Opening day for archery deer season is Saturday, Sept. 10, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
In 2015, 132,641 archery hunters harvested more than 66,039 deer. Statewide, hunters can use archery equipment throughout the entire 2016-2017 deer season, which ends Jan. 8, 2017.
“The early part of archery season occurs before mature bucks shift into their fall movement patterns,” said state deer program coordinator Charlie Killmaster in a press release. “With their home range near its smallest at this time of year, hunters should concentrate on food sources closest to thick cover for the best chance at an early-season buck.”
State-managed public hunting lands are funded through a combination of state license fees and matching federal funds from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Restoration Program. Hunters account for $977 million in retail sales in Georgia each year with a $1.6 billion ripple effect and almost 24,000 jobs.
Many public lands offer specialty hunts, including primitive weapons hunts, adult/child hunts and ladies-only hunts, and dates and locations for these hunts can be found in the 2016-2017 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide. Georgia offers more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas (WMAs) for public use.
Hunters are allowed a season bag limit of 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer. One of the two antlered deer must have a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers. Special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas.
Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties offer either-sex archery deer hunting through Jan. 31. Deer of either sex may be taken with archery equipment at any time during the deer season on private land.
This year, all hunters on both public and private lands must record their deer on the harvest record and report their harvest using Georgia Game Check atgeorgiawildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck.
Hunters must have a valid hunting license and a big game license to pursue deer in Georgia. A WMA license is also required for those hunting on a WMA. To purchase a license, visit gohuntgeorgia.com/licenses-permits-passes or call 1-800-366-2661.
For more information on deer hunting seasons, regulations, licenses and WMA maps, visit gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting. For a look at the new interactive map showing the opportunities available for Georgia countries, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/deer-opportunities.