Rate Your Deer Season

How was your deer season? How about your fishing last year in Georgia? Those questions plus coyotes and Game Check are on this year’s VOTES survey.

So, how was your deer season? If you put up your freezer meat, or maybe had the chance to match wits with a wise old buck, you’re probably checking the Good or Excellent box. Other hunters might still be dealing with a lower deer population, a bad neighbor, or some other factor that caused them to have a subpar deer season.

Whether it was good, great or forgettable, we’d like to know. And we would also like to hear why you rated your Georgia deer season the way you did.

Each January, GON offers sportsmen the chance to voice opinions on issues that affect hunting and fishing in Georgia.

An important question asked each year is the annual Rate Your Season Survey. This simple survey provides a consistent, yearly look at how deer hunters feel about the quality of something they are passionate about. More important than the annual rating, the survey provides a look at trends in hunter sentiment. Please take a few minutes and rate your deer season, which can be done by a simple e-mail.

In addition to the annual Rate Your Season survey, we’re asking three other questions this year. For these other three questions, the cover of the magazine is your ballot. Each reader gets one vote, which is controlled by your subscription mailing label for subscribers or by the cover ballot number for newsstand copies.

For help in deciding which questions to include in this year’s VOTES survey, GON reached out to the Wildlife Resources Division of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources. WRD includes the Game Management and Fisheries sections—the biologists, technicians and support staff.

Along with sending suggestions from his staff for VOTES questions, the new WRD Director, Rusty Garrison, said, “While science-based decisions favoring wildlife conservation are our priority, we exist to serve the Georgia public and keep our hunters and anglers satisfied with opportunities we provide. GON readers are our customers, and we use the feedback received to help inform our decisions. The new Georgia Game Check is a perfect example of how we can use customer feedback because it only works if hunters use it, and we want it to be as simple as possible.”

You don’t have to cut off the bottom of your GON January issue cover to participate in the VOTES survey. You can photo-copy it, or you can take a digital photo with your phone and e-mail the picture of your ballot to letters@gon.com. Taking a digital photo and e-mailing the image along with your comments is the easiest way to participate.

As we mentioned, this year we queried WRD to help determine our survey questions. Last year, we asked our GON Hunt Advisors, a group of more than 40 dedicated sportsmen spread across the state who write monthly hunting reports. If you have topics you feel would be good for next year’s VOTES ballot survey, please send your suggestions to GON along with your responses to this year’s questions.

Here are the 2016-2017 GON ballot questions:

Question 1: Rate your 2016-2017 Georgia deer season, and tell us why it was either Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor.

The Rate Your Deer Season survey gives hunters a chance to voice opinions on the quality of this year’s deer hunting, and more importantly, what they think needs to be done to improve the deer hunting in Georgia. We need to hear your comments. Please include comments in a note along with your ballot or in an e-mail to letters@gon.com.

Important note: If you only want to respond to Rate Your Deer Season, you can do so with a quick e-mail. Simply send your rating, the primary county you hunted and your comments on why you rated it that way to letters@gon.com with the subject “Rate Your Season.”

Question 2: Does the negative impact of coyotes on your property seem to be changing? Is the situation getting better, worse, or is it the same?

As coyotes—a non-native, invasive species—took hold in Georgia, deer numbers on many tracts took a hit. Now, trapping has seen a resurgence, and predator control is part of many management formulas.

What’s the status of the coyote situation on your hunting land?

Question 3: Please rate your past year of fishing in Georgia.

Weather extremes can have large effects on fish populations, fishing opportunities and fishing success. This past year had a mix of both heavy rains that caused wintertime flooding followed by extreme summer/fall drought conditions. WRD would find it helpful to understand how anglers did under these very different conditions.

Question 4: Rate your experience with Game Check (please answer even if you haven’t used the system yet).

All deer and turkey hunters in Georgia are now required by law to report every harvest to the state Wildlife Resources Division within 72 hours through Georgia Game Check.

Please check one of the following boxes on your VOTES ballot: Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, No Kills to Report, or “What’s Game Check?”

Send your ballot to:

Please e-mail a digital photo or scan of your ballot, and include comments in your e-mail, to letters@gon.com. To mail, cut out or photocopy your cover ballot and send to:

GON VOTES, 4331 Seven Islands Road, Madison, GA 30650, or FAX to (706) 342-2022. Deadline is Jan. 23.

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