In response to hunter concerns and complaints about lower deer numbers, the state is proposing a 25-day reduction in either-sex deer-hunting days for much of the state.
Except in counties with QDM regulations and some counties in the north Georgia mountains, antlerless deer would not be legal Dec. 1 through Dec. 25 next season. The proposed regulations still have to be passed by the Department of Natural Resources board, and hunters have until April 30 to comment on the proposals.
In much of the Northern Zone, either-sex days would be reduced 33 percent from 75 days to 50 days. However, in the QDM counties of Hancock, Meriwether and Troup, every day of firearms season would remain a doe day (75 total either-sex days during gun season). In the mountains, either-sex days in Fannin, Rabun, Towns and Union counties would be reduced from eight to six days. In Banks, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hart, Lumpkin, Murray, Stephens, White and Whitfield counties, the number of either-sex days would drop to 18 days from 26 days.
In the Southern Zone, the QDM counties of Dooly, Harris, Macon, Montgomery, Randolph and Talbot would continue to have either-sex days every day of firearms season (89 days), while the rest of the Southern Zone would be reduced by 25 days to a total of 64 days (either-sex hunting would be closed from Dec. 1 to Dec. 25).
All archery hunting remains either-sex, including during firearms season.
Meanwhile, WRD did not ask the legislature to consider reducing the deer limit. Either-sex days can be changed by WRD, but deer limits fall under state law and must be changed by the legislature. When deer limits were last increased, the legislature changed the law based on WRD recommendations.
To comment on the proposals, input must be received by 4:30 p.m. on April 30. Submit comments at www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/SubmitComments
For more information or to view the proposed regulation changes, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/regulations or contact Hunter Services at (770) 761-3045.
Here’s a run-down of proposed changes to various seasons and regulations for hunting on state-owned and managed properties.
Altamaha WMA Waterfowl Area: Increase quota from 20 to 25 and eliminate 10 standby areas while allowing standby hunters to be randomly selected for any of 25 quota stands left open by no-shows.
Arrowhead PFA: Add two-day quota turkey hunt on 400-acre area. Add one day of adult/child goose hunting opportunity during early goose season.
B.F. Grant: Second week of turkey season changed to a quota turkey hunt with quota of 80.
Balls Ferry State Park: This new 525-acre area in Wilkinson County would be open to 108 days of archery deer hunting, seven days adult/child firearms deer hunting, nine days adult/child turkey hunting, 50 days of archery turkey hunting and 80 days of small-game hunting opportunity.
Bullard Creek WMA: Add three-day buck-only deer hunt Dec. 19-21.
Cedar Creek WMA: Create a three-day Ladies/Honorary hunt on Oct. 4-6. This hunt is either-sex and before the regular firearms season opens.
Cordele Hatchery: Increase adult/child waterfowl hunt quota from two to three parties and allow standby hunters to fill unclaimed quota spots.
Dixon Memorial WMA: Change archery-only bear hunt on Oct. 13-15 to a primitive-weapons bear hunt, which would allow muzzleloader hunters.
Dodge County PFA: Add two 2-day adult/child turkey hunts with quotas of two.
FDR State Park: Reduce firearms deer hunts from two hunts to one quota hunt per year.
Hugh Gillis PFA: Add two 2-day adult/child turkey hunts with quotas of two.
Indian Ford Farms: Add adult/child dove hunt with quota of 50 on a new 100-acre dove field in Toombs County near Lyons.
Mayhaw WMA: Allow waterfowl hunting on 35-acre MARSH Project impoundment.
Ocmulgee WMA: Change first two weeks of turkey season to quota turkey hunts.
Oconee WMA, Dan Denton Waterfowl Area: Create a quota of two parties for Impoundment 3, which has always been open to the public for Saturday hunting. An average of 27 hunters and a high of 46 hunters have tried to hunt the small impoundment.
Paulks Pasture WMA: Add two days of hunting deer with dogs. Dog-deer hunting eliminated at Rogers WMA.
Perry Dove Field: Allow dove hunting on Saturdays during first and third dove seasons instead of just first dove season.
Rayonier Corridor Lands: No big-game hunting allowed any longer on an area of narrow 300-foot corridor along the Altamaha River.
Rich Mtn. WMA: Replace primitive-weapons deer hunt with an Adult-child/Honorary/Ladies firearms deer hunt.
Richard B. Russell State Park: Reduce firearms deer hunts from two hunts to one quota hunt per year.
Riverbend WMA: Replace wheelchair-only waterfowl hunt with an adult/child waterfowl hunt.
Rogers State Prison Farm: Allow three days of sign-in dove hunting on Department of Corrections property in Toombs County.
Silver Creek WMA: Establish quota hunts for quail hunting and reduce bag limit from 12 quail per person to six quail per person and 12 per hunting party.
Sprewell Bluff Natural Area: Provide three days of primitive-weapons deer hunting on an area that has been archery-only.