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Wednesday May 6th, 2015 12:39PM

Firearms deer season opens Oct. 19

By Staff
SOCIAL CIRCLE - The wait is almost over for hunters as firearms deer hunting season begins Saturday, Oct. 19 and lasts through Jan. 1, 2014 in the Northern Zone and in the Southern Zone, through Jan. 15, 2014.

"Regulated hunting is the most cost effective and efficient means of managing the deer herd," says John W. Bowers, chief of game management for the Wildlife Resources Division. "In addition, deer hunting provides an economic benefit in excess of $890 million to the state."

During the 2012-2013 firearms deer season, more than 295,000 licensed deer hunters harvested more than 315,000 deer in Georgia. Georgia's deer herd remains a stable and healthy herd with an estimated statewide population of about one million deer.

Beginning this season, the number of firearms either-sex days is reduced in most counties. Biological data indicating a declining statewide trend in the number of fawns that survive into the fall and a steady increase in doe harvest rates informed this science-based decision. Additionally, these biological trends were echoed in concerns expressed through public comment. These factors warranted regulatory changes to reduce the doe harvest. For more information on this change, visit www.eregulations.com/georgia/hunting/why-fewer-either-sex-days/ .

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. Dates and locations for these hunts, as well as WMA maps, are available in the 2013-2014 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations .

Hunters may harvest up to 10 antlerless deer and no more than 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).

To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, big game license and a current deer harvest record. If hunting on a WMA, a WMA license is required. Licenses can be purchased online at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/licenses-permits-passes , by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).

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.

For more information on deer hunting seasons and regulations, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations .
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