Small Game Season Still Open

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Deer hunting season may be over, but the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) reminds sportsmen and women that the small game hunting season runs through mid-to-late February, depending on the species. WRD also encourages hunters to take this opportunity to introduce a youth to the hunting tradition and teach them that their support of hunting activities help conserve wildlife.

"The pursuit of small game can be a great introduction to hunting for a young person or someone new to the sport," says WRD Chief of Game Management Todd Holbrook. "Deer and turkey hunting are extremely popular, but they require much more patience. Small game hunting is typically more active and offers a new hunter increased chances to see and harvest game."

Pursuing small game allows hunters a chance to sharpen their shooting skills and the increased number of small game available, such as squirrels and rabbits, greatly improves a young hunter's chance of spotting and harvesting something. WRD operates more than 70 wildlife management area's (WMA) in Georgia that offer excellent opportunities to hunt small game throughout most of the remaining season. National Forest land and private land also are available for hunting. Hunters should always get permission from the landowner before hunting on private land.

The hunting season for rabbits and squirrels runs through Feb. 28 with a daily bag limit of 12. Opossums and raccoon hunting seasons run through Feb. 15. There is no daily bag limit for opossums. The daily bag limit for raccoons is one in the Northern Zone and three in the Southern Zone. For information on WMAs, other small game, zones, seasons and bag limits, check the 2001-2002 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Handbook. Hunting regulations also are available at the WRD website at Firearms that can be used to hunt small game include shotguns with No. 2 or smaller shot and rifles or handguns of .22-cal. rim-fire or any muzzleloading firearm. Hunters must have a current hunting license and a WMA license to hunt on a WMA.

There are more than 403,000 sportsmen and women who hunt deer, turkey, waterfowl and other species in Georgia. Money is generated for the state through the purchase of hunting licenses and equipment. These funds are then used to support the following programs: the operation and management of state WMAs, conducting hunter education training, providing technical assistance to landowners on wildlife management, purchase of land for public hunting and the construction and operation of public shooting ranges. For more information on small game hunting opportunities, contact the nearest WRD Game Management office or call (770) 918-6416.