Hunting is not only a cherished tradition but also a widely practiced outdoor activity in the state of Georgia.
Throughout the year, there are designated periods when hunting certain animals is permitted. These specific periods are referred to as hunting seasons.
The purpose of having these seasons is to manage and conserve wildlife populations, ensuring that they thrive and remain balanced. By setting these seasons, Georgia aims to protect the animals during their breeding times and other critical periods.
Now, without further ado, let’s get started.
When Does the Hunting Season Begin in Georgia?
Georgia, with its diverse landscapes and habitats, offers a variety of hunting opportunities for enthusiasts.
From the dense forests to the sprawling plains, each season brings a unique set of game animals that can be pursued.
Let’s get into the specifics of the hunting seasons in Georgia for the year 2023-2024.
Deer Hunting in Georgia
Georgia’s archery season for deer commences on September 9, with the statewide gun season opening on October 21. The deer season will conclude across the state on Sunday, January 14.
However, there’s an exception for eight southwest Georgia counties, which will extend their season until January 15.
Additionally, a growing list of suburban counties, including Baker, Barrow, Bibb, Chatham, Cherokee, and many others, permit archery-only deer hunting until January 31.
|Type||Start Date||End Date|
|Archery||Sept. 9||Jan. 14|
|Extended Archery (Suburban counties & SW GA)||Sept. 9||Jan. 31|
|Youth Firearms Week||Oct. 14||Oct. 20|
|Primitive Weapons||Oct. 14||Jan. 14|
|Firearms||Oct. 21||Jan. 14|
|SW GA (8 counties)||Oct. 21||Jan. 15|
For those interested in waterfowl, the early teal season starts on September 9 and lasts until September 24.
The hunting season for Canada Geese is divided into multiple phases, beginning on September 2 and concluding on January 28. Duck hunting season spans from November 18 to January 28.
|Type||Start Date||End Date|
|Early Teal||Sept. 9||Sept. 24|
|Canada Geese||Sept. 2||Jan. 28 (with breaks)|
|Duck||Nov. 18||Jan. 28|
Bear hunting is divided based on zones. In the Northern Zone, archery begins on September 9, with firearms allowed from October 21 to January 14. The Central Zone has a specific day for firearms on December 16.
The Southern Zone has multiple periods for firearms, starting from September 21 and ending on October 14.
|Zone||Type||Start Date||End Date|
|Northern||Archery||Sept. 9||Jan. 14|
|Northern||Primitive Weapons||Oct. 14||Jan. 14|
|Northern||Firearms||Oct. 21||Jan. 14|
|Central||Firearms||Dec. 16||Dec. 16|
|Southern||Firearms||Sept. 21||Oct. 14|
Turkey hunters will have to wait a bit longer, with the season for kids and mobility-impaired individuals starting on March 23.
The general public land turkey hunting season starts on April 6, while private land opens a bit earlier on March 30. Both seasons end on May 15.
|Type||Start Date||End Date|
|Kids, Mobility Impaired||March 23||March 24|
|Public-Land||April 6||May 15|
|Private-Land||March 30||May 15|
Hunting Rules in Georgia
Georgia, with its rich biodiversity and varied landscapes, offers a plethora of hunting opportunities. However, with these opportunities come responsibilities.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division has set forth specific regulations and guidelines to ensure ethical and sustainable hunting practices.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the major changes and rules for the 2023-2024 hunting season.
Bear Harvest Reporting
All harvested bears, irrespective of the zone or land type (public or private), must be reported through the Georgia Game Check system within 24 hours of the harvest.
Additionally, all bears must be presented for the collection of biological samples as per the requirements specific to each zone. For more details, hunters can refer to page 30 of the official hunting guide.
Central Bear Zone Regulations
In the Central Bear Zone, if fewer than six female bears are harvested on December 16, 2023, an additional hunt day will be opened to ensure sustainable population management.
Deer Hunting Regulations
The number of ‘doe days’ has seen an increase in most counties. Specific information about each county can be found on pages 22-23 of the hunting guide.
