The Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system offers a wealth of hunting opportunities on approximately one million acres. Each WMA offers unique hunting opportunities based upon factors such as climate, topography, access, wildlife population dynamics and hunter interest. Therefore each WMA has specific rules and regulations. You should always be familiar with the rules and regulations for a WMA before visiting. Below are several important frequently asked questions related to hunting on WMAs.
Tip Before You Go
All of the applicable rules and regulations are not featured in the WMA Q & A. So, it is highly recommended that you become familiar with all of the information provided in the annual Hunting Seasons & Regulations publication and at www.gohuntgeorgia.com before you visit the WMA system.
Q: What are the best sources of information for hunting WMAs?
A: The annual Hunting Seasons & Regulations publication is your most comprehensive resource and is available in print or online at www.gohuntgeorgia.com. You can also sign up for email alerts and visit the specific WMA pages for real time information. Click on the RED envelope at gohuntgeorgia.com. In addition, Game Management region offices can provide assistance over the telephone.
CAUTION: There are numerous websites offering WMA related resources such as maps and regulations. These may not be reliable sources of information and may contain errors and omissions or inaccurate critical information. For the most accurate information go to: www.gohuntgeorgia.com
Q: Where can I find maps of WMAs?
A: Wildlife Resources Division offers WMA maps (line, topographic, and infrared). You view/print/download all WMA maps free of charge at: www.gohuntgeorgia.com
Q: When can I hunt on a WMA?
A: Each WMA has unique hunting opportunities and regulations. WMAs are typically open for hunting during specific dates and not the entire statewide seasons. You should become familiar with the regulations for a WMA before visiting. In addition, WMAs are open to scouting outside of posted seasons (unless specified otherwise).
Q: What is a QUOTA hunt?
A: A quota hunt is a hunt that allows a predetermined number of hunters to participate. A quota is placed upon a hunt for several reasons: to protect the natural resources (wildlife and their habitats); to provide a high quality hunting experience; and to maintain a high level of safety.
You must submit an application and be selected in order to participate in a QUOTA hunt (this includes children or any other persons who wish to participate in the hunt). More information on quota hunts is available in General Quota Hunt Information.
Q: What is the difference between a CHECK-IN and a SIGN-IN hunt on a WMA?
A: CHECK-IN or SIGN-IN is required prior to hunting during any managed firearms deer, bear, turkey or hog hunt on a WMA (except as otherwise specified). It may also be required on some special hunts for other game species. Refer to the specific WMA listing to determine whether a hunt is designated as CHECK-IN or SIGN-IN.
SIGN-IN and CHECK-IN hunts have different requirements for handling harvested game. See below for details.
Q: What do I do if I harvest a deer, bear, turkey or hog on a WMA?
A: CHECK-IN Hunt: You must check-out your harvested game at the check station on the day of harvest. Deer harvested on CHECK-IN hunts will receive a special tag and should not be recorded on your Deer Harvest Record.
SIGN-IN Hunt: You must sign-out your harvested game at the check station/kiosk on the day of harvest. Deer harvested on SIGN-IN hunts must be recorded on your Deer Harvest Record.
MANDATORY WMA BEAR HARVEST REQUIREMENTS
Q: How many deer can I harvest on a WMA hunt?
A: CHECK-IN Hunt: Two deer may be harvested during any one check-in hunt, except on Quality Buck hunts (see next question). Additional restrictions may apply such as antler restrictions; refer to the specific WMA listing for details.
SIGN-IN hunt [lasting less than one week]: Two deer may be harvested during any one sign-in hunt.
SIGN-IN hunt [lasting one week or longer]: The bag limit is the statewide limit.
Important Note: Deer harvested on all SIGN-IN hunts must be recorded on your Deer Harvest Record and count toward your season limit. You are still required to sign-out the harvested deer as well.
Q: What if the WMA has Quality Buck restrictions?
A: Several WMAs are managed for Quality Bucks. This means there are restrictions on the buck you may harvest. A Quality Buck WMA will have one of the following restrictions:
On hunts having quality buck antler restrictions, only one antlered buck may be harvested. Always refer to the specific listing for a WMA to determine if it is Quality Buck and the applicable restrictions.
