doe days would not be good. Definitely seeing fewer deer and more coyotes, which we shoot if we can. Would also very much like to see the hunting over corn (or bait) extended to the Northern Zone. Would not change the hunters from taking their deer for the freezer and would keep people from having to worry about a game warden giving us a ticket for something that should be legal anyway.
Fair: We have 875 acres in Troup County we have managed and hunted for 18 years. There has been a dramatic drop in deer population the last two to three years. In the past 18 years we have had ups and downs in deer harvest, but numbers of deer seen had always been pretty good, but that has not been the case in recent years.
Poor: My wife and I have hunted the same property for over 25 years. In the past, she never sat in her tower without seeing deer, which is what she enjoys as much as or more than taking a deer. However, in the past two years she has gone days without seeing a single deer. We have a serious coyote problem along with a large bobcat population. However, I believe the biggest problem is the idiots next to us. They have set a goal to kill 45 does a year as part of their “deer management program.” In their eagerness to fulfill their goal, we have heard shots so late in the evening that it would be impossible to tell if you are shooting a doe, buttonhead or small spike. And I don’t feel that shooting a 40-lb. doe or any deer with spots is very good sportsmanship regardless of sex. If they continue to kill that many does, where do they think there are going to get future bucks?
Poor: I had 121 pictures on my trail cam, some really nice bucks and a lot of does. Since season opened, I have not seen one deer. I hunted every day on my own land. I don’t have a problem with yotes. My property backs up to a 500-acre tract. The owner is a making a game preserve out of it. I hear he has a lot of food plots and feeders out. That is probably why I didn’t see deer. I am 75 years old, and I have been hunting since I was 15 years old. This is the first time in my lifetime that I didn’t not see a single deer during hunting season.
Twiggs Co. G-2, F-8, P-2
Good: This year I saw more deer than I’ve seen in the past four years. The problem was they were all small yearlings. I counted over 40 deer, mostly does.
Fair: The deer seemed to be sparse this year due to coyotes.
Fair: We have 665 acres, nine members plus family and have had the same land since 1982. I have records of all the deer that have been harvested on the land by sex, number of points, live weight, where they were killed and what time of day they were killed. We also shoot every coyote we see. We are not seeing the does like we used to. We see many small bucks, most are probably 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years old. From 1994 to 2003 we averaged 22 deer a year with half being does and half being bucks. This includes two years that our deer harvest was down due to two of our member’s natural deaths during the month of November. From 2004 to 2013 we have average 14 deer a year, with more bucks taken than does. We would like to see the doe days reduced to specific days, and the antlerless deer limit reduced, as we have a long hunting season.
Poor: My season was poor, despite the fact that we are a QDM club. Can’t give you the exact number of hours hunted, but I saw fewer than 10 deer all season long. Reasons: I think our club, poachers and neighbors have harvested too many does; predation by coyotes, bear and wildcats; early season drought was tough on our food plots. My letter to GON was laughed out of the ballpark earlier, but I’d still vote for a state bounty on coyotes and a more liberal bear season in Twiggs County. Also, I realize that we have a serious problem with vehicle/deer collisions. That may have had a bearing on raising the limit to 12. It would not be surprising to learn that many of these collisions occur in urban areas where hunting is prohibited or limited to archery. Not saying that’s a fact. Just speculating.
Turner Co. E-2, F-1
Excellent: The rut was very strange this year but did see a lot of deer throughout the season and managed to take a nice buck late in December. Killed three does and one buck this year and would rank it a very good season overall.
Fair: I speak of our farm in the corner of Turner, Ben Hill and Wilcox counties. I have kept sighting records for the past four years, and based only on stand sightings, our doe-to-buck ratio is consistently under 3:1 with an upward trend over the past two years getting close to 3:1. It does not seem there has been a decline in deer numbers the past two years, which is the same time we starting noticing coyotes. No doubt, they are having an effect on recruitment rates. We have begin to get interest in the area we hunt for a cooperative and recently invited around 7,000 acres of landowners and hunting clubs that are all adjoining to a dinner at our barn. We are trying to do our part to increase the age structure of bucks and increase the overall size of the herd. As it should be obvious to the state, it is much easier to bring a population back down if it gets too high than to grow the herd with the current regulations. We don’t necessarily need QDM in Georgia. QDM practices are set up so that the buck has most of the nutrition in the woods by reducing the doe numbers to very low numbers. That works on individually managed areas where one “manager” has the say so on the number of deer to be harvested. On a statewide basis, I believe QDM leaves us where we are today, with an over-harvest due to lack of personal management from each hunter.
Union Co. G-3, F-3, P-2
Good: I think Union, Towns, Fannin and Lumpkin need to have doe days. It’s not right for Dawsonville to have doe days from the time it opens to the time it closes. I think we should be treated the same as Dawson.
Good: I hunted National Forest only, harvesting two deer and seeing a lot of other deer. Go to tag and check system to monitor harvest; leave anther restrictions alone... despite QDM claims cull bucks do exist, breed and produce more cull bucks.
Fair: We have huge areas of national-forest land with very little game on it. Years ago we had a lot of game. My belief is because they used to clearcut areas here and there. You could always find many species of game around clearcuts. I would love to see you lobby to get some selective clearcut again. With so much public land available, it’s a shame we now have so little game on it. Clearcutting helps manage the timber, wildlife and non-game species.
Poor: I think doe days and deer season as a whole are too long. I also like to hunt small game with dogs. Coon hunting is a big enjoyment for my two boys, grandson and myself, but as I have begun to notice the coons are beginning to be hard to come by. We have been seeing and hearing coyotes and noticing a lot of coyote scat with coon hair in it. There has also been a noticeable decline in the past 10 or 12 years when we would tree and see 100+ coons during the season. Now we only see around 30 or 40 coons, and for this reason we don’t shoot out all that we tree in hopes to have some for later hunts. This is the same way with most hunters in our area. So, it’s not only deer that the coyotes are hard on. It’s most all of the game, small dogs and house cats in our county the surrounding counties.
