Chief of Game Management John Bowers said hunting may be a challenge this year.
“Spring and summer seasons with abundant rainfall, like Georgia has experienced this year, generally produce abundant natural foods,” Bowers said in a news release. “These conditions often contribute to an increase in deer quality, but can also make it a challenging year to hunt deer.”
Last year, 113,566 archers harvested more than 60,190 deer, according to the GDNR. Deer hunting with firearms begins Oct. 19.
Melissa Cummings, a spokeswoman for the GDNR, agreed with Bowers.
“There’s certainly deer out there, there’s over a million deer available in the state of Georgia,” Cummings said Thursday. “However, we had such good quality of rainfall, meaning there’s a lot of good food out there, which spreads deer out. They’re not going to be concentrated in one particular area in most cases, which could make it a little more challenging for hunters to find a deer. We do hope that will increase the interest and the challenge for the hunter; it’s always good to have a challenge.”
Cummings said the GDNR recorded 43 hunting incidents, last year including five fatalities. “Over half of the incidents that happened,” 25 incidents and three fatalities were related to the use of tree stands, she said.
Cummings also said hunters should also pay close attention to their target before taking a shot.
“We always suggest, of course, that hunters, no matter if they’re hunting with archery equipment or firearms, be 100 percent sure of what their target is before they take a shot, to ensure that they are shooting at a deer,” Cummings said.
Each season, hunters can bag a limit of 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer, one of which must have antlers that are one inch or longer, or a minimum of four points, on one side of the antlers, according to the GDNR.
All deer hunters, regardless of age, are required to obtain and carry a deer harvest record while hunting, which is available for free at retail license agents and online, at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/licenses-permits-passes.
Cummings said it’s also important for hunters to obtain all required licenses to make sure they’re hunting legally.
“We want to make sure all hunters out there are legal and have the appropriate licenses, which would include hunting license as well as big game license,” Cummings said. “Then depending on where they’re hunting, for example, if they’re hunting on a wildlife management area they need the appropriate license for that as well. They can do all of that online, or by calling our phone number or by visiting us.”