Central Georgia hunters who hunt on private lands in Bibb, Houston or Twiggs counties will have a one-day opportunity to harvest a bear this Saturday, Dec. 13.
The first middle Georgia bear hunt was in 2011 and yielded 34 bears. The 2012 hunt saw 14 bears, and last year’s hunt only produced one bear. The decrease in harvest in 2013 was due to heavy rains that swept across the area.
Justin Sapp, of Cochran, was the lone hunter who killed a bear in 2013. Just before noon, he ate his sandwich and was texting his wife about Christmas presents when he saw a bear crossing a shooting lane at about 175 yards. Justin knew he only had a few seconds to get his rifle into position, but he got it done just before the bear reached the safety of the thick woods.
Justin took the required step to check-in his bear at the Oaky Woods WMA check station. UGA researchers pulled a tooth and determined that the 146-lb. live-weight bear was 2 years old.
Bear maybe taken with any legal firearm or archery equipment that is legal for deer hunting. No bears maybe taken with dogs. The limit is one bear for the central zone, and it is illegal to kill a sow with cubs. Bears must weigh at least 75 pounds before they are legal.
Although hunting over feed for deer is legal in Houston and Twiggs counties, there is no bear hunting allowed within 200 yards of bait, and bait must not be in line of sight. Several big central Georgia bears have been confiscated by DNR rangers because hunters shot them in areas where feed was present.
Although Oaky Woods and Ocmulgee WMAs both have populations of bears, there is no bear hunting on any of the central Georgia WMAs.
All harvested bears must be brought to the Oaky Woods check station between 12 noon and 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, where they will be checked and tagged.
GON writer John Trussell will be on hand at the Oaky Woods check station to interview hunters and take photos from 2 p.m. until about dark.