Upson Co. E-1, G-9, F-5, P-10
Excellent: Even though I am a Florida resident, I own 77 acres have been hunting Georgia for many years. I do believe that the 12-deer limit is excessive. The two-buck limit is nice, but who needs to shoot 10 does. I only shoot two deer per year. I don’t agree with limiting doe days during the season. I only get up to my property several times a year, and I enjoy that I can harvest a doe at any time. I quit hunting Florida many years ago because the state only allowed a few select days to harvest a doe. I do think there should be an antler restriction. It seems to work very well in Pennsylvania. I don’t understand why the deer season in the north end of the state ends two weeks earlier than the south end. I think that should be changed. Lastly, I believe that baiting should be legal throughout the entire state. I have very nice food plots on my property and I don’t need to bait. However, if someone has mediocre property, and they want to introduce a youngster to hunting, letting that youngster shoot a doe over bait is a good way to introduce someone to the sport. Sitting endless hours in a tree stand is fine for seasoned hunters like myself that enjoy being in the woods, however it can be a turn off to a young hunter who would get easily bored.
Good: We killed three yotes, but still way too many.
Good: For the last four years my club has gone to a one-buck limit trying to improve the quality of our bucks. We also have a 4-points on one side limit. Has not seemed to help. Last year I hunted a total of 12 days. I saw a total of one deer, which I shot no Nov. 7. End of my season. Either coyotes have taken their toll, or we have killed too many does. This season was almost like the year I started deer hunting in 1964. If you saw a doe, you were lucky, and if you saw a buck, you were very lucky.
Good: Less doe days; I think late in season. Myself and family come from Florida, 22 years in same club. We eat our meat all year long. Limit should be three does and two bucks. We trap yotes.
Good: I most certainly think that coyotes are a major contributor to problem with the deer population these days. As I sit out in the night at our hunting camp, you can constantly hear the coyotes. I can’t remember ever hearing anything like it 10 years ago, and that sound is unmistakable. As far as harvesting does, that has to remain a constant for obvious management purposes. I would love to see the day where the entire state of Georgia is quality managed. However if the whole state was quality managed, hunters should be allowed to harvest cull bucks instead of the current system that you can take a buck with 4-points on one side but have to let a long-horn spike walk that needs to be taken out of the herd. The next hurdle would be changing the 15-inch or outside the ears rule. I believe the problem with that is a 3 1/2-year-old buck with good genes will probably meet that requirement but should be allowed to walk. In short, I strongly believe that decreasing limits is not the answer, not to say I have the answer, but I would start with hunting more coyotes, managing bucks with good genes and trying to eliminate the bucks that do not meet requirements, as well as continuing to harvest the doe population.
Fair: I have lived and hunted in Georgia my entire life, 35 years. I have seen the limit go from five to 12 in my hunting career. Though the limit is very high, I have never shot more than three deer a year, usually one or two. I don’t shoot everything I see. I don’t see deer every time I hunt. I feel seeing deer is about the same as it has always been for me. I have never worried about going dry. It seems today more big bucks are being killed than when I was growing up. QDM is paying off. Everyone is talking about doe days and the limit, but not about the length of season. Why not shorten deer season, so the deer are not under pressure so long? I think we all would see more deer. One more thing... no more special rules and long seasons for the Southern Zone. Let the whole state have the same rules and dates.
Fair: My decision to rate the 2012 deer season as “fair” stems from the significantly lower number of deer I saw, despite the fact that I spent more time in the woods than in previous years. At the same time, I saw more bucks—though none were what I would term “trophy” shooter bucks which would score 125 or more on B&C. I saw over a dozen younger ones, 9-pointers and smaller, but decided to wait and see if they came back next year with larger racks. Thus, I only shot big does this year and harvested some very tasty venison in return. I also saw/heard/shot more coyotes and wild dogs than ever before. I am convinced they have had a major impact on deer populations in the past few years. Further, the ongoing drought was devastating to our food plots this Fall. I suspect it had a negative effect on the deer population over the course of the year as well. I also see no logical reason not to extend the Northern Zone dates to match those in the south. Finally, we must make a concerted effort to eradicate the coyote population. They are not indigenous to this area, and they will eventually have a devastating impact on whitetail populations as well as many other animal species.
Poor: The law should be changed to not kill any does for a few years. This will help to build the herd back.
Poor: We have a family club. Over the last four years, we have gone from seeing as many as 10 to 12 deer moving together throughout the season to maybe two together if you’re lucky. We keep a running log of sightings and kills, and the last two seasons only seven does have been seen and one taken. We have had a few good bucks taken, but we need does. We also have our own club limits of two kills per season because we want to keep our kids interested by seeing and watching deer, but these last two seasons have been boring. As for coyotes, we used to see them and hear them all night while at camp. The last few years we have seen or heard very little from them. In fact, we are seeing our rabbit population increase.
Poor: I have been an avid deer hunter in Georgia for 30+ years, and it is worse than it has ever been. When we only had a few doe days, I saw one to six does on every single hunt. I can’t remember when I saw six does together. We put more time and money into food plots, fertilizing oaks and providing habitat, but our deer hunting gets worse than ever. There is no easy answer. Back when we had “tags,” guys filled them for wives and kids and still killed more than three deer. Recommend shorter gun season, longer bow season, limit deer to six with two bucks and one of those 4-points on a side.
Poor: QDM not helping. Coyotes are hurting our herd!
