SOCIAL CIRCLE — While archery and primitive weapons season occurs first, many hunters anxiously wait until the opening day of firearms season to get into the woods.
That wait is over as firearms deer season begins today and lasts through Jan. 1 in the Northern Zone and through Jan. 15 in the Southern Zone.
“Regulated hunting is the most cost-effective and efficient means of managing the deer herd,” said John W. Bowers, assistant chief of Game Management for the Wildlife Resources Division. “In addition, sportsmen and women provide more than $30 million each year to fund wildlife conservation in the state through license fees and self-imposed excise taxes collected on the purchase of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and fishing equipment.”
More than 1 million acres of public hunting land is available to hunters in Georgia, including more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas. In addition to traditional hunts, many special hunts are offered, including ladies-only and adult/child hunts. Dates and locations for these hunts, as well as WMA maps, are available in the 2012-13 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations .
Through the use of regulated deer hunting, Georgia’s deer herd remains a quality, healthy herd with an estimated statewide population of about one million deer.
Hunters may harvest up to 10 antlerless deer and no more than two antlered deer (one of the two antlered deer must have a minimum of four points, 1 inch or longer, on one side of the antlers).
A valid hunting license is required to hunt deer during firearms season, as is a big-game license and a deer-harvest record. In most cases, a separate WMA license is required to hunt on a WMA. All deer hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of fluorescent orange above the waist to legally hunt during firearms season except on archery-only areas. Licenses can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-366-2661; also, there is a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com/recreational-licenses.