Muzzleloader users are eagerly awaiting the opening day of primitive weapons deer season, Saturday, Oct. 11, when hunters may use either archery equipment or muzzleloading firearms. Last year more than 64,000 muzzleloader hunters harvested approximately 23,700 deer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). The 2003 primitive weapons season runs from Saturday, Oct. 11 through Friday, Oct. 17 statewide and hunters can take deer of either sex.
“The primitive weapons season continues to be of high interest to hunters in Georgia,” says WRD Chief of Game Management Todd Holbrook. “Twenty-three percent of hunters in Georgia used a muzzleloader during deer season. That number has increased over the past several years but is starting to level off.”
During the primitive weapons season hunters may use archery equipment (including crossbows), muzzleloading shotguns (20 gauge or larger) and muzzleloading firearms (.44 caliber or larger). All hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist during the primitive weapons season. Hunters may use iron or non-magnifying fiberoptic sights on muzzleloaders during the primitive weapons season. Scopes and other optical sighting devices may not be used on muzzleloaders during this special week-long season. Scopes are legal on archery equipment. In-line rifles, as long as they must be loaded through the muzzle, are legal.
Hunters who participate in primitive weapons season may harvest deer of either sex during the entire week of the season in counties open for firearms deer hunting. Hunters also should note that the season bag limit remains at 12 deer, only two of which may be antlered bucks. If two antlered bucks are taken during the season, one of the two must have at least four points (one inch or longer) on one side of the antlers. There are no antler restrictions for the other of the two antlered bucks except in counties with special antler restrictions.
Georgia sportsmen and women must possess both a primitive weapons license and a big game license to hunt deer during the primitive weapons season. Hunters also must possess a wildlife management area (WMA) license to hunt on a WMA. Hunters may purchase licenses at over 1,200 license agents, on the Internet at www.gohuntgeorgia.com or by phone at 1-888-748-6887.
For more information on the primitive weapons season, visit the WRD website at www.gohuntgeorgia.com, contact the local WRD Game Management Office or call (770) 918-6416.