Poor: This was the worst year deer hunting my family and I have had in many years. There was only one deer killed by my family this past season. There are several factors that played a part in the poor rating this season. The hunting was poor due to too many hunters in our area. The number of deer allowed per hunter is too high. We saw more deer when the limit was two bucks and three does. Also, the hunting was poor due to the number of coyotes in our area. There needs to be a statewide bounty on coyotes to encourage people to hunt them. Allow statewide baiting so hunters can better judge deer before they are shot. This could improve the quality of deer taken. Some of the members on our hunting lease are looking strictly for trophy bucks. Some have not taken a deer in the four years we have been on the lease. Their hunting season was cut short due to not seeing deer in the area and slob hunters across the road from our lease.
Walker Co. E-1, G-2, F-6, P-6
Excellent: The reason I chose excellent on rating the season was due to the fact I was able to harvest one of the better bucks ever taken in Walker County. I was able to take a nice 8-pointer during muzzleloader season as well as an additional buck on the Pigeon Mountain WMA hunt. However, that being said, I have some additional facts that would counter the other questions considered. On a family farm we have hunted since I was a small child, I saw only three does the entire season. I have spent years hunting this same farm, and it would be common to see three or often many more on any single hunt. On an additional farm in Walker County, I have hunted for several years in an area where seeing 10+ does on almost every hunt yields very few does. In fact I didn’t take a single doe the entire season due to such extreme low numbers seen. Bottom line: reduce total harvest allowed; reduce significantly the either-sex days in Walker County; extend the season to Jan. 15 to encourage and allow hunters a chance at the quality bucks. Once the season closed Jan. 1, the major rub lines and scrapes began to show up and buck sightings were being reported. It happens every year.
Good: I think it would be a great idea to cut back on the number of doe days all over the state, especially where I live in the Northern Zone. I think we are losing a lot of fawns to coyotes. I wish there was a way to eliminate them. We just can’t seem to call them in.
Good: Killed one 8-pointer. Killed three coyotes. Saw a few small bucks, a 4-pointer and 6-pointers.
Fair: Yotes where I live in Walker County I’d say are worse on turkeys. Past few years they about vanished from our farm. I caught a glimpse of a huge cat two years ago that may play a role in loss. I think that Pigeon Mtn. WMA could have better food plots. Seems it is turning more into a state park rather than WMA. I and other friends would like deer season starting month later and extending a month.
Fair: Coyotes are a real problem, along with half-wild dogs. A lot of hunters go deer hunting not knowing or caring about buck regulations.
Fair: Season too long. Should not be allowed more than three does. Way too many doe days.
Poor: Did not see enough deer. Only saw three the entire season.
Poor: I have hunted the same tract of land for 15 years. There were many does for years, but now I hunted hard this year and only saw six deer all season.
Poor: If you let the hunters keep killing so many does and with the yotes killing to many fawns, you won’t need to worry about setting a deer season.
Poor: Six deer while hunting, that’s what I saw all season long. Three years ago I was seeing that many a day!
Poor: Bad due to yotes and high deer limit.
Walton Co. E-4, G-3, F-8, P-5
Excellent: Fantastic is the only way I can describe it. It was nothing to see 10 to 15 deer every day, but I also know I live in the best possible place to hunt deer. Scrape and rub lines were active until the end of the season, and I am still finding active sign. I am sorry to report that I hit two deer at once, a buck and a doe, with my new Lariat Platinum F150 in the city limits of Monroe. The bottom line is... we have too many deer and the season should be lengthened to include the whole month of January or at least equal to the Southern Zone. Coyotes are becoming a problem, but we are addressing that now.
Good: In my area the deer population is pretty good. In 39 hunts I only went one time without seeing deer. We limit our doe harvest and only shoot mature bucks. We have a lot of food, and that keeps the deer on the property. We also have a trapper come in a trap every year. You never really know how many coyotes you have on a particular property until you get a good trapper.
Fair: The deer seemed to be sparse this year due to weather, but I managed to take my two bucks and three does off the 98 acres I hunt.
Fair: The DNR needs to bait coyotes with something to prevent the females from giving bith. Deer population seems to be down. Out of 14 members, our club shot three in 2012—one doe and two bucks.
Fair: The north season should last as long as the south due to the license cost the same. The north should get to use feeders just as the south does. The license should be changed so people cannot make as many copies as they want.
Fair: I am an advocate of pushing the Northern Zone back two or three weeks. Fourteen to 15 weeks is just too long of a season. I am NOT an advocate of baiting in the Northern Zone.
Poor: Weather was bad. Did not see number of deer.
Ware Co. E-1, F-1, P-3
Excellent: I’ve had the best season I have ever had. I’ve gotten a decent 8-point and turned down numerous spikes, 3, 4, 6-points, and I killed two does. The bucks were really chasing the does during the rut. I think this was due to the farmer killing 30 does on permits, and we still have plenty. Too many? As far as I’m concerned, leave the regulations like they are.
Fair: I did not see as many deer this season. The reason would only be a guess. Increased harvest of previous years? Coyotes? Acorns? I will be reading GON to see if the experts have an answer. I only shoot one to two deer per year.
Poor: Maybe going with six doe tags and cutting down on the doe days would be the best route to take. I think new buck restrictions would be great. Our goal in our club is to shoot bucks that are at least 3 1/2 years old. The buck can also meet either a 14-inch minimum spread or one 18-inch main beam to be legal. As far as baiting, I think it should remain legal. Anyone that doesn’t agree, I invite to come down to south Georgia and bowhunt without using corn or any other type of bait. You might as well stay at the house. I got the chance to go to Ohio this past November, and on public land saw more bucks in three days than I will see in three years in Georgia, but I still love south Georgia hunting, and it will always be my home. The Lord blessed me with two really nice bucks last year, and I take a lot more pride in them because they’re such a challenge!
Warren Co. G-3, F-4, P-5
Fair: I bought 384 acres in 1986; beautiful piece of property. Had lots of deer and turkey until five years ago. I have managed the deer population since day one. I also have taken some very nice bucks off property. Getting back to five years ago, now on opening day of gun season it sounds like a war zone on surrounding properties. This goes on for about four weeks. I do feel the yotes play a part, but not as much as deer limits and either-sex days.
