With an estimated 50,000 deer-car collisions annually in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division advises motorists across the state to be extra cautious of increased deer and wildlife sightings this fall season. “Some Georgia motorists may only expect deer to cross rural roadways, while in fact, urban and suburban roads are also prime areas for deer-car collisions,” explains Don McGowan, Wildlife Resources Division biologist. “Hunting is oftentimes mistakenly blamed for increased deer-car collisions in autumn when, in reality, deer are on the move due to a series of both natural and human causes.”
Saturday, Oct. 22, the opening day of firearms season for deer hunting, also is Turn In Poachers (TIP) Day in Georgia, according to a proclamation signed by Gov. Nathan Deal. TIP, Inc., is a non-profit organization protecting wildlife from poachers by increasing public support for conservation rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. According to the proclamation, “the ownership of all wildlife is by the state of Georgia. It is held in trust for all Georgians to enjoy. A poacher is one who takes wildlife illegally thereby depriving other citizens of our state’s natural resources.”
It is finally that time of the year again for Georgia hunters. Firearms deer season opens Saturday, Oct. 22 and lasts through Jan. 1, 2012 in the Northern Zone and in the Southern Zone, through Jan. 15, 2012. “Regulated hunting is the most cost effective and efficient means of managing the deer herd,” says John W. Bowers, assistant chief of Game Management for the Wildlife Resources Division. “In addition, 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.”
For the 2010-2011 hunting season, Georgia reported 44 hunting incidents, 22 of which involved firearms. With the upcoming Oct. 22 opening of firearms deer hunting season, hunters are encouraged to review the ‘Four Primary Rules of Firearms Safety’ before heading to the woods. “Ultimately, each hunter is responsible for keeping themselves and others safe while pursuing deer this hunting season,” says Walter Lane, Hunter Development Program Manager of the Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “This includes respecting all firearms safety rules and being absolutely certain of their target and what is in front of it and beyond it.”
Since 1993, hunters have been bringing meat to the tables of those in need through the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program. Through this successful program, hunters have donated enough venison to serve more than 1.5 million meals. This year, hunters are asked to give a portion of their processed deer through the “Drop-Back-a-Pack” campaign at one of 12 participating processors through Jan. 15, 2012.
The largest, most successful wildlife conservation program in the world, the Federal Wildlife Restoration Program, is fueled by hunters. Over the past 70 years, hunters nationwide have contributed more than $6.8 billion dollars to wildlife conservation efforts. In Georgia alone, since 1939, hunters have contributed more than $145 million for wildlife conservation in Georgia.
Deer season is the most popular hunting season of the year for hunters, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, and this year archers get first draw beginning Sat., Sept. 10. Last year, 122,316 archery hunters harvested more than 66,352 deer. Statewide archery season runs through Oct. 14, but special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division reminds all deer hunters, including big game license holders, honorary and lifetime license holders, hunters under 16 years of age and landowners, to obtain a new deer harvest record for the upcoming season. Deer harvest records are required for any person hunting deer, regardless of age, are free of charge and available at http://www.gohuntgeorgia.com/recreational-licenses or at any retail license agent.
Though commonly used by deer hunters everywhere, tree stands often are improperly installed and, as a result, are considered the leading cause of hunting-related incidents, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. Different types of tree stands are available, and each type requires the user to be familiar with variations to ensure safety.
The 2011-2012 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide is available online and in print announces the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. This guide provides information on season dates, bag limits, hunting licenses, wildlife management areas and much more and is available to view, download and print at http://www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations . Printed copies are available at Wildlife Resources Game Management and Law Enforcement offices and license vendors throughout Georgia.