SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Hunters and others recently may have heard one of multiple news sources claim that the deer season length was to be reduced in the 2013-14 hunting year. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division wishes to address this concern and remind residents to always check www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/regulations for correct information.
"The proposed regulations under consideration recommend a 25-day reduction only in the number of either-sex or 'doe days,' not in the length of the overall deer season," said John Bowers, assistant chief of the Game Management Section. "This proposed change is a result of scientific data and deer hunters will still be able to hunt bucks during either-sex days."
Long-term data indicate a statewide decline in the fawn recruitment rate in all physiographic regions of the state. At the same time, does have comprised 60 to 65 percent of the annual deer harvest. Additionally, the harvest of does has increased by 13 percent over the past few years. In other words, there are fewer deer being recruited to replenish and stabilize the deer population. The broad trend of declining fawn recruitment rates coupled with high levels of doe harvest warrant a statewide regulatory action, according to a press release issued by DNR.
Additionally, as indicated by a marked increase in public dissatisfaction related to antlerless deer harvest, declines in deer density have become an issue of concern among many deer hunters in Georgia.
"We believe the proposed reduction in either-sex days strikes a reasonable balance between diverse hunter desires while attempting to address statewide biological concerns," said Bowers. "There is no proposal that will satisfy everyone. The department has done its best to develop a balanced proposal. While the proposed reduction in either-sex days reduces the opportunity to harvest does, it maintains the opportunity to deer hunt and harvest antlered bucks."
Deer hunting in Georgia is responsible for more than $537 million in retail sales and supports more than 11,500 jobs. In fact, deer hunting in Georgia has an economic impact in excess of $890 million. Additionally, since 1939, hunters have directly contributed more than $165 million for wildlife conservation in Georgia.
Interested persons have several ways to comment on the proposed changes. The Wildlife Resources Division has scheduled three public hearings to provide the public an opportunity to share comments on the proposed hunting regulation changes.
All meetings will begin at 7 p.m.:
-- April 23: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Health Sciences Building, 2802 Moore Highway, Tifton
-- April 24: The Roberts Chapel Auditorium, State Offices South at Tift College, 300 Patrol Road, Forsyth
-- April 25: Amicalola Electric, 544 Highway 15 South, Jasper
Those unable to attend a meeting may submit input either electronically or in written statement form. Input must be received by 4:30 p.m. on April 30. Written statements should be mailed to: GA DNR/Wildlife Resources Division/Game Management Section; Attn: John W. Bowers; 2070 U.S. Highway 278, S.E.; Social Circle, GA 30025. Statements may be electronically submitted at: www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/SubmitComments.
For more information or to view the proposed regulation changes, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/proposedregulations or contact Hunter Services at 770-761-3045.