Fair: I think the prolonged drought is the factor that has most affected deer hunting in Warren County. Deer patterns have changed since many streams and ponds are dried up, and remaining water sources have shrunk to historic lows. Small towns like Warrenton rely on deer hunters to buy gas and supplies and stay in local motels. Cutting back on the season not only limits hunters’ time in the woods, but affects the economy of these small towns. Rather, I think the limits should be reduced to one buck and two does. No one needs more deer than that. If so, they can have members of their family or friends shoot their deer. I think changes need to be made, but the limit should be cut back first and see how the harvest is affected.
Washington Co. E-6, F-6, P-6
Excellent: Excellent deer sightings of both bucks and does. Past four years we have killed on average 4.4 does for every buck. Buck ages up, doe ages down. Weight is smaller for does and buck weights are up. Past week on food plot in two sittings, one hunter saw 29 does and four bucks. We are still doe heavy. Cameras indicated a buck-to-doe ratio of 1.3 to 1.4.
Excellent: Current regulations have worked. We have a lot more older age class bucks. With coyotes on the scene, does have been over-harvested in some areas. I agree with Charlie Killmaster that limiting the number of “doe days” is the way to slow it up.
Fair: Fair at best. Everyone I’ve talked to cite coyotes as the No. 1 culprit. Not only have they reduced deer numbers, but they’re even worse on turkeys. I hunt 6,000 acres along with four friends. We have trophy managed this land since 1995—13 years. My neighbors around me have trophy managed their land also, probably another 4,000 acres. We have a good number of quality deer, but we all have noticed a big decline in numbers, so bad in fact my neighbors and myself did not take a doe this year. Turkey season will be one gobbler only. We have all found fawns and numerous hen turkeys killed, especially during nesting season. We are now implementing an aggressive trapping and calling program. I would advise all your readers to do the same before it’s too late. If you don’t want to trap or call, invite someone who does! Don’t just complain about low deer numbers. Do something to help them.
Poor: We have seen progressively fewer deer each season for the past several seasons. Also fewer coyotes and coyote sign.
Poor: Two years ago I filled this survey out—with the same results. Coyotes still an issue and just as the mis-info about what coyotes eat. In the late 90s they “migrated” here; according to my intel we have had help from the DNR, coyote-raising contractors. Gee, maybe I ought to print this publicly. I hope GON does. Is this where our license fees go?
Wayne Co. E-2, G-1, F-5, P-2
Excellent: We only shoot four does per member and two does per visitor each year. Two of our members were lucky enough to kill two yotes, and we also had five hogs killed. We have only harvested 12 does this year and have never harvested over 15. Our club has only 10 members on 2,900 acres, and we only shoot 6-points or better with a $100 fine for any buck shot less than a 6-point. This year I finally took a nice 8-point during blackpowder that I had on camera for the past three years. I do think the number of does harvested should be lowered, however I think dog hunting should be stopped all together. We have a dog club close to us, and before it started up three years ago, I would see two to three does each time I went to the stand. If running deer with dogs is not allowed, I believe our doe numbers would go back up.
Good: I saw more deer in the woods this season than any I can recall. I am primarily a trophy hunter and let a mature doe, a 6-point and a 4-point walk this year.
Fair: If you’re in a good hunting club, they would control the doe killing. We do at Mershon Hunting Club. The deer population is low in our area due to coyotes because they get more fawns than we think.
Fair: Too many does taken. Coyotes also affected the number of turkeys seen last spring. My club reduced the number of feral hogs.
Poor: Because of herbicide.
Webster Co. G-1, F-3, P-2
Good: The lease has 380 acres of fields and 500 acres of woods. The hunters seeing less deer probably aren’t around much agriculture and may need lesser limits, but the club I recently joined has taken 20 to 30 deer per year off this little parcel, and it doesn’t seem to make a dent in the population, and we do have a lot of coyotes and bobcats. But no dog hunters in the area.
Fair: I’ve lived on and hunted the same property for about 30 years. For 25 of those years I farmed the land. I see less deer now than at any time in past years. I can’t prove coyotes are responsible, but I sure do hear them on a regular basis.
Wheeler Co. F-3
Fair: The trophy aspect of hunting is leaving too many non-potential bucks to breed. Lower the doe limit to five, but up the buck limit to three with two of them being any size.
White Co. G-2, P-2
Good: I hunt on family owned land. My season was great. Killed one doe but had encounters with five different 3 1/2-year-old bucks. It’s our third year seriously practicing QDM. Wish we had QDM in the whole county. Do not have a serious coyote problem. More bobcats than coyotes.
Poor: I think the season should not start until Nov. 1 and go to Jan. 31
Whitfield Co. G-1, F-3, P-3
Good: The land where I hunt had plenty of food for deer to eat and water.
Poor: I feel the limit of does has greatly reduced our deer population along with yotes. I have spent around $800 last year on equipment to kill coyotes. My best results is night hunting. I believe in opening federal lands to yote hunting year-round with small-game weapons with special night hunts.
Poor: Whitfield County needs more doe days. All seven counties in the Northern Zone should be the same as the rest of the state.
Wilcox Co. E-1, G-3, F-1
Wilkinson Co. G-2, F-1, P-3
Poor: I have been hunting in Georgia for about 20+ years and have lived here for 16 years. I have seen the season limits go from five deer a year to this now absurd limit of 12. And for the likes of me I can’t figure out why you want to kill off all of your breeding stock. Don’t worry, back when the limit was five there were those who killed all they wanted then, and today they still do. I and my wife own about 200 acres, and we see deer all the time, both does and bucks, and some nice bucks at that. We work hard to help grow a good herd. We kill a couple of does and a buck or two. We only kill what we need to eat and maybe one for someone who needs it. The point of this whole story is this I am so #%&$* about the high limit, and when I hear of people bragging about how they kill all these deer because they can, it makes me mad, because one day we will not have the quality herd that we had when there was a lower limit. I am all for lower limits on does and go back to a doe-day system also. More people would see more deer. I would also like to see a statewide quality-deer-management program in place as well, a little more then what is in place for bucks now.