Q: What weapons may be used to hunt feral hog on a WMA?
A: Feral hogs are not a game species and are considered incidental take during any hunt on a WMA (except during Special Hog Hunts). This means that you must use the legal weapons for the specific game species for which the WMA is open. So, if a WMA is open for small game then you may only use legal weapons for small game if you intend to hunt for feral hogs. Muzzleloaders and archery equipment are legal during small game and turkey seasons. However, during Special Hog Hunts only, you may use any legal firearm.
Electronic calls may be used for feral hog. Night hunting and baiting are prohibited on WMAs.
Q: Why are some gates closed on WMAs?
A: There are a number of reasons why roads may be closed to motor vehicles. These include:
Some roads are only intended for WRD personnel to perform management related activities on a WMA (such as timber harvest, habitat management, prescribed fire or emergency response). Roads that are typically closed may be open during Big Game hunts to provide better access and evenly distribute hunters. See tip below for how to get more information on access.
Tip Here’s how you can learn more about access before you go to a WMA:
Q: What are the rules related to dogs on a WMA?
A: Dogs must be confined or kept on a leash except when hunting or training during designated seasons or on designated areas. See Dog Training section for more details.
Q: How do I know if I need a Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP)?
A: Any person, age 16–64, entering any designated fee area on state-owned WMAs and PFAs must possess a valid GORP. Persons who possess a valid three-day hunting & fishing, WMA, Lifetime, Sportsman’s, or Honorary license are exempt from this requirement. Designated fee areas are marked with the posting of a sign at the site or area entrance.
A three-day GORP is valid for no more than three days from effective start date and an annual GORP is valid for no more than 365 days from effective start date. A GORP may be purchased at www.gohuntgeorgia.com, 1-800-366-2661, or license vendors. Transaction fees apply (please refer to General Hunting Information).
Any individual(s) or organization(s) who desire to sponsor or conduct an event, activity, or series of events or activities involving more than eight individuals on a WMA or PFA may be required to obtain a “Right of Entry” agreement (ROEA) from the Department. A Right of Entry agreement must be formally requested from the Department no less than thirty days prior to the proposed event, activity, or series of events or activities. Events that conflict with the primary uses (e.g. hunting and fishing) of a WMA or PFA may be prohibited. Contact the respective Game Management office (see Contact Info) for more details. For WMAs on National Forest, special use permits issued by the US Forest Service may be used in lieu of the ROEA requirement.
Q: Can I camp on a WMA?
A: All camps must be in designated campgrounds, unless otherwise indicated or posted at the WMA check station. Camping is allowed anywhere on WMAs on National Forest Lands, except where posted otherwise. Forest Service regulations govern outdoor recreation on WMAs located on National Forest Lands. Camping or driving motor vehicles on managed wildlife openings is prohibited. Carving, cutting, chopping or damaging of live trees is prohibited. Camping or establishment of a campsite shall be limited to a period of time not to exceed 14 consecutive days after which the campsite shall be vacated and all personally owned property is removed for a period of not less than 7 days. During that 7 day period, a new campsite may not be established within 1 mile of the vacated campsite by the same person(s). Loaded firearms are prohibited in camping areas, except that any person possessing a license to carry a concealed firearm that is valid in this state pursuant to OCGA §§ 16-11-126(f) or 16-11-129 may carry such firearm subject to the limitations of OCGA §§ 16-11-126 and 16-11-127, except where prohibited by federal law. Campers are responsible for their own trash. No person shall unreasonably disturb or annoy others through abrasive, insulting, or threatening words or actions, or disobey any lawful order of a law enforcement official, or act in a manner resulting in a breach of the peace. No generators, musical instruments, radios, televisions, or other noise-making devices may be used after 10 p.m. or before 7 a.m., in such a manner that they may be heard by other WMA visitors.
Q: Can I collect firewood on a WMA?
A: Only trees that are dead and down may be cut and used for firewood by visitors while staying on WMAs. Annual firewood cutting permits are issued for private use by the region office. On National Forests, firewood permits are available from the district US Forest Service offices.
Q: Can I fish on a WMA?
