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Deer season's open, but with some changes
Deer

Deer season is in full swing for all Georgia residents, but before you hit the woods, the rules have changed a bit this season.

Four new counties, Bibb, Chatham, Clarke and Henry, now have an extended archery season. The normal bow season runs from Sept. 14-Jan. 12, but the extended bow season goes until Jan. 31.

Hall County deer season dates:

Bows and crossbows: Sept. 14 to Jan. 12

Muzzleloaders: Nov. 2 to Jan. 12

Modern firearms: Nov. 2 to Jan. 12

“A lot of the areas in these counties are urban areas with many subdivisions, so it’s just not safe to rifle hunt, but bow hunting is an option. So adding these extra days gives them more opportunities to bow hunt,” said Scott Bardenwerper, region supervisor of Northeast region 2.

There have also been more “either-sex” days added to certain counties. Banks, Franklin, and Hart counties increased their doe days, when hunters can bag normally off-limits females, while counties in the Blue Ridge region have fewer days.

“They categorize these days based on the population of the deer herd in that specific county. Counties with a higher deer herd popualtion have more either-sex days, while counties with a lower population have less,” Bardenwerper said. 

One of the biggest changes of the season is the elimination of doe days in the Chattahoochee National Forest. In that area, the deer herd population is lower than ideal, so all land east of Interstate 75 in the national forest is closed to antlerless deer hunting, according to Bardenwerper. 

Air rifles of at least .30 caliber were legalized this season. Airguns are any kind of firearm that uses compressed air instead of a chemical reaction to fire a projectile. 

“Air rifles are much quieter than a regular firearm so this could be an advantage to hunters in a higher populated area,” Bardenwerper said. 

Baiting, the act of using feed to lure deer, was legalized last year for private land in the northern part of the state. This has been useful for many, but it has also yielded some unintended consequences. 

“Deer and bear eat the same thing, and baiting deer may be legal, but baiting bear is not. So, if you bait for deer and a bear comes up, you can’t take it,” Bardenwerper said. 

Due to this, many hunters are having to decide whether baiting deer is worth the risk of attracting bear at the same time.

A full list of the Georgia deer hunting regulations, can be found at www.georgiawildlife.com/deer-info

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