Wilkes Co. G-7, F-7, P-14
Good: We’re seeing deer every weekend. That keeps interest up. If everyone shot 10 does, the population would drop, and you wouldn’t see deer.
Fair: Deer numbers are down considerably. I have been hunting in Wilkes since 1980. The two big factors in order of importance are: Massive change in land ownership from timber companies to REITS and TIMOs, resulting in less large-scale clearcutting and therefore less browse and escape cover. This makes life much easier for factor No. 2—coyotes. You don’t have to be a biologist to know what coyotes eat when you see deer hair in their scat 12 months a year!
Fair: Coyotes are a problem everywhere in Georgia. Need to put a bounty on them, some way. Also, I think we should put deer hunting camp thieves on a mug shot page in GON.
Poor: I have hunted in Wilkes County for more than 20 years, and the last two years were the worst years I have ever had in Georgia. I have not seen a deer in two years. The deer are gone. Some counties still have a few deer, but Wilkes is gone. I come from North Carolina, pay the “big bucks” for the licenses, and see nothing. I don’t know how many more years I can keep doing this with no deer.
Poor: Go back to tear-off deer tags. Too many yotes, road-hunters.
Poor: Do something before it is too late. No deer, no hunters.
Poor: Killed my first deer in 1959. I will be 69 this month. I started a club in 1975 that grew to 3,500 acres, now back to 1,100 acres. I got in a stand 14 times this year and on the ground once. Never less than four hours. Opening day I hunted morning and afternoon and saw one small doe in the afternoon. That was the only deer I saw from the stand. Reason—I do not know. Right thing to do, I do not know. I have turned management of the club over to someone else. We go by state regulations. Hard to think about, but fixed income and no meat for $600 hurts. I may not hunt next year and will be very distressed if I cannot.
Poor: Georgia’s deer hunting has gone to the dogs. For the last five to six years, we haven’t seen many deer at all in Wilkes County. I only saw one deer from my stand last year and didn’t see any this year. It’s hard to go out when you know you’re not going to see any deer. In talking to other hunters, Wilkes County is not the only county with this problem. I’ve deer hunted for over 30 years, bow and gun, and I truly love to deer hunt. But the last five to six years it’s gotten less and less fun. I don’t hunt just for the joy of the kill, I hunt because I love the outdoors and being with God’s creations. However, it sure would be nice to see a deer every once in a while. I hunt mostly with my husband, dad and brother, and we all have these sentiments. There are way too many doe days and the deer limit per person is ridiculous. I know everybody doesn’t shoot 12 deer a year, but there are a lot of people who do. Tagging a deer is ridiculous as well. Putting the date you killed a deer on piece of paper serves what purpose? If you kill a buck you include the county? So what? There is no way this state knows how many deer are taken every year. Too many people process their own meat, some give it away, some deer are never found. It’s total ridiculous. And to have the whole process outsourced to another state, there are no words to describe how angry that makes me. My husband and I have lifetime licenses and bought them when the hunting was good. Would we buy them today? Absolutely not. I truly believe the state of Georgia is trying to eliminate the deer. All they want is the hunter’s money to use elsewhere in the state. It sure isn’t for the wildlife, game wardens or management areas. About seven years ago we started hunting out of state. It first started as just another place to hunt, but now it’s the only hunting we look forward to because we know we are going to see lots of deer and have the chance to see and kill a good buck. Something you don’t get the chance to do in Georgia, with the exception of a few counties that are priced so high you can’t afford the lease.
Worth Co. G-1, F-4
Fair: Fewer deer, and mature bucks were harder to see and harder to get on cam pics for some reason.
Fair: 2010 was one of our best years! 2011 was our worst year ever! 2012 has been a little better than 2011. We believe that some “die-offs” affected 2011. Found two dead, from disease?
Fair: Put a $25 bounty on coyotes payable from big-game license fees, statewide.
Should deer hunting either-sex days be reduced in the county where you hunt?
Yes: Too many does are being killed. I’ve been hunting all my life, and the deer population is going down. Please stop the doe killing.
No: I have deer hunted Georgia since the 1970s. I remember when deer seasons in our part of the state were “buck-only” throughout the entire season with a smattering of days which were either-sex, or known commonly as “doe days.” I personally would hate to see us return to that. I recall the disappointment at having to let a doe pass because I was not hunting on one of those designated days. Leave the number of either-sex days alone to allow everyone an opportunity to harvest a deer on the particular days they are able to hunt. Many, many folks have work and other commitments that only allow them to hunt a few days per season.
Yes: First two weeks of firearms season should be antlered only; rest of season antlerless.
Yes: Reduce at least 50 percent.
No: Hunting clubs and landowners know how the deer herd is doing. Let the people using the land make the decision. One set of rules might not work in most areas.
Yes: In our area of Jasper County the deer herd has gotten so low in numbers it will be hard for it to recover without severe cuts in the number of either-sex days.
No: Either-sexy days should not be reduced in Dougherty County. I say this because it helps get deer earlier instead of having a failing, frustrating season.
Yes: For the most part, most hunters are going to take only what they need or want, regardless of what they can take legally. I rarely see in our club anyone taking more than three does. Fewer either-sex days and reduced bag limits will not affect the way 90 percent of our hunters hunt.
No: I have young grandchildren hunting with me at various times, and being able to shoot does when they get to go makes it more fun and more likely to enjoy hunting.
