A Forsyth County senator is looking to unify the dates of deer hunting season across the state, recently introducing a senate bill that would change current hunting regulations in Georgia.
Last week, state Sen. Michael Williams, who represents District 27 in Forsyth County, introduced Senate Bill 122, which would create a statewide season for deer hunting and extend the length of time firearms may be used for the sport.
Currently, the statewide deer-hunting season for archery runs from Sept. 10 to Jan. 8.
Regulations allow hunters in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties to hunt with archery beyond Jan. 8. Their season ends Jan. 31.
“I’ve had a couple of constituents come to me asking for [uniformity,]” Williams said, “and I’ve been working with [state] Rep. [Jason] Shaw and the [Department of Natural Resources,] which said [this bill] would have no adverse effect on the state’s deer population.”
According to current legislation, the extension is “due to the extra need for herd reduction in that urban and suburban area of the state.”
The bill would extend the season for everyone in the state, legislating the season run from Sept. 8 to Jan. 31 for hunting with archery. It would also close the season for hunting deer with firearms on the third Monday in January, whereas currently, the last day hunters may use firearms is Jan. 8 statewide.
The legislation has garnered attention from small-game hunters, who say their sport would be negatively impacted, should the bill pass the General Assembly.
“This bill has gotten a lot of attention from smaller game hunters, and we’re working to extend their hunting season as well,” Williams said. “What we’re taking away by [prolonging] deer season, we’ll be able to add back to them by extending the small-game season.”
The bill was read and referred to a committee for markup Feb. 8 and is being vetted by the Senate Natural Resources Committee.