AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Thousands of Georgia hunters will be picking up their rifles and heading out in hopes of bagging that big buck when firearms deer season opens this Saturday, October 17. Last season more than 300,000 hunters took part—harvesting more than 400,000 deer.
Not only is hunting a popular pastime that puts food on the table, it also helps manage the deer population while adding millions of dollars to Georgia's economy. "Hunters spend millions of dollars every year traveling to hunting locations, purchasing equipment from local retailers, and visiting lodging and dining establishments," says John W. Bowers, chief of game management for the Wildlife Resources Division.
Hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. They also must wear at least 500 square inches of fluorescent orange above the waist to legally hunt during firearms season except on archery-only areas. Last season 33 hunting incidents, 15 of which involved firearms. DNR is reminding all hunters to follow the safety checklist that can be remembered with the acronym ACTT:
1. A – Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
2. C – Control the muzzle of the firearm at all times.
3. T – Be certain of the Target and what is in front of it and beyond it.
4. T – Keep your finger outside of the Trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
Deer season runs through January 10, 2016 in Georgia. Hunters are allowed a harvest of up to 10 antlerless deer and no more than two antlered deer (with one of the two antlered deer having a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers). While these are the maximum limits, harvest of female deer should be appropriate for the property hunted. Information on establishing deer harvest guidelines for your property can be found at www.eregulations.com/georgia/hunting/general-hunting-information.
Georgia hunters have access to more than one million acres of public hunting land across the state, including over 100 state-operated wildlife management areas. WMA maps, can be found in the 2015-2016 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations.
Georgia's new deer rut map can be found at www.georgiawildlife.com/rut-map . For more information on deer hunting seasons, regulations, licenses and WMA maps, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting.
You can also get a preview of what to expect during deer season with a brand, new video. Go to www.youtube.com/georgiawildlife and click on "Georgia Deer Season 2015-2016."