Yes: This is the best way to lower the number of deer being taken. The vast majority of the hunters I know do not even come close to taking 12 deer a year, but they will take two or three does a year while hunting for trophy bucks. The trophy bucks are less numerous, and so they might get one per year or maybe no trophy bucks. If you limit the number of doe days, then that might lower the number from two to three for my friends down to one or two does. Not a huge difference, but it’s a start.
No and Yes: Lumpkin County already has very restrictive doe days. However, for the rest of Georgia, say for example Dawson County right next to me, they have season-long doe days. It doesn’t make sense. I believe we need to have a Northern Zone/Southern Zone doe-day allocation. Everyone knows the deer population in the Southern Zone is significantly higher per square mile than the Northern Zone. So, if I could change the question to read: Should deer hunting either-sex days be reduced in the ZONE where you hunt? My answer would be yes, as the Northern Zone holistically needs to have doe days reduced.
No: Hunters should have the choice to take a doe or buck any time.
Yes: Need to reduce either-sex days in half.
No: I remember the “does on specific days.” I saw a lot of does on “no doe days.” Never saw does on “doe days.” Today, if I want a doe, I can take one any day. If you feel like the deer herd is down in your area, put your big-boy pants on, and don’t shoot a doe.
Yes: I think reduced either-sex days will positively impact population and quality herds.
Yes: No doe days after Thanksgiving.
No: The reason I voted the way I did on doe days is because we are already limited on doe days in Franklin County.
Yes: I wouldn’t mind cutting down on some of the doe days, but limit them to dates during the week instead of the weekends. This could decrease the harvest numbers by locals who can hunt any day of the week, whereas club members hunt mainly on weekends. Also, no one on our club has ever taken more than four deer in any year. We try very hard not to kill little deer or potential future trophy bucks.
No: Either-sex days should not be changed. Most people don’t get a chance to hunt everyday, so when they do get a chance to hunt they should be able to shoot a doe if they want to. I remember years ago when we did not have doe days everyday, and a doe would come in to our area my son would want to shoot the doe, and I had to tell him no because it is not a doe day. Let’s not go back to the old days of hunting.
Yes: I think the limits and doe days should be reduced. Lots of deer were seen when there were selected doe days. I believe it should be a statewide QDM. Young hunters would actually get a chance to enjoy nature and not pressured to kill the first deer they see.
Yes: Either-sex days should be reduced in Glynn County as well as statewide. Our rut is September and October. There are a lot of pregnant does killed by dog hunters as well as gun and bowhunters.
No: Keep doe days current. Deer population is way down, so keep the days open for the working man.
Yes: Restrict the days does can be harvested. Opening day is a war zone for does!
No: I think the number of either-sex days should be done away with. It should be the number of deer taken that should count.
Yes: Most people that get that many deer don’t use the meat; only do it for the sport. What are our grandchildren gonna do. It is a shame for that to happen.
Yes: Doe days should be reduced. How about adding Elbert and Oglethorpe to the list of mountain counties which have limited does days.
Yes: Too many either-sex days resulting in too many yearling bucks being killed.
Should Georgia’s season deer limit be reduced from 12 per hunter per season?
Yes: One buck, three does, plus a shorter season of October and November only.
No: Leave the either-sex days and deer limit alone. If you feel your herd is dwindling, don’t pull the trigger on that particular lease.
Yes: I think the deer limit is hurting the herd.
Yes: I agree with Charlie Killmaster about the fact that not many hunters kill more than three deer per season. That’s pretty much the norm for all the hunters I know. Lowering the number of does that can be harvested from 10 to three or four won’t have much of an impact, but it can’t hurt either.
Yes: I think we should go back to the old system! Two bucks, one must be 8-pointer or better, and five does. Change the tags back to an individual tag per deer; the hunter fills out and sends to the DNR after the season.
Yes: Limits should be reduced to two does and two or three bucks per year including WMA hunters. DNR should not be tagging these WMA deer for hunters. Four or five deer should be plenty of meat.
Yes: My feeling on the limit of 12 is too many. That being said, I know of no one that killed over three. I’m sure there are people that did somewhere. If the state lowers the limit, fine, but I don’t think it will make a impact. Most people taking 12 deer now will keep taking 12 deer.
Yes: Unfortunately, we have a few hunters that take every animal they can! I’m not sure fewer bag limits will slow them down.
Yes: Reduce the limit to three does and two bucks. That’s plenty, but keep either-sex days as they have been. I really think same either-sex days and limit number allowed to five will work better.
Yes: I think we need to reduce the deer limit back to three, two bucks and one doe. If you kill all the does out, there won’t be a deer season.
No: Most hunters do not shoot more than three of four deer per season. Leave alone for the poor to harvest their needs up to 12 deer per season.
No: I am retired and have too much time on my hands, so I ride around and talk to other people, namely hunters. The info I am getting is the limit is okay. Nobody I talk to meets it anyway.
Yes: I believe some parts of the state probably are good with the current limit of 10 does. However, the part of Mitchell County where I hunt cannot support that if everyone takes full advantage of the tags allowed. I like it the way it used to be with two bucks (one quality only) and three does.
No: I don’t think any members of our club has even filled all their deer tags in a year. Although 12 seems like a lot, on some particularly large tracts of land, it may be necessary to sustain a healthy herd. But at the same time it doesn’t mean just because you were given 12 you must fill them all. Sadly, many people think they must in order to have a successful season. In my opinion, those individuals are only hurting themselves and are being greedy and short-sighted.
Yes: New regulations for Toombs County should be implemented: the doe limit should be cut to a maximum of three per season. Being an avid deer hunter, I hate to say this, but a limit of one buck per hunter, or if too harsh, two bucks per hunter but has to be 8-pointer or better. With the two-buck regulation, the doe limit should be reduced to a limit of two.
Yes: This is a resounding yes! Twelve deer is a ridiculous limit! Eight deer at the very most is all any family should need to sustain themselves if they are meat hunting.
