Hunters Prepare for Primitive Weapons Deer Season

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Primitive weapons deer season, during which hunters may use either archery equipment or muzzleloading firearms, begins Saturday, Oct. 9. Last year more than 69,000 muzzleloader hunters harvested approximately 22,300 deer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). The statewide 2004 primitive weapons deer season is Oct. 9-15.

“Hunters that participate in the primitive weapons season – especially those that use muzzleloaders - are typically excited because it allows them an opportunity to hunt a week prior to the traditional firearms hunting season,” says WRD Chief of Game Management Todd Holbrook. “Hunters who use muzzleloaders should be sure to note all special regulations regarding this hunting season – especially as pertains to scopes on muzzleloaders.”

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, including archers, 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 should check regulations to verify which WMAs are available during primitive weapons deer season). Hunters may purchase licenses at over 1,200 license agents, on the Internet at or by phone at 1-888-748-6887.

For more information on the primitive weapons deer season, visit the WRD website at, contact the local WRD Game Management Office or call (770) 918-6416.