By MELISSA CUMMINGS
Time to start filling the freezer! The statewide archery deer hunting season began Saturday, Sept. 10, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
Last year, 83,000 archery hunters harvested over 44,000 deer. Statewide, hunters can use archery equipment throughout the entire 2022-2023 deer season.
“Archery hunting season is nearly here and bowhunters get the “first shot,” pun intended,” said state deer biologist Charlie Killmaster. ”While it may seem too hot to hunt the early part of archery season, it is an excellent time to pattern deer. Persimmons are a highly prized natural food source during the early season, but don’t overlook the trails between good cover and a food source to locate mature bucks.”
Georgia WRD operates more than 100 public wildlife management areas (WMAs). These areas offer hunting dates throughout deer season, and even some specialty deer hunts, including youth, ladies, seniors, and disability and returning veterans license holders. Maps, dates and more info can be found at GeorgiaWildlife.com/locations/hunting.
Hunters can find additional hunting opportunities on Voluntary Public Access, or VPA, properties. These properties are available thanks to a USDA grant that allows for the arrangement of temporary agreements with private landowners for public hunting opportunities. More information at GeorgiaWildlife.com/VPA-HIP.
“Interested in eating from locally available, sustainable sources?” questions Killmaster. “Venison is a nutrient-rich, heart-healthy lean protein and there are so many amazing ways to cook it. Check out our blog at GeorgiaWildlife.blog and type ‘venison’ in the search bar – you won’t be disappointed!”
State law allows hunters to harvest up to 10 antlerless deer, and no more than two antlered deer (with one of the two antlered deer having a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers) or a minimum 15-inch outside antler spread. For most hunters in the state, the deer season ends on Jan. 8. offer either-sex archery deer hunting through Jan. 31. Additionally, deer of either sex may be taken with archery equipment at any time on private land during the deer season.
To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. Licenses can be purchased online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 1 (800) 366-2661, or at a license agent (list of agents available online).
All harvested deer must be reported through Georgia Game Check within 24 hours. Deer can be reported on the Outdoors GA app (which works regardless of cell service), at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.
For more on deer hunting, including finding a game processor, reviewing regulations, viewing maps (either sex day or the rut map), visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/deer-info.
Melissa Cummings is the Communications and Outreach Specialist for the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.