The archery deer season has been extended to January 31 in several counties, including Baker, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Richmond, and Thomas.
Furthermore, the first 16 days of the archery season in certain counties, such as Baker, Decatur, Early, and others, are reserved for antlered deer only. The firearms deer season in these counties will conclude on January 15.
The 2023-2024 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide is a comprehensive resource that provides vital information on season dates, bag limits, hunting licenses, wildlife management areas, quota hunts, youth opportunities, and much more.
This guide is available online, on the Go Outdoors GA app, and in print. Printed copies can be obtained from Wildlife Resources Division offices and licensed vendors across Georgia.
Public Hunting Areas in Georgia
Georgia, renowned for its lush landscapes and diverse ecosystems, offers a myriad of public hunting areas for enthusiasts.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has made it easier for hunters to locate these areas with their interactive hunting map, ensuring a seamless hunting experience.
Interactive Hunting Map
The Interactive Hunting Map is a comprehensive tool that allows hunters to find hunting locations near them. This map provides detailed information about various properties, including:
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs):
These are areas managed by the Division that offer recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, bike riding, hiking, camping, and more.
Some of these areas are leased properties, providing the Division with management flexibility and may be designated as a Traditional WMA.
These are areas managed specifically for the conservation of rare plants, animals, or sensitive natural communities.
Due to their significance, these areas might have restrictions on vehicular access and/or recreational use to protect the resources.
Leased Recreation Areas:
These are areas under a long or short-term lease or management agreement to provide public recreational activities. They come with limited vehicular access and management.
Some WMAs might contain both state-owned and leased acres. Due to lease-associated limitations, these WMAs are designated as “Leased Recreation Areas”, even though parts of them might be state-owned.
Guns and Equipment for Hunting Season in Georgia
Georgia’s hunting season is not just about the thrill of the chase; it’s also about ensuring that hunters are equipped with the right tools and knowledge to make their hunting experience safe and successful.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources provides clear guidelines on the legal equipment for hunting in the state.
Here’s a breakdown of the guns and equipment permitted for the 2023-2024 hunting season.
Legal Equipment for Hunting
The term “hunting” in Georgia encompasses pursuing, shooting, killing, taking, or capturing wildlife or feral hogs.
This definition also extends to acts such as setting up devices used to take wildlife or assisting someone in hunting.
Crossbows (including torsion spring models), longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows are permitted for hunting any game or feral hog.
Arrows used for hunting deer, bear, or feral hogs must be of the broadhead type. There are no restrictions on draw weight, let-off, bolt/arrow-length, recovery devices, or sights.
During the primitive weapons season, hunters can use archery equipment, air bows, .30-cal. or larger air rifles, and muzzleloaders or muzzleloading shotguns. Scopes are allowed.
Deer & Bear:
Modern rifles and handguns of .22-cal. or larger with expanding bullets are allowed. Shotguns of 20-gauge or larger loaded with slugs or buckshot are permitted. Muzzleloaders of .30-cal. or larger and muzzleloading shotguns of 20 gauge or larger are also legal. Scopes can be used with these firearms.
Shotguns with No. 2 or smaller shot, any muzzleloading firearm, any air rifle of at least .30 caliber, or air bows using unignited compressed gas or air are permitted.
Small Game & Furbearer:
Rifles and handguns of any .22-cal. or smaller rimfire, any muzzleloading firearm, or any caliber air rifle or air gun are allowed. For fox & bobcat hunting, centerfire firearms of .17 caliber and larger may be used.
A firearm is considered loaded if a shell is in the chamber or magazine, a percussion cap is on the nipple, or powder is present on the frizzen pan. A crossbow is deemed loaded if it is cocked.
Lawfully possessed suppressors can be used for hunting unless specified otherwise. Permission from the landowner is required on private lands.
Hunter Orange Requirements:
When hunting deer during the primitive weapons or firearms deer season, bear during the primitive weapons or firearms bear seasons, or feral hogs during firearms deer or bear seasons, hunters and their companions must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist.
