The Georgia deer firearms season opens Saturday, Oct. 19, and continues through Jan. 12, 2020, statewide.

This year was “shaping up for yet another excellent deer season,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“Through reductions in doe harvest, deer population goals have been met for most of Georgia and the population is stable," he said.

And despite media reports, hunters should not fear bagging a diseased deer in Georgia, Killmaster said.

Biologists have noted there is no evidence to suggest that humans can contract chronic wasting disease found in deer in other states, according to a report in the Augusta Chronicle newspaper.

Killmaster said he wanted to “cut through the confusion and talk facts” about the incidence of deer illnesses in Georgia.

“To date, neither chronic wasting disease or tuberculosis have been detected in Georgia deer,” Killmaster said.

“However, there are circumstances where wildlife biologists rely on the public to notify them of sick animals in order to monitor disease issues. Visit our website at https://georgiawildlife.com/deer-info to view the top five reasons to call.”

More than 185,000 hunters harvested almost 170,000 deer in Georgia during firearms deer season last year, he said.

"Let’s all do our part to maintain this wonderful tradition, and introduce a new hunter, youth or adult, to share our passion,” Killmaster said.

The use of regulated deer hunting “ensures that Georgia’s deer population continues to be healthy and strong,”a state Wildlife Resources Division news release stated.

More than 1 million acres of public hunting land is available to hunters in Georgia, including more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas.

Many areas offer special hunts throughout the season, including primitive weapons and modern firearms hunts. Dates and locations for hunts are available in the 2019-2020 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide at http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations, the release stated.

The season bag limit is 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer. One of the antlered deer must have at least four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers, the release stated.

Special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas.

Hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record to pursue deer in Georgia, the release stated.

Licenses can be purchased online at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent. A list of agents is available online.

Once a deer is harvested, the hunter must report it through Georgia Game Check. Deer can be checked on the Outdoors GA app (useable with or without cell service), at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.

For more information, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.

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