Yes: Without question it should be. While I have no data to reference, an immediate move to perhaps six deer total encompassing two 4-point-both-side bucks and four fully mature does could significantly help the herd in shorter time frames and also help counter the affect of yotes and overall limits that perhaps should have been dialed back sooner. I also feel the state should implement stronger restrictions for antlered deer statewide, perhaps 4-points both sides minimum.
Yes: Twelve deer per season is entirely too many, and although there are multitudes of hunters who may only harvest a couple a year, there are still plenty that max tags fail not. It’s more venison than the average family in the nation could ever use. Unfortunate as it is, there are also the numerous deer harvests in Georgia that go unaccounted for. By reducing the harvest limit of deer as well as the number of either-sex days, by default we’ll also reduce the number of non-tagged deer taken in the state. Let’s face it, less and less hunters process deer themselves, and by taking deer to processors it holds more hunters accountable. Doe harvest should be restricted to five or less, and less days should be made available after rut. By implementing this protocol, by theory, we should enter spring with more pregnant does. Buck harvest should be held at two with strict antler requirements on one. Leaving one “free” buck will allow managers to remove cull bucks from the herd. On the subject of bucks, season should be extended into January further. We’re giving up our coldest month to utilize food sources to take big deer.
Yes: Twelve deer is a lot. There is no reason to take more than eight deer a year if you are managing a normal property.
Yes: Five deer total kill max!
Yes: Every year I hear stories about deer processors having some problems with getting people to return and pick up their deer, and also about deer being donated to a Feed the Hungry program, which I believe is a good and honorable thing. But this tells me there apparently are people out there shooting deer that they either don’t want or need. A season limit of 10 to 12 deer per season per hunter seems excessive in most cases.
Yes: Twelve deer is too many. Further, the “4-on-one-side” rule for one of the two bucks tagged should be enforced somehow. I think the current buck rule (enforced), plus four to six does in a limited season, should be plenty for all to enjoy.
Yes: I think six to eight deer should be the limit.
Yes: I believe that 12 deer statewide was never a good idea! Even a Southern/Northern Zone is not a very good way to manage our deer herd. There should be more of county-by-county regulations. One size does not fit all!
Yes: The deer limit should be reduced to eight—six does and two bucks. Most hunters harvest enough to fill freezer, which is three.
Yes: I’m interested in the conservation of deer for the future... I would like to see the old green licenses reinstated or for there to be a way to limit the amount of tags that can be printed off line! If not, lowering the number of deer that can be harvested would be a waste of time.
Yes: Deer limits would be great at two bucks and two does per hunter.
Yes: I would like to see two does and one trophy buck for adults. Kids under 16 should be able to kill any type buck.
Yes: How about three does and two bucks?
Yes: We need to limit the doe harvest to six per hunter and leave the buck regulation as is until we have proof that whitetail numbers are going up again.
Yes: I see a lot of deer that are hit on the roads, but most of these are in more populated areas where hunting is not going on. I don’t think we should take it out on the deer that we can hunt. I am in favor of laws that give me the best chance to see deer, now and in the future. If you want kids to be interested in hunting, they need to see deer. Just like fishing, they want a fish. Kids are learning, sometimes it takes a while for patience to kick in.
• The state needs to stop turning a blind eye and seriously address the coyote problem. Coyotes are not only having a huge negative impact on deer populations but an even bigger negative impact on small game/rabbit populations. Diversity in total hunting opportunities (small and big game) can bring this state much needed revenue. This state has the potential to be a “‘total” sportsman’s paradise if managed correctly! Coyotes are undermining everything sportsmen have worked for the last 30 years! Something needs to be done to seriously lower the coyote population.
• I understand there is a shortage of budget money to go around, but I have no doubts that the state spent some money to revamp the website and online license buying system. What would the cost be to implement a harvest-monitoring system similar to that of the HIP tag? Let people report on what they killed the year before when they buy their tag for the next season. No online report, no tag for next year. Georgia will never be able to strictly enforce a tag on deer, but if we could get a fairly accurate count of what was killed each year, it would help with planning for the future.
• Allow the taking of catfish in all lakes and rivers in Georgia with bowfishing equipment, not just in the Savannah River basin.
• Let’s take a realistic look at deer baiting, not a political one. How fair is it for hunters in one part of the state to be treated differently than hunters in the other part of the state? Baiting is either a fair, ethical part of deer hunting in Georgia, or it isn’t. It shouldn’t make a difference if you are in Lowndes County or Murray County.
• I feel the economy should be a part of the survey. Stewart County’s deer season with all the deer hunters spending money is what keeps that county’s small merchants afloat. I am against any change that has a bad effect on the economy in any county. I hope we can do something positive even if it means putting tag fees on feeders. Let’s work together to ensure Georgia’s hunting economy stays positive and the hunters stay happy, so we can pass what we enjoy now to our next generation.
• On Big Lazer WMA hunt Nov. 8-10, the gates were not opened until around noon. They have always been opened around daylight so you have the full day to scout. A lot of hunters were complaining about this. Some came a long way, and noon shortens their time
• My main, really bad disappointment is with the self-important bureaucrats who stole my reciprocal exemption when I finally turned 65. I own a farm, pay taxes, have bought non-resident license for more than 20 years (at 10 times what a resident pays), and when I get to my payoff, some punk desk-jockey takes away my anticipated reward. What a rip-off!
• More quail management on WMAs.
