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General Hunting Information

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Hunter Education & Age Requirements For Hunting

Resident and non-resident hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1961 must successfully complete a hunter education course prior to purchasing a hunting license. Hunter education courses certified or mandated by any state wildlife agency or Canadian province are accepted. Hunter education is not required to purchase an Apprentice Hunting License, GORP Plus, or a Three-day Hunting & Fishing license. Hunter education is not required to hunt on one’s own land or land of a parent or guardian (blood or dependent relationship residing in the same household, or to hunt pen raised game birds on licensed shooting preserves that provide specified hunter education instruction). Contact your local DNR Law Enforcement Office or (770) 761-3010 for course information or register at

Replacement Cards

Anyone who completed a Georgia hunter education course can obtain a replacement card online at or call 800-864-7275 (outside Atlanta) or 770-389-7275 (in Atlanta) Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for information.

Age Requirements

Hunters under age 16 are not required to complete a hunter education course; however, a child under age 16 must be under “Direct supervision” or “directly supervised”, which 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. It is unlawful for an adult to permit their child or ward (under age 16) to hunt without adult supervision. Exception: Hunters 12–15 years old may hunt unsupervised after successfully completing a hunter education course. Special restrictions may apply: see WMA Q&A for WMAs and Federal Lands for Federal Areas.

Hunters age 16–25 must present a Hunter Education Card when purchasing a season hunting license and must possess the card while hunting.

Hunters over age 25 and born after Jan. 1, 1961 must meet hunter education course requirements but need not present their Hunter Education Card when buying a season hunting license or possess it while hunting.

Apprentice Hunter is any person who has not successfully completed a hunter education course or does not possess a hunter education certificate. Apprentice hunters may purchase an Apprentice Hunting License for the privilege to hunt and fish in Georgia.

Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass (GORP)

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, 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. More information at

License Requirements

Reliable identification and a Social Security Number (SSN) are required to purchase a license (see Hunting License Information; OCGA § 19-11-9.1). Conservation rangers may require positive identification when checking licenses. All required hunting licenses and stamps must be in possession while hunting. Any person hunting or providing assistance to another hunter must meet applicable licensing requirements as specified below. It is unlawful to obtain, possess, or use multiple licenses for the purpose of circumventing the season bag limit for deer.

Resident means any citizen of the United States who has been domiciled within the State of Georgia for a period of at least three months. Residents include full-time military personnel on active duty and the dependents of such military personnel for purchase of hunting and fishing licenses other than any Lifetime, Honorary or Landowner license.

Resident hunters under age 16 are not required to possess any of the following: Hunting, Big Game, Wildlife Management Area, Georgia Waterfowl Conservation, Deer-Dog Hunting, Alligator Hunting licenses or Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. However, they must possess a Deer Harvest Record.

Free License for Senior Citizens: Georgia residents 65 years old or older may obtain an Honorary Lifetime Sportsman’s License free of charge from any license dealer, or a durable Lifetime License card for $10. See Hunting License Information for details.

Free License for Disabled Georgians: Georgia residents who are permanently and totally disabled may obtain a Disability License. Disability License applications may be obtained by mail from the License Unit, 2065 US Hwy 278 SE, Social Circle, GA 30025, by calling 1-800-366-2661 or on the web at

A qualifying disability is an impairment of a permanent and total nature, which prevents gainful employment and is certified as such by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, Medicaid, Medicare, or Railroad Retirement System. Honorary License for disabled Georgians must be renewed every 3 years.

Free License for Returning Georgia Veterans (one time only): A one-year (from date of issuance) Honorary License is available free of charge one time to returning veterans that were on active duty for 90 or more consecutive days and who were discharged on or after July 1, 2005. Such veterans may obtain this license by providing a copy of their DD Form 214, and a completed DNR application. Applications for this license may be obtained at any WRD office, on the web at, or by contacting the License Unit, 2065 US Hwy 278 SE, Social Circle, GA 30025, 1-800-366-2661.

Resident Hunting or Hunting & Fishing License is required for all resident hunters 16 years old or older except when hunting on land owned by them or their immediate family (blood or dependent relationship) residing in the same household.

