Nearly 630,000 people hunt in Georgia. Cumulatively, hunters spending more than 9.9 million days a year in the field.
Hunters utilize private lands as well as Georgia’s 104 wildlife management areas to get out and use their hunting license.
Georgia is one of the most biologically diverse states in the nation and a great place to get outside and hunt.
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1. What Species To Hunt In Georgia
1.1 White Tailed Deer
Georgia designated white tailed deer as the official state mammal in 2015. White tailed deer range throughout Georgia from forests to coastal marshes.
These elegant deer have a reddish-brown coat in summer that turns grayish brown in winter. The white underside of the deer’s tail is used to flash warnings and waves while deer run.
An animal of incredible beauty and power, white tailed deer are able to run up to 40 miles per hour, jump 9-foot fences and swim 13 miles per hour.
White tailed deer browse on leaves, buds, twigs and a wide variety of plants. They also eat fruits, mushrooms and agricultural crops like alfalfa, corn and soybeans.
Bear is a symbol of Georgia’s natural diversity, the only bear found in the state and a conversation success story.
Though now considered the most common bear in North America, the species were nearly eradicated from Georgia in the 1930s due to unregulated market hunting, illegal harvest including the killing of bears as “vermin” and large-scale habitat loss.
Sound wildlife management practices have restored Georgia’s black bears to a thriving population estimated at 4100 bears statewide.
Today, there are 21 species of crocodilians found throughout the world. Alligators and crocodiles are often mistaken for each other, but there are a few distinguishing characteristics by which to tell them apart.
For one, a crocodile’s jaw when closed exposes a few teeth, whereas the closed mouth of the alligator won’t reveal any. The habitat of these two species differs, as well. The majority of Georgia’s alligators are found in the largest freshwater refuge east of the Mississippi River, the Okefenokee Swamp.
In fact, an estimated 10,000 – 13,000 gators are thought to be living in the 396,000 acres of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).
A dove the size of a sparrow, the common ground dove forages in duty open areas, sometimes overshadowed by the grass clumps it is feeding beneath. Its dusty plumage is easy to overlook until the bird springs into flight with a soft rattling of feathers and a flash of reddish brown in the wings.
These small, attractive doves are common across the southernmost parts of the U.S. from California to Florida. People may not notice common ground doves until the birds flush into nearby brush, displaying rich chestnut wing patches as they fly.
When people do spot these tiny, short tailed doves, they sometimes mistake them for sparrows. You might hear a repetitive moaning call even if the bird is well concealed in the bushes.
Up in the northern mountains of Georgia live the ruffed grouse. They prefer higher elevations; quite a bit of the Chattahoochee National Forest has good habitat for them.
As far as public lands go, check out Cooper’s Creek, Rich Mountain and Chestatee for grouse hunting in Georgia. Certainly, a more obscure tradition than bobwhite quail hunting, there is a fascinating culture of grouse hunters in southern Appalachia that will trek miles for a handful of flushes.
If hard hunting is something that drives you, then hunting ruffed grouse in Georgia is worth the journey.
Georgia is one fine turkey hunting state to visit in spring. Although native to North America, the turkey probably got its name from the domesticated variety being imported to Britain in ships coming from the Levant via Spain.
The British at the time therefore associated the wild turkey with the country Turkey and the name prevails.
Wild hogs are an aggressive invasive species that threaten everything from farms to endangered sea turtles in Georgia. Hogs are reported to live in all of Georgia’s 159 counties, likely only trailing the massive hog population in Texas and Florida. Hogs are one of the greatest invasive species challenges facing Georgia.
2.1 White Tailed Deer
White tailed deer hunting season occurs in Georgia from September to January in certain counties. Deer hunting season also allows hunters to try their hands with a variety of different weapons, including archery and primitive weapons.
Before any hunter goes out in search of deer, they should familiarize themselves with Georgia’s regulations. For instance, according to eRegulations, “Not more than 10 deer hunters may be antlerless and not more than two may be antlered.”
Hunters can catch bears from September to October, but they are only permitted to catch a maximum of two bears per season. However, not more than one bear may be caught in the southern or central parts of Georgia.
Also, there are specific rules for cubs and their mothers, eRegulations notes that the “killing of females with cub(s) or bears under 75 pounds is prohibited.
Alligators are popular game for hunters in Georgia during the fall. However, the parks Department has to work year-round to ensure that there is a thriving population of alligator available to hunters.
The Georgia DNR’s wildlife resources division notes, ” As part of The Wildlife Resources Division’s (WRD) goal to maintain a sustainable alligator population in Georgia, records of the state’s alligator harvest, alligator hunter effort and alligator hunter success are acquired each year and then used to adjust hunting regulations in subsequent years to achieve desired results. “
Dove season runs from September to December but pauses for short periods of time throughout the fall. Hunters cannot bag more than 15 doves a day. The only exception to that are the Eurasian doves, which has no bag limit.
Grouse are chicken like birds that mostly feed on vegetation and span between 12 and 36 inches. It’s okay to hunt grouse in Georgia from September to November with the catch that hunters can only bag up to three per day.
When it comes to turkey, hunters are limited to just three turkeys per season. Additionally, turkey season runs from March to May and you are obligated to report your turkey to Georgia game check.
There is also special opportunity season, which allow kids 16 and under and those with mobility impairments to hunt. The same three turkey limit applies during this season.
It is lawful to hunt feral hogs all year long in Georgia with any weapon that’s legal in the state. Also, there is no limit to the number of hogs you can hunt, unlike other game.
You will need certain hunting supplies when hunting hogs at night. This includes a light, which must be affixed to a hat or belt or carried by the hunter.
3. Where To Hunt In Georgia
3.1 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
Each WMA offers unique hunting opportunities based upon factors such as habitat types, topography, access, wildlife population dynamics and public desires. Therefore, each WMA has specific rules and regulations. You should be familiar with the rules and regulations for a specific WMA before visiting.
3.2 Voluntary Public Access (VPA) Properties
Since 2014, through a USDA grant, the DNR Wildlife Resource Division (WRD) has been able to enhance its WMA program through temporary agreements with private landowners for public hunting opportunities are listed within WMA regulations., but some may not be included due to deadlines.
4. Georgia Hunting License
A hunting license is required for anyone who hurts within the state. License fees vary according to the hunter’s age and the type of license and whether the hunter is a Georgia resident.
Lifetime license are also available for Georgia residents. Hunters who lose their license may replace them by contacting the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
In addition to the required hunting license, you may need to purchase permits or tags depending on the species you are hunting and the area where you are hunting.
You can find out more about these requirements when you purchase your hunting license or you can visit the Georgia DNR Website for more information.
5. Hunters Education
People born after January 1, 1961 must have proof of successful completion of a hunting safety education course in order to obtain a Georgia hunting license (this includes non – residents).
Once complete, you will be issued your Hunter Safety Certificate and have access to it through GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com by using your GA DNR ID number.
A. A hunter education certificate is not required in order to purchase a one- or seven-day hunting license.
B. Hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 must have a hunter education before hunting, unless they are under the direct supervision of an adult who holds a valid hunting license.
C. Hunters under the age of 12 are not required to complete a hunter education course unless hunting on National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) or Park Services Lands.
6. Rules And Regulations
6.1.1 Convicted felons
They may not possess any firearm or muzzleloading firearm while hunting unless that individual’s right to carry has been restored. This does not apply to archery equipment, air bows on air rifles.
6.1.2 Loaded weapon
A firearm is considered loaded if a shell is in the chamber or magazine, a percussion cap is on the nipple or powder is present on the frizzen pan. A crossbow is considered loaded if it is cocked.
6.1.3 Plugged shotguns
For hunting migratory game birds, shotguns shall be limited to a capacity of not more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined. If a plug is necessary to limit the capacity, the plug shall be of 1 piece and incapable of being removed from the loading end of the magazine.
Lawfully possessed suppressors may be used for hunting, unless otherwise specified. Permission of the landowner is required on private land.
6.2 Archery Equipment
Crossbows, longbows, recurve bows and compound bows are allowed for hunting any game or feral hog. Arrows for hunt deer, bear or feral hog must be broad head type. Draw weight, let off, arrow length and sights are not restricted.
6.3 Primitive Weapons
Archery equipment, air bows, air rifles and any muzzleloading firearm are legal during primitive weapons season. Scopes are legal.
6.4 Legal Hours
Legal hours for hunting are 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset, except alligators, raccoons, opossums, foxes, coyotes, bobcats and feral hogs which may be hunted at night.
Any light used to hunt raccoons, opossums, foxes, bobcats must be carried on the body of the hunter, affixed to a helmet or hat worn by the hunter or be a part of a belt system worn by the hunter. There is no voltage restriction on such lights.
In conclusion, the circle of life is what we call it even though others think it’s wrong. Sports like hunting and fishing are truly a good thing to have because without them there would be no humans on earth.
Hunting has kept us alive for generations. People who hunt have small grocery bills because they don’t have to buy meat and they live longer off of the fresh meat than those who eat farm raised meat that was frozen at the store.
There are many reasons why people who hunt should have more respect and why it should be allowed instead of dismissed. People are safer, have more to eat and have more money to spend when they have hunters in their family.
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Hi, I’m Vineet. Creator of DivinioWorld. I am an outdoor enthusiast and absolutely love researching, learning, and applying skills and knowledge in the real world. I started DivinioWorld to share everything I know so that even a beginner can follow the ropes and master the subtle art of outdoors adventure and survival.