Hunting Limits in Georgia Counties
Georgia’s hunting traditions are deeply rooted in its history, and the state offers a diverse range of hunting opportunities.
However, to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations and maintain ecological balance, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has set specific hunting limits across its counties.
These limits are crucial for both the conservation of wildlife and the safety of hunters.
Deer Hunting Limits
The number of “doe days” has been increased in most counties, allowing hunters more opportunities to harvest antlerless deer. Specific details about each county’s “doe days” can be found in the official hunting guide.
Additionally, the archery deer season has been extended to January 31 in several counties, including Baker, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Richmond, and Thomas.
In the southwest region of Georgia, encompassing counties like Baker, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, and Thomas, the first 16 days of the archery season are reserved for antlered deer only.
Moreover, the firearms deer season in these counties concludes on January 15.
Bear Harvest Reporting
All harvested bears, regardless of the zone or type of land (public or private), must be reported through the Georgia Game Check system within 24 hours.
This reporting is essential for the collection of biological samples and for monitoring bear populations in the state.
Central Bear Zone
In the Central Bear Zone, if fewer than six female bears are harvested on December 16, 2023, an additional hunting day will be introduced.
This measure ensures that the bear population remains within sustainable limits.
Extended Archery Deer Season
In specific counties like Baker, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Richmond, and Thomas, the archery deer season has been extended to January 31.
This extension provides archery hunters with additional opportunities to hunt deer during the season.
Is There Good Hunting in Georgia?
Georgia, fondly known as the Peach State, boasts a rich hunting heritage and offers a plethora of opportunities for hunting enthusiasts.
Spanning across diverse physiographic regions, from the Cumberland Plateau to the Atlantic coastal plain, Georgia’s varied terrains provide habitats for a wide range of game species.
A Haven for Diverse Game Species
Georgia is home to a variety of huntable game species, including deer, dove, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, and waterfowl. Additionally, the state has non-native invasive species like feral hogs and coyotes.
To ensure ethical and sustainable hunting, the state mandates hunters to undergo education, and for certain hunts, a Georgia hunting license is required.
Top Hunting Locations in Georgia
This central Georgia county is known for its deer, hog, and turkey hunting opportunities. The region is characterized by coastal plains with rolling hills near the Atlantic Seaboard fall line.
Located at the heart of Georgia, Macon offers hunting opportunities for deer, turkey, and hog. The city-county has a unique topography with flat plains on one side and rolling hills on the other.
This county, predominantly consisting of river-basin and sub-river basin terrains, is a hotspot for deer, turkey, and hog hunting.
Blue Ridge Mountains:
Part of the larger Appalachian Mountains range, this region, with its rugged peaks, is home to deer, hog, and turkey.
Located in Early County, Blakely offers hunting opportunities for deer, turkey, hog, and quail.
This city in Decatur County is a destination for deer, quail, turkey, and dove hunting.
This community in Ware County is known for deer, hog, turkey, and quail hunting.
This town in Wilkinson County offers duck, deer, hog, and quail hunting opportunities.
Located in southwestern Georgia, Clay County is renowned for its large deer, hogs, and spring turkeys.
The city of Adel in Cook County provides hunting opportunities for pheasant, deer, and turkey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to hunt in Georgia?
Yes, it is legal to hunt in Georgia. However, depending on age and residency, Georgia law requires hunters to have a current Georgia hunting license in their possession while hunting.
How much does it cost to hunt in Georgia?
The cost to hunt in Georgia varies based on the type of license and the residency status of the hunter. For residents, an annual hunting license costs $15.00, while for non-residents, it’s priced at $100.00. There are also combo hunting and fishing licenses available, with an annual fee of $30.00 for residents and $150.00 for non-residents..
What hunting is Georgia known for?
Georgia is renowned for its diverse hunting opportunities, offering a habitat for various game species. The state is particularly known for deer hunting, given its abundant white-tailed deer population. Additionally, Georgia offers hunting opportunities for turkey, dove, rabbit, squirrel, waterfowl, and non-native species like feral hogs and coyotes.