Georgia DNR changes deer hunting regulations

SOCIAL CIRCLE — The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is reminding deer hunters of a regulation change this year in the number of available days to take deer of either sex, depending on the type of equipment used and the area hunted. The change takes effect Dec. 1.

According to the DNR, during the period of Dec. 1-25, hunters should make special note of the following regulations:

• Archery equipment may be used for either sex statewide.

• Firearms and primitive weapons may be used for deer of either sex in counties with antler restrictions (including Dooly, Hancock, Harris, Macon, Meriwether, Montgomery, Randolph, Talbot and Troup counties) and certain metro-Atlanta counties (including Forsyth north of Ga. Highway 20, Fulton south of Ga. Highway 92, Gwinnett and Rockdale).

• Archery, shotguns and muzzleloading firearms may be used for deer of either sex in that portion of Forsyth County lying south of Ga. Highway 20.

• Hunters using firearms or muzzleloaders in areas not detailed above may take bucks only.

The number of firearms either-sex days was reduced based on a several factors, according to the DNR, including the decline in the number of fawns that survive into fall and an increase in doe harvest rates. These factors warranted regulatory changes to reduce the doe harvest. For more information on this change, visit www.eregulations.com/georgia/hunting/why-fewer-either-sex-days/ .

Hunters are allowed a season bag limit of 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer (one of the two antlered deer must have a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers). Special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas. Counties in the metro Atlanta area (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale) offer either-sex archery deer hunting Sept. 14 — Jan. 31.

To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, big game license and a current deer harvest record. If hunting on a Wildlife Management Area, a WMA license is required. Licenses can be purchased online at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/licenses-permits-passes, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).

Georgia offers more than 90 state-operated wildlife management areas for the public’s use. State-managed public hunting lands are funded through a combination of state license fees and matching federal funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Wildlife Restoration Program. Hunters account for $977 million in retail sales in Georgia each year with a $1.6 billion ripple effect and almost 24,000 jobs.

For more information on deer hunting seasons, regulations, licenses and WMA maps, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting.