Firearms Deer Season Starting in Ga.

While archery and primitive weapons season occur first, many hunters anxiously wait until the opening day of firearms season to get into the woods.

That wait is almost over as firearms deer season begins in Georgia on Saturday, Oct. 20 and lasts through Jan. 1, 2013 in the Northern Zone and in the Southern Zone, through Jan. 15, 2013.

A valid hunting license is required to hunt deer during firearms season, as is a big game license and a deer harvest record. In most cases, a separate WMA license is required to hunt on a WMA. All deer hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of fluorescent orange above the waist to legally hunt during firearms season except on archery-only areas.

More than one million acres of public hunting land is available to hunters in Georgia, including more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas. In addition to traditional hunts, many special hunts are offered, including ladies-only and adult/child hunts.

During the 2011-2012 firearms deer season, almost 280,000 licensed deer hunters harvested more than 340,000 deer in Georgia. Through the use of regulated deer hunting, officials say that Georgia’s deer herd remains a quality, healthy herd with an estimated statewide population of about one million deer.

Wildlife Resources Division Game Management Assistant Chief John W. Bowers says that regulated hunting is the most cost effective and efficient means of managing the deer herd. In addition, he says that sportsmen and women provide more than $30 million each year to fund wildlife conservation in the state through license fees and self-imposed excise taxes collected on the purchase of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and fishing equipment.

Hunters may harvest up to 10 antlerless deer and no more than two antlered deer, while one of the two antlered deer must have a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers.

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