A: Unless otherwise posted, fishing is allowed on WMAs according to statewide regulations. When fishing on a WMA, a Fishing License is required and on some WMAs a GORP is also required. If a GORP is required to fish, a three-day combo hunting & fishing license fulfills both fishing & GORP requirements. However, a Fishing License and a WMA License is required to fish on state Public Fishing Areas (PFAs) and Waters Creek Trophy Trout Stream on Chestatee WMA (see fishing regulations). A trout license is required in trout waters. Anglers possessing a Three-Day Fishing, Honorary, Disability, Sportsmen’s, or Lifetime License are not required to have a WMA License.
Q: Can I sight in my gun or target shoot on a WMA?
A: DNR provides shooting ranges on several WMAs statewide. Target practice is prohibited outside of designated ranges. Please refer to WMA Shooting Ranges for more information.
Q: What are the restrictions for tree stands and other hunting structures on WMAs?
A: Hunting structure means any portable tree stand, ground blind, stool, chair, bucket, waterfowl blind, or other similar device used for the purpose of hunting. Hunters may not construct or hunt from any tree stand that is not portable or natural. Tree stands may not be placed on utility poles or other structures supporting utility lines. For big game and feral hog hunts, hunting structures shall not be placed any sooner than one day prior to the hunt and shall be removed from the WMA no later than 12 noon the day following the hunt. For small game hunts, hunting structures may be placed and shall be removed from the WMA only on the day of the hunt, except that on opening day of dove season hunters shall not enter a managed dove field and hunting structures shall not be placed on a managed dove field prior to 10 a.m.
Q: What do I need to know about dogs and dog training on WMAs?
A: See Dogs & Dog Training.
Q: What do I need to know about riding horses or bicycles on WMAs?
A: Horses and bicycles are restricted to open improved roads, designated trails, or designated areas. (GORP fee may apply.) Bicycles may be used on closed improved roads for the purpose of hunter access. Horses may be used off roads and trails during permitted field trials. Horses and bicycles may be used on National Forest Lands not otherwise closed. Horses and bicycles are prohibited on the Appalachian Trail.
Q: What do I need to know about motor vehicles (including ATVs) on WMAs?
A: ATVs are allowed on open, improved roads and designated trails only during the period between 2 hours before sunrise and 2 hours after sunset one day prior to and during big game and special hog only hunts by hunters actively participating in the hunt, except where otherwise specified. However, on National Forest Lands including WMAs on the National Forest, ATVs are restricted to designated trails unless posted otherwise. Roads may be closed at the discretion of the DNR. Vehicles may not be parked in such a way as to block an open or closed roadway. All motor vehicles are restricted to improved roads open for vehicular access. “Improved Roads” are roads that receive maintenance for the purpose of hunter access, and “Open Roads” are roads not closed with a gate, sign, earthen berm or similar device intended to prevent vehicular access. Motor vehicles (including ATVs, dirt bikes, utility vehicles, golf carts, and other off-road vehicles) must meet applicable safety, licensing, insurance and registration requirements for use on public roads. Vehicle and ATV operators must be at least 16 years old.
Fees on National Forest Lands: Fees may be charged for camping, ATV/ORV trails, shooting ranges, and boat ramps on the National Forest. These fees apply to all users. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us/conf or contact any US Forest Service Office.
Q: What do I need to know about supervising children on WMAs?
A: “Direct supervision” or “directly supervised” means uninterrupted, unaided visual contact and auditory communication of a child by an adult. All children under sixteen years of age shall be accompanied by and under direct supervision of an adult eighteen years of age or older when hunting.
Adult/Child Hunts on WMAs, State Parks & NWRs (Hunts for those under age 18)
On Adult/Child Hunts for big game, all children (17 years old and under) shall be accompanied and directly supervised by a responsible adult; an adult shall supervise no more than one child. On Adult/Child Hunts for small game, one adult may directly supervise no more than two children (17 years old and under). Adults and children may possess firearms and hunt on small game and non-quota big game Adult/Child Hunts provided that an adult hunting on such hunts shall be directly supervising a child who is actively participating in the hunt. During Adult/Child big game quota hunts, only one firearm is allowed and only the child may hunt. All Adult/Child big game hunts are firearms hunts unless specified otherwise.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.