It is time for pre-season trout stocking and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to stock more than one million trout in Georgia streams, rivers and small lakes by the end of the year. Many streams will be stocked by the end of the month and in time for opening day for seasonal trout stream fishing – Sat., March 26th.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recently selected Dennis Ellis as the 2010 Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. This award is presented annually in recognition of an instructor who displays outstanding volunteer efforts in educating sportsmen and women on wildlife conservation and the importance of safety while hunting.
Hunter education courses in Georgia are offered three ways: by classroom, CD-Rom or online. “Because of the importance of the information learned in a hunter education course, our agency has made efforts to meet the needs of many users,” says Walter Lane, Wildlife Resources Division’s Hunter Development Program Manager. “The options offered include a traditional classroom course, a CD-rom course and three online courses.”
Successful hunting trips require a combination of skill, patience and most importantly, preparation. As turkey season rapidly approaches, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division encourages preparation first, hoping that hunters will brush up on important turkey hunting safety tips before hitting the woods. “Hunters should be 110% certain of their target AND what is beyond it before pulling the trigger and should never shoot at sound or movement,” advises Walter Lane, Hunter Development Program Manager. “Turkey hunters have to utilize their firearms safety knowledge and remember ways to keep themselves and others safe while in the woods.”
The opening day of the Georgia turkey hunting season is Sat., Mar. 26 and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division anticipates that the 2011 season should be fair, with harvest likely down from the 2010 season. Statistics from the 2010 season harvest summary indicate that an estimated 47,275 resident Georgia hunters bagged 34,001 turkeys last year.
Aimlessly casting a line and hoping for a bite is history thanks to Georgia’s online fishing prospects. Anglers of all skill levels can benefit from these prospect guides that detail 31 reservoirs and 18 rivers and include maps, local weather forecasts, best bets and species-specific techniques, all in one convenient location - http://www.gofishgeorgia.com (select “Fishing” and then “Fishing Opportunities”).
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recently awarded more than 25 anglers with a 2010 angler award for reeling in an outstanding catch (or catches!) last year. The angler award program recognizes those who catch fish that meet or exceed a specific weight or length for that particular species. “Presenting angler awards to those who made some great catches last year is a great time to not only applaud the award recipients, but it’s also a wonderful time to recognize the great fishing opportunities available to everyone in the state,” says Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management Chief John Biagi.
The crisp, swift-flowing waters of north Georgia’s rivers and creeks offer an abundance of trout angling opportunities this winter. Home to some of the southeast’s finest trout streams and three species of trout - rainbow, brown and brook trout - Georgia claims nearly 4,000 miles of streams, and more than half lie in the northern part of the state in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Challenge-hungry anglers should visit the state’s major reservoirs now for cold weather striped bass action. This time of year, five to 15-pounders are common, with the occasional thrill of a 30-pound or greater catch. Striped bass are abundant in many reservoirs across the state thanks to the stocking efforts of the Fisheries Management Section of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. Stripers prefer water temperatures less than 75 degrees and tend to concentrate over river channels and around submerged islands where threadfin shad and blueback herring are abundant.
The brief Georgia winter provides a great opportunity to get excellent results for crappie fishing, and several reservoirs across the state offer rewards for anglers willing to brave the bitter cold temperatures. “Anglers searching for crappie need to concentrate on cold weather ‘hot spots’,” says John Biagi, chief of Fisheries Management for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “Crappie fishing brings a lot of action which means it is an excellent time to engage the entire family and/or to introduce someone new to the fun aspect of the sport.”
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division is one of four states recently recognized by the American Fisheries Society’s Fisheries Administrator’s Section for their efforts to provide the public with quality fishing opportunities and aquatic education programs. Other state agencies recognized include the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
More than 30 schools and almost 800 student archers competed at the recent Georgia-NASP State Tournament. That is almost double the number of participants at last year’s event! The state tournament is coordinated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division and is open to all Georgia schools enrolled in the National Archery in the Schools program (NASP).
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recently selected Alex Coley as the new Assistant Chief for the Game Management Section. He fills the position left vacant by Rusty Garrison, who recently assumed duties overseeing the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. “Alex will be a great asset to the operations of the Game Management Section and the Headquarters Office,” says WRD Chief of Game Management Mark Whitney. “His background in wildlife research and employment positions from different states, including Tennessee and Florida, as well as his work with our agency, will be a tremendous benefit as we move ahead.”
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recently selected Captain Mark Padgett as the new Region Supervisor for the Region II Law Enforcement Office, headquartered in Gainesville. He fills the position left vacant by retired Captain Rick Godfrey. Region II encompasses the northeastern part of the state. “I am very pleased to announce the promotion of Capt. Mark Padgett as he has been of such tremendous value to this agency over his 25 year career” says Division Law Enforcement Chief Homer Bryson. ” I truly look forward to seeing him provide leadership as the Region Supervisor of Northeast Georgia and continuing to give his all to ensure the safety of the public and the protection of the natural resources of this State.”
More than 700 students throughout the state will compete Feb. 11 in the 5th annual National Archery in the Schools Georgia State Tournament. The state’s top student archers from more than 30 elementary, middle and high schools will convene in Perry for the tournament. The state tournament is coordinated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division and is open to all Georgia schools enrolled in the National Archery in the Schools program (NASP).
The Georgia Capitol is going to get a little taste of the wild this Tuesday as sportsmen’s groups from around the state gather to meet with legislators for the annual “Sportsmen’s Day at the Capitol.” A broad spectrum of sportsmen’s and conservation groups will participate with displays, educational materials and interactive activities. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will also participate with a 3D fishing simulator and a special appearance by the World Champion National Archery in the Schools Program Archery Team from Woodlawn Elementary in Chatsworth, GA.
Youth interested in the outdoors can test their knowledge, demonstrate their shooting and outdoor skills, and be eligible to win a muzzleloader at the state’s annual Hunter Education Skills Challenge event scheduled for Jan. 15, 2011 at Clybel Wildlife Management Area in Mansfield. Open to all youth, 18 years of age and younger who have received their hunter education certificate, the challenge aims to test participants’ abilities in seven outdoor components: archery, air rifle, shotgun, a safety trail challenge (shoot/don’t shoot scenarios), orienteering, wildlife identification and a hunter responsibility exam.
The new 2011 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations are now available. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recently distributed printed versions of the regulations to all Division offices and facilities, a number of State Parks and fishing license retailers statewide. An online version of the new regulations already is available at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com.
In news that is sure to be welcome in the current economy – some of the transaction fees for recreational licenses are being reduced, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. The internet transaction fee is going from $2.75 to $2.50 and the in-store transaction fee will go from $3.25 to $3.00. The telephone transaction fee will increase, going from $4.00 to $5.00. These fee changes will go into effect on Jan. 3, 2011.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division will hold eight public meetings across the state to accept public input for consideration in the development of hunting regulations for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 hunting seasons. Public input is an important and valuable part of this process. The Department is interested in input that seeks to simplify regulations and encourage the recruitment of young hunters and retention of existing hunters.