Fishing and leaf-viewing opportunities combined – what a great way to combine fun fall activities! The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division has five delayed harvest streams available to anglers beginning Nov. 1. “Georgia trout streams are designated as seasonal, year-round or delayed harvest, and different streams offer varying populations of rainbow, brown and brook trout,” says the Division’s Trout Stocking Coordinator Perry Thompson. “The delayed harvest streams have special regulations from November 1 – May 14. Since these delayed harvest streams are regularly stocked and the trout are caught and released, catch rates remain high, making them a great destination for new and seasoned anglers alike.”
Georgia has a diversity of bass that continues to reel in anglers from across the nation. As the only state in the nation with six of the seven black bass species, Georgia stands out as a bass angler’s paradise. This fall, regardless of where you are in the state, bass fishing opportunities abound, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is providing anglers with some helpful bass fishing information.
Each year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division recognizes anglers for outstanding and state record catches. Anglers who catch new state records or those who catch a fish that meets or beats a specific weight or length limit for that species (angler award) are eligible for recognition. “Georgia has tremendous opportunities for anglers – making it a great place whether you are just wetting a hook or trying to reel in a new state record,” says the division’s Fisheries Management Chief John Biagi.
With an estimated 50,000 deer-car collisions annually in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division advises motorists across the state to be extra cautious of increased deer and wildlife sightings this fall season. “Some Georgia motorists may only expect deer to cross rural roadways, while in fact, urban and suburban roads are also prime areas for deer-car collisions,” explains Don McGowan, Wildlife Resources Division biologist. “Hunting is oftentimes mistakenly blamed for increased deer-car collisions in autumn when, in reality, deer are on the move due to a series of both natural and human causes.”
Saturday, Oct. 22, the opening day of firearms season for deer hunting, also is Turn In Poachers (TIP) Day in Georgia, according to a proclamation signed by Gov. Nathan Deal. TIP, Inc., is a non-profit organization protecting wildlife from poachers by increasing public support for conservation rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. According to the proclamation, “the ownership of all wildlife is by the state of Georgia. It is held in trust for all Georgians to enjoy. A poacher is one who takes wildlife illegally thereby depriving other citizens of our state’s natural resources.”
It is finally that time of the year again for Georgia hunters. Firearms deer season opens Saturday, Oct. 22 and lasts through Jan. 1, 2012 in the Northern Zone and in the Southern Zone, through Jan. 15, 2012. “Regulated hunting is the most cost effective and efficient means of managing the deer herd,” says John W. Bowers, assistant chief of Game Management for the Wildlife Resources Division. “In addition, sportsmen and women provide more than $30 million each year to fund wildlife conservation in the state through license fees and self-imposed excise taxes collected on the purchase of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and fishing equipment.”
For the 2010-2011 hunting season, Georgia reported 44 hunting incidents, 22 of which involved firearms. With the upcoming Oct. 22 opening of firearms deer hunting season, hunters are encouraged to review the ‘Four Primary Rules of Firearms Safety’ before heading to the woods. “Ultimately, each hunter is responsible for keeping themselves and others safe while pursuing deer this hunting season,” says Walter Lane, Hunter Development Program Manager of the Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “This includes respecting all firearms safety rules and being absolutely certain of their target and what is in front of it and beyond it.”
