The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently announced the opening of a 3,986-acre tract in Glynn County along I-95 and the Altamaha River, known as Altama Plantation WMA.
Altama Plantation WMA will provide outdoor recreation for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities, while protecting the water quality around the Altamaha River, the largest recreational and commercial fishery in Georgia. The new WMA will operate as a stand-alone WMA with its own hunting seasons.
“It’s still going to be like your typical WMA,” said David Mixon, WRD’s coastal region supervisor for Game Management. “Hunters will be able to hunt deer, turkey, small game and ducks in their prospective seasons. There will not be any special hog hunts, but there will be plenty of other opportunities for hunters.”
The Altama Plantation will provide plenty of roads for hunters to access throughout the property. David said there is not a place on the WMA that would be out of walking distance from where a vehicle can be parked. The property has a long and rich history as an outdoor playground for some of the nation’s wealthiest families. A paved road and groomed trails dissect the plantation. Prior to the Civil War the tract was a rice plantation owned by James Hamilton Cooper, famous for leading the survey that set the Georgia-Florida boundary. In 1914, the tract was purchased by William DuPont, who gave it the name Altama Plantation. In 1944, the Jones family, owners of the Sea Island Co., bought the tract and kept it primarily as a hunting retreat until 2010.
The Altama Plantation WMA opened for the first time to public hunting on Dec. 28, 2015 for a three-day adult/child deer hunt. This event hosted 221 hunters, and 11 deer were taken, including one 6-point buck.
The WMA is currently open to archery deer hunting through Jan. 10. Small-game hunting will be available from Jan. 11 to Feb. 29. Hogs maybe hunted during small-game season with small-game weapons. Of note is that there is no furbearer season on Altama Plantation WMA.
The land features tidal freshwater wetlands and pine flatwoods that provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including the gopher tortoise and endangered Eastern indigo snakes. Protecting these species and converting new public lands to longleaf pine forest has been a priority of state and federal agencies in regards to new land purchases, and for management once the tracts are purchased.
The Altama tract includes 5 miles of frontage on the Altamaha River. The Nature Conservancy and the state are now working to purchase the nearly 20,000-acre Sansavilla Tract, a longtime WMA with public access secured by state leases. Sansavilla is upriver from Altama, and if that purchase goes through, 40 miles of the Altamaha River on both sides from Little St. Simons to Jesup will be managed by the state.
A map of the new Altama WMA can be found at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/maps/hunting/region7.