The Board of Natural Resources recently approved proposed changes to hunting regulations for the 2011-13 hunting seasons and adopted proposed rules for the Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass.
“Regarding hunting regulations, changes include eliminating biologically unnecessary regulations, simplifying regulations, expanding hunting opportunities where biologically appropriate and responding to public desires,” Assistant Chief of Game Management John W. Bowers said.
“Some of these changes include elimination of raccoon zone lines, expanding woodcock hunting season, providing a one-day bear season in certain central Georgia counties and expanding hunting opportunities on Wildlife Management Areas and State Parks.”
The purpose of hunting regulations are to manage Georgia’s game birds and game animals according to the sound principles of wildlife management that achieve a balance between biological constraints and public objectives for the use of these renewable natural resources.
The board also adopted rules pertaining to the new Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass. A GORP will be required for people ages 16-64 using certain designated sites (e.g., shooting ranges and multi-use trails) on state-owned Wildlife Management Areas and Public Fishing areas.
Anyone who has a valid WMA license, lifetime sportsmen’s license, honorary license or three-day hunting and fishing license is exempt from the requirement to purchase a GORP.
The GORP fee schedule is as follows:
• Individual, three-day GORP: $3.50.
• Individual, annual GORP: $19.
• Small-group, three-day GORP: $10.
• Small-group, annual GORP: $35.
A small group is no more than eight people who visit a designated recreation site in a single vehicle. The group pass should be displayed in the vehicle windshield.
All GORPs will be available through the same licensing system used to issue hunting and fishing licenses. The GORP requirements will become effective Jan. 1, 2012.
“Since the establishment of WMAs and PFAs, hunters and anglers have been the primary source of funding to maintain and operate these important and valuable conservation areas,” Bowers said. “The establishment of the GORP seeks to increase the self-sufficiency of maintaining and operating WMAs and PFAs by capturing revenue from non-hunting and angling constituents who have used these areas for many years without contributing direct financial support.”
The approved regulation changes can be viewed in electronic format by going the division’s website, www.gohuntgeorgia.com, and selecting “Hunting,” “Hunting Regulations,” then “Proposed Hunting Regulations.”