For the third consecutive season, most Georgia counties will experience at least a few days of deer season when only bucks are legal to shoot during firearms season. Make sure to check the date and the regulations prior to pulling the trigger on an antlerless deer.
The return to having dates that are buck-only was brought on by reduced deer populations in some parts of the state, primarily caused by drastically reduced fawn-survival rates. University studies show that coyotes—an invasive, non-native species in Georgia—are significant predators of fawns.
Hunters have been complaining about seeing fewer deer for more than a decade. Most requested a reduction to Georgia’s liberal bag limit of 12 deer per season, but biologists say that too few hunters take more than a couple of deer per season, regardless of the bag limit, so it wouldn’t help the situation where deer populations are too low. Meanwhile, having dates that are buck-only results in fewer antlerless deer being killed by hunters, which can offset the impacts of coyotes.
For hunters still concerned about deer limits, WRD doesn’t set the deer limit. That’s done by the Georgia state legislature, so learn who your state representative and state senator are and contact them by e-mail or phone.
This year’s deer season will close statewide on Jan. 14. The only exception is the suburban Atlanta archery-only counties that are open to bowhunting until Jan. 31. For Northern Zone deer hunters, that’s two extra weeks of hunting than the old traditional closing date of Jan. 1. However, small-game hunters who prefer to hunt with their dogs after deer season feel they’ve been squeezed even more.
There are no longer Northern and Southern Zones in regards to season dates; however, the Northern and Southern Zones still apply to Georgia’s baiting law. Hunting deer over feed is legal in the Southern Zone and illegal in the Northern Zone. Again, this is a state law, not a WRD regulation, so contact your state legislators to express any opinions you have about Georgia’s baiting laws for deer hunting.
The map shows the days when hunters can shoot antlerless deer with a firearm. Antlerless deer may be taken statewide with archery equipment from Sept. 9 to Jan. 14.
Also included are dates for turkey, bear, dove, waterfowl and small-game.
The complete 2017-18 Georgia Hunting Season Dates and Bag Limits booklet will soon be available at license vendors and online. Be sure to consult the official regs before heading afield.
Hunters are responsible for knowing and abiding by seasons and limits or be subject to charges and fines.
For discussion and to voice your opinions, please comment at the end of this article, or visit forum.gon.com.
Archery Sept. 9 – Jan. 14
Extended Archery Sept. 9 – Jan. 31
(Atlanta suburbs only)
Youth/Prim. Weapons Oct. 14-Jan. 14
Firearms Oct. 21-Jan. 14
Early Teal Sept. 9-24
Canada Geese Sept. 2-24;
Oct. 14-29; Nov. 18-26; Dec. 9-Jan. 28
Duck Nov. 18-26; Dec. 9-Jan. 28
Youth Waterfowl Nov. 11-12
Bear Northern Zone
Archery Sept. 9-Jan. 14
Primitive Weapons Oct. 14-Jan. 14
Firearms Oct. 21-Jan. 14
Bear Central Zone
Firearms Jan. 13
Bear Southern Zone
Firearms Sept. 21-23; Sept. 28-30
Oct. 5-7; Oct. 12-14
Kids, Impaired March 17-18
Statewide March 24 – May 15
Zone & Quota Limited Aug. 18 – Oct. 2
Sept. 2-17; Oct. 14-Nov. 2;
Nov. 23-Jan. 15
Small Game & Other Seasons
Crow Nov. 4-Feb. 28
Fox & Bobcat Dec. 1-Feb. 28
Grouse Oct. 15-Feb. 28
Quail Nov. 18-Feb. 28
Rabbit Nov. 18-Feb. 28
Raccoon Oct. 15-Feb. 28
Snipe Nov. 15-Feb. 28
Squirrel Aug. 15-Feb. 28
Woodcock Dec. 9-Jan. 22