To review all the regulations and learn more about hunting in Georgia, visit www.georgiawildlife.com.
Deer hunting season has opened, which means law enforcement has been busy patrolling for violations and investigating complaints.
Rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife division have issued citations in Forsyth County for hunting deer with bait, hunting on property without permission and other violations, said Sgt. Lee Brown.
For deer, the archery season opened Sept. 8, while firearms will be permitted starting Oct. 20.
Brown said it’s typical for more complaints and violations to occur at the start of the season and once firearms are allowed.
A few days after the season began, DNR investigated an illegal hunting complaint and discovered violations of hunting big game over bait and possession of illegally taken wildlife.
Brown said the rangers have also encountered several issues with hunters leaving deer on others’ properties or on the side of the road, which is illegal.
“We don’t really like it peaking up on the violation part,” he said. “We like folks that are ethical, legal hunters.”
The law requires all hunters 16 and older to have a hunting license and a big game license, and everyone must keep his or her own deer harvest record, Brown said.
DNR rangers will check for this information, as well as whether the hunters are illegally using bait or hunting on property without permission, he said.
In Georgia, landowners aren’t required to post signs on property, Brown said, so hunters need to get permission before they go.
Other issues commonly encountered include firearms hunting without the required fluorescent vest, hunting at night or hunting from a motor vehicle or public road.
“Hunting with a firearm at night from a vehicle … that’s a safety concern,” Brown said. “One of the things we teach in hunting education is clearly identify your target and what’s beyond it.
“While at night, if you see a deer standing on the side of the road, you don’t know what’s beyond it.”
Also in Forsyth County, only shotguns and muzzleloaders can be used south of Highway 20.
If a ranger believes a violation has occurred, a warning or citation could be made or even an arrest, he said.
Classes required to obtain a hunting license are typically offered once a month in Forsyth County, Brown said.
The sport is a popular one in the area, but also one that helps the DNR in its efforts.
“Hunting is a good wildlife management tool. That way the deer won’t become overpopulated,” Brown said. “By allowing people to hunt, it tends to keep those populations in check.”
The state does have “bag limits,” he said, which include 12 deer per season with at least two being bucks.