Deer season for modern firearms hunters opens statewide on Saturday, October 19. In the Northern Zone, the season runs through Jan. 1, 2003. In the Southern Zone, the season runs through Jan. 12, 2003. Last year, more than 279,000 firearms hunters harvested 371,500 deer. Approximately ninety-six percent of sportsmen and women use a modern firearm when pursuing deer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
"Hunters can look forward to both an increased bag limit on deer and an extended deer season," says WRD Assistant Chief of Game Management Dan Forster. "The season will begin one week earlier and hunters may now harvest a season total of 12 deer."
Georgia deer hunters have many places to choose from when deciding where to pursue game. WRD manages more than 90 wildlife management areas (WMA), encompassing more than one million acres, that provide a variety of hunting options, including archery, primitive weapons, modern firearms, adult-child hunts, ladies-only hunts and hunts for the physically disabled. Sportsmen and women also can hunt on open National Forest land, in accordance with state regulations and county restrictions. If hunting on a WMA that lies on National Forest land, WMA regulations apply. Hunters using private land must get written permission from the landowner prior to hunting.
All hunters should check the 2002-2003 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations, available on the WRD website at www.gohuntgeorgia.com or in booklet form at all license agents, for any special regulations for the counties that they plan to hunt, including either-sex days and antler restrictions. Hunters also should note the new season bag limit of 12 deer, only two of which must be antlered bucks. One of the two antlered bucks 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. Archery and muzzleloader deer hunters can continue to pursue deer during firearms season. However, they are required to adhere to the same hunting regulations as firearms hunters with the exception that archery hunters (including those using crossbows) can take deer of either sex during the entire deer season. 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 within WMAs or archery-only counties.
Deer hunters using modern firearms must possess a valid hunting license and a big game license. If hunting on a WMA, hunters also must possess a WMA license. Hunting licenses are available at over 1,200 license agents, online at www.gohuntgeorgia.com or by calling 1-888-748-6887.
For more information on firearms deer season, visit the WRD website at www.gohuntgeorgia.com, contact a WRD Game Management Office or call (770) 918-6416.