• I feel the state should foster/help develop programs which are primarily funded by donation drives or initiatives which more progressively creates fiscal or increased hunting privileges at WMAs or similar “awards” to those individuals that meet set quotas per year for coyotes bagged verifiably through local DNR reporting offices. I feel this would more aggressively address the issue where as otherwise yote population levels will not be realistically reduced, as there is no increased incentive to do so by the wider licensed hunter population. Overall, I think you will find that many in the hunting community would agree to a broader BALANCED approach to addressing the above issues, as opposed to only addressing one of the many various issues. GON has the power and resources within the state’s community to help bring a balanced approach to the forefront while still allowing all hunters to have a great experience while maintaining or building the herd. Government or the state can’t and won’t do any more than they have to, especially in the ongoing economic climate, so this is where entities such as GON can step in, create and start initiatives on multiple fronts, and get hunters involved for their overall betterment. Involved in addressing limit review like this ballot addresses, involved in generating donation drives to help fund or create programs to begin to address the yote population problems, and involved in slightly stiffening the antlered deer rules.
• I wish people would shut up about QDMA for the whole county. Not everyone hunts just for trophy deer. I have a 14-year-old son, and he just wants to see deer when he goes. He has lost interest in deer hunting, but thankfully he still likes to go squirrel hunting. If you want to hunt “trophies only,” manage your property or go somewhere else!
• I have a hard time understanding why we have a muzzleloader season. There is nothing primitive about the muzzleloader with a mounted scope and a 200-yard range. Looks like the person in charge would simplify things and just have a bow season and a gun season.
• I believe the entire state should move to QDM practices of only taking bucks with 4-points on one side. This would also limit the number of deer taken and make the number of trophy bucks rise in all of the counties. I know that the entire state will not agree to that, but at least all of the Southern Zone areas, and I would love for my county (Paulding) to have that in place.
• Look at adding a few days, maybe a week or 10 days, after the end of the firearms season as a late-season muzzleloader hunt. This may encourage more people to get involved in muzzleloading; and, realistically, I don’t think this would remove large number of deer from the state herd, but may encourage more participation in the outdoors, which is always a good thing. With the current muzzleloading season so short, some people may be hesitant about investing the time and expenses of getting into muzzleloading.
• It is legal now to hunt over bait in the Southern Zone but not in the Northern Zone, and that completely makes no sense. I think there are a lot of hunters who would like to see that rule changed so that we can hunt near bait and feeders. Please, let’s take a vote to make this rule change because the Southern Zone is no different than the Northern Zone when it comes to that. If we can grow a corn field and bush hog a couple of rows to have corn on the ground and it be legal, then how is that different than hunting near a feeder? It’s not, so let’s make it happen!
• The whole state should be open for deer season until Jan. 15, not just the south region.
• The meetings conducted by WRD are a waste of our time and gas. Numerous hunters and I commented at the meeting in Smyrna a couple of years ago about the doe population problem. There were statements by the personnel at the meeting that they could set doe days to help curtail the overharvest of does because limits are set by our politicians. Yet two years later nothing has happened yet. I see no value in the comment process when our thoughts are ignored.
• I favor the expansion of baiting legalization to at minimum all areas south of I-20, preferably the entire state of Georgia, and modification of the wearing of orange to mirror Alabama’s regulation that the hunter must wear 250 inches of orange (defined as a ball cap) to and from the stand, which can be removed once in an enclosed blind or 12 feet off the ground. I hunt in Alabama and have a tract in Talbot County (Southern Zone), which has been legalized for baiting and our results have been tremendous. As a side benefit, turkey, dove and other wildlife enjoy feeding on the corn.
• Do not charge a fee to apply for quota hunts. Instead simply require all applicants to first have a hunting license.
• There needs to be some protection on a deer that’s under a year old! Makes me sick to go by the processors and see these out of-state hunters and some local hunters bringing in fawns that still have their spots. To me that is totally unethical!
• A change needs to me made to increase the cost of non-residence licensing and limit of deer kill. When I go to Kansas, the licensing is $400 and one-buck only. Allow baiting for Northern Zone, or cut out baiting altogether, and give us the full season as the Southern Zone has. We pay the same licenses fee in the Northern Zone as the Southern but do not get to hunt the same time or bait.
• I am an advocate for a $1 to $3 increase for hunting license/tags in order to add additional resources (people, vehicles, robot deer for poachers, etc.) for law-enforcement purposes to catch the criminal hunters.
• Georgia tagging system needs a major overhaul. Georgia is a joke compared to other states. Implement a tag/harvest card you remove from your hunting license once you harvest game. Georgia is lacking law enforcement.
• Need to be able to bait in Northern Zone; too many people baiting anyway. Next year I’m going to Kansas and Texas, not Georgia.
• I haven’t harvested a deer in two years because I just don’t see anything to shoot. I won’t take a young buck, and I don’t shoot does until later in the season in fear of loosing a chance on a mature buck that might be following her. And late season you don’t see the does. The deer population is just not there anymore like it was five years ago. We need someone to talk to DNR and get some of these regulations changed. I can never find myself free when they have meetings on regulations. Maybe you can help and speak for the hunter.
• The state needs to change the dove hunting seasons to do away with the early season and running the season through February. The early seasons are too hot, too many snakes still moving around, and you are killing birds that have been out of the nest only a short period of time.
• We NEED to go back to a real tag system... I think the estimates of kills per hunter are inaccurate. My understanding is that currently DNR takes a sample of hunters and asks them the number of deer they have harvested, then extrapolates the average deer per hunter. I would be OK with license fees going up (a reasonable amount) to enable printing of real tags, that any harvested deer, doe or buck, would be required to be tagged with. We would also need to work out a more accurate way of harvest reporting. I realize all this does rely on the Georgia hunting community to help with. Also, we need to work with the legislature to better manage the revenue that comes in from hunting/fishing so that it no longer goes to the GENERAL fund, but to DNR, and more especially WRD.
• I am not a trophy deer hunter. I have kids that I take hunting. A nice basket-rack buck would be a trophy for us. We need to see deer. I think there are plenty of clubs and areas that manage for big bucks. That’s fine if that’s what you’re after. There is still those of us who enjoy hunting for what it is. We do not need a huge buck.