Anticipating thousands of users each year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Effingham County dedicated the Tuckasee King Boat Ramp and Landing, giving boaters and anglers improved access to the Savannah River. This new landing improvements consists of new floating docks, truck and boat trailer parking for 50 users, new service pavilion with restrooms, new playground, and other site improvements. The area will be accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Anticipating more than 15,000 users each year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the City of Port Wentworth today dedicated the Houlihan Bridge Boat Ramp area, giving boaters and anglers improved access to the lake. This facility includes two (two lane) boat ramps, two floating access piers, three boat washing stations, an informational kiosk and parking for 45 trucks and trailers. There are also portable restrooms available at the site. The area will be accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Anticipating thousands of users each year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the City of Augusta today dedicated the Robert Baurle Boat Ramp, giving boaters and anglers improved access to the river. This facility includes the existing double wide 100’ ramp, gangway and dock, new single wide 100 ‘ ramp with ground out gangway to new courtesy dock, parking designed for 27 vehicles w/trailers, 3 handicapped parking spaces for vehicles w/trailers, spectator parking, 4 regular and 2 handicapped and grassed overflow parking, staging areas for tournament related activities. The area will be accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Since 1993, hunters have been bringing meat to the tables of those in need through the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program. Through this successful program, hunters have donated enough venison to serve more than 1.5 million meals. This year, hunters are asked to give a portion of their processed deer through the “Drop-Back-a-Pack” campaign at one of 12 participating processors through Jan. 15, 2012.
The largest, most successful wildlife conservation program in the world, the Federal Wildlife Restoration Program, is fueled by hunters. Over the past 70 years, hunters nationwide have contributed more than $6.8 billion dollars to wildlife conservation efforts. In Georgia alone, since 1939, hunters have contributed more than $145 million for wildlife conservation in Georgia.
Deer season is the most popular hunting season of the year for hunters, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, and this year archers get first draw beginning Sat., Sept. 10. Last year, 122,316 archery hunters harvested more than 66,352 deer. Statewide archery season runs through Oct. 14, but special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division reminds all deer hunters, including big game license holders, honorary and lifetime license holders, hunters under 16 years of age and landowners, to obtain a new deer harvest record for the upcoming season. Deer harvest records are required for any person hunting deer, regardless of age, are free of charge and available at http://www.gohuntgeorgia.com/recreational-licenses or at any retail license agent.
Though commonly used by deer hunters everywhere, tree stands often are improperly installed and, as a result, are considered the leading cause of hunting-related incidents, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. Different types of tree stands are available, and each type requires the user to be familiar with variations to ensure safety.
The Board of Natural Resources recently approved the 2010-2011 waterfowl hunting regulations. The September Canada goose season runs from Sept. 3-25 and the September teal season runs from Sept. 10-25. Hunting season for ducks is Nov. 19 - Nov. 27, 2011 and Dec. 10 - Jan. 29, 2012. A summary of migratory bird hunting season dates and bag limits can be found online at http://www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/regulations .
Hunters statewide can celebrate the beginning of dove season at noon Saturday, Sept. 3. Long-awaited opening day is traditionally considered the beginning of the fall hunting season, and with the numerous wildlife management area hunts scheduled, it is the perfect opportunity to introduce children and grandchildren to the sport. “Georgia has some fantastic public areas for dove hunters. In fact, many WMAs provide fields managed specifically for dove hunting opportunities,” says John W. Bowers, Wildlife Resources Division’s assistant chief of Game Management.
Hunter education courses in Georgia are offered three ways: by classroom, CD-Rom or online. “Because of the importance of the information learned in a hunter education course, our agency has made efforts to meet the needs of many users,” says Walter Lane, Wildlife Resources Division’s Hunter Development Program Manager. “The options offered include a traditional classroom course, a CD-rom course and three online courses.”
The Migratory Bird Hunting license (or HIP permit) requires all hunters pursuing doves, ducks, geese, rails and other migratory bird species to complete an annual harvest survey. The free license is available online, by phone or at retail license agents across the state, and requires hunters to report harvest rates. Sixteen years and running, the HIP program details both the number of migratory game bird hunters and their harvests. This information helps wildlife managers monitor migratory bird populations, set hunting seasons and bag limits and ensure healthy, sustainable populations.
Georgians curious about the differences between legitimate dove field preparation and illegal baiting should read “Dove Hunting and Agricultural Practices in Georgia,” available at http://www.gohuntgeorgia.com . Baiting is the illegal practice of intentionally luring doves to a field by placing grain or feed. Federal and state laws prohibit hunting migratory game birds over such areas.