Firearms Season for Deer Opens October 16th

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White-tailed deer are the most popular game animal in Georgia, and since 95 percent of hunters pursue this species using modern firearms, they eagerly are anticipating the upcoming opening day of firearms deer season on Saturday, Oct. 16. Firearms season in the Northern Zone runs through Jan. 1, 2005 and in the Southern Zone, the season runs through Jan. 9, 2005. Last year, 289,703 firearms hunters harvested 404,100 deer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

“Deer hunting in Georgia offers three different seasons – archery, primitive weapons and firearms,” says WRD Chief of Game Management Todd Holbrook. “The firearms season is the biggest hunting season of the year because it is the time when most hunters are out and actively pursuing game.”

Deer hunters can choose from a variety of hunting locations in Georgia. WRD manages more than 90 wildlife management areas (WMAs), 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. WMA regulations apply on WMAs located on National Forest land. Hunters must obtain written permission from the landowner prior to hunting on private land.

All hunters should check the 2004-2005 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations, available at www.gohuntgeorgia.com or from license agents, for any special county regulations, including either-sex days and antler restrictions. The season bag limit remains at 12 deer, only two of which may be antlered bucks. One of the two antlered bucks must have at least four points (one inch or longer) on one side. There are no antler restrictions for the second buck except in counties with special antler restrictions. Archery and muzzleloader deer hunters can continue to pursue deer during firearms season but must adhere to the same hunting regulations as firearms hunters. 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.