Scoped rifle

State officials urge hunters to use their firearms, such as this scoped rifle, safely.

For many hunters, the opening day of firearms deer season feels a little like Christmas morning does to a child.

Firearms deer hunters can take to the woods beginning Sat., Oct. 21, and continue through Jan. 14, 2018, statewide, a news release stated.

Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, said Georgia “is one of the greatest deer hunting states in the country.”

“We have one of the longest deer seasons, our deer harvest is sustainably among the highest, and the quality of bucks is unrivaled in the Deep South. Don't take this awesome opportunity for granted, grab your favorite deer rifle and hit the woods!”

Hunters can check out the interactive map created to see the opportunities available for the counties they hunt. Those who hunt on National Forest land may see either-sex days that are different than on private land. More info is available at http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/deer-opportunities.

In Paulding County, muzzleloaders and modern firearms can be used for antlered bucks only Oct. 21 through Nov. 3. They can be used for deer of either sex from Nov. 4 through Jan. 14.

Douglas County hunters can use both types of firearms for deer of either sex from Oct. 21 through Jan. 14, according to the Wildlife Resources Division.

During firearms deer season last year, almost 320,000 hunters harvested 260,765 deer in the state. The use of regulated deer hunting ensures that Georgia’s deer population continues to be healthy and strong.

In addition, all deer hunters must report their harvest using Georgia Game Check. Deer can be reported on the Outdoors GA app which now works whether you have cell service or not at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.

Georgia hunters have access to more than 1 million acres of public hunting land across the state, including over 100 state-operated wildlife management areas.

In addition to traditional hunts, a number of special hunts are offered, including ladies-only and adult/child hunts. Dates and locations for these hunts, as well as WMA maps, can be found in the 2017-2018 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide at http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.

Hunters are allowed a harvest of up to 10 antlerless deer and no more than two antlered deer (with one of the two antlered deer having a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers). 

To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. Licenses can be purchased online athttp://georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).

For more information on deer hunting seasons, regulations, licenses and WMA maps, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.

In addition, the Wildlife Resources Division wants to make sure hunters are familiar with the four primary rules of firearms safety before heading to the woods during deer hunting season.

While only a small fraction of hunters are ever involved in a hunting incident, the Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) encourages everyone to review the “Four Primary Rules of Firearms Safety” before heading to the woods.

Of the more than 600,000 hunters afield last year, Georgia reported 33 hunting incidents, one of which involved firearms.

The following checklist, comprised of only four items, is covered in all hunter education courses and easily can be remembered with the acronym ACTT:

A – Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

C – Control the muzzle of the firearm at all times.

T – Be certain of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it.

T – Keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

For more information on firearms safety, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/huntersafetytips or contact the Wildlife Resources Division Hunter Education office at 770-761-3010.

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