The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a quota deer hunt at Panola Mountain State Park on November 13-14. During this time, the park will be closed to visitors.
The hunt is needed to help control deer populations in and around the park. After conducting surveys, biologists estimated last year that Panola Mountain State Park had 60 to 70 deer per square mile, while the recommended population is closer to 15 to 20 deer per square mile for the area. Thirty-one deer were harvested last fall, bringing the herd down to a more healthy size. Hosting hunts on a regular basis will help maintain this smaller population.
Each year, more than 50,000 deer are hit by vehicles in Georgia. Two highways near Panola Mountain State Park – 155 and 212 – consistently rank among the highest in deer-car collisions. DNR officials expect the potentially fatal collisions to be reduced by actively managing the deer population within the park. A more natural herd size improves biodiversity, since deer may reduce vegetation needed for food and shelter by other species.
Officials emphasize the hunts are not recreational, but a valuable and effective resource management tool. For select hunts within state parks, hunters are chosen by a lottery system. To learn more about hunting in Georgia, visit www.georgiawildlife.org/hunting.