Non-Resident Hunting & Fishing License is required for all non-resident hunters, except non-resident small game hunters under 16. Additionally, non-resident big game hunters (deer, turkey, or bear) 16 years of age and older must possess a valid Big Game License. When hunting big game, non-residents under age 16 must possess a valid non-resident Hunting License, but are exempt from the Big Game License requirement. All non-resident deer hunters must possess a deer harvest record regardless of age.

Alligator hunting license is required, in addition to a valid Hunting License, for anyone 16 years of age or older hunting alligator or assisting an alligator permit holder. This privilege is not covered by the Sportsman License. However, Lifetime Sportsman’s and Honorary License holders do not need an Alligator Hunting License.

Big game license is required for hunting deer, turkey, or bear, in addition to a regular Hunting License. The Big Game License requirement is met by residents who possess a Lifetime Sportsman’s, Honorary, or Sportsman License. Everyone else who hunts big game must purchase a Big Game License except non-residents under age 16 and resident hunters 16 years old or older when hunting on land owned by them or their immediate family (blood or dependent relationship) residing in the same household.

Dog-deer hunting license is required for all hunters 16 years of age and older participating in a dog deer hunt. Hunters who possess a valid Honorary, Lifetime Sportsman’s, or Sportsman’s License can obtain the dog deer license at no cost.

Deer harvest record is required for any person, regardless of age, who hunts deer. The Deer Harvest Record is valid only for a single deer hunting season. Deer hunters who are not required to purchase a Big Game License (resident youth under 16, Honorary, Lifetime Sportsman’s License holders and resident landowners and their immediate family) must obtain a free Deer Harvest Record at or from any license agent. All deer hunters must obtain new Deer Harvest Record each deer season.

Wildlife Management Area (WMA) License is required for any person 16 years old or older, who does not possess a valid Honorary, Sportsman, or Lifetime Sportsman’s License, when hunting on a WMA, PFA or State Park (except that any person hunting on a State Park quota hunt is exempt from this requirement).

Migratory Bird Hunting License or Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) License is required for any person required to possess a license and hunts migratory birds (doves, ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe, coots, rails, or gallinules). This license is free. This license is valid only for a single hunting season and expires at the end of February each year.

Georgia Waterfowl Conservation License is required for hunting waterfowl, except for hunters with a valid Honorary, Sportsman, or Lifetime Sportsman’s License or children under the age of 16. Waterfowl hunters must also obtain a free Migratory Bird Hunting License (H.I.P. permit) in addition to other required licenses and stamps.

Federal Duck Stamp is required for all waterfowl hunters 16 years old or older including resident landowners and their immediate family. The stamp is valid from July 1–June 30 and must be signed in ink across the face. The Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is available at US Post Offices, 1-800-STAMP24 or

Sportsman’s License is a license that covers all hunting and fishing privileges excluding: Dog Deer License, Alligator License, and Federal Duck Stamp. This license specifically includes Hunting, Big Game, WMA, Georgia Waterfowl Conservation, Fishing and Trout Licenses. Migratory bird hunters must obtain a H.I.P. license. Saltwater anglers must obtain a SIP license. Deer hunters must obtain a deer harvest record. Dog Deer hunters must obtain a Dog Deer license (free of charge).

Lifetime Licenses are valid for the life of the person and cover all hunting and fishing privileges (except Federal Duck Stamp). This specifically includes Alligator, Hunting, Big Game, WMA, Georgia Waterfowl Conservation, Fishing, and Trout Licenses. Migratory bird hunters must obtain a H.I.P. license. Saltwater anglers must obtain a SIP license. Deer hunters must obtain a deer harvest record. Dog-Deer hunters must obtain a Dog-Deer license (free of charge). Lifetime License applications can be obtained at, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) offices, or by mail. For identification and proof of residency requirements see information above. Lifetime license remains valid if the licensee moves outside of Georgia.

Resident / Non-Resident Shooting Preserve License: A 2-year ($12) or lifetime ($75) shooting preserve license is available to residents and nonresidents that covers hunting pen raised game birds and fishing in any private or state waters within the boundaries of licensed private or licensed commercial shooting preserves. Hunter safety requirements for persons hunting pen raised game birds on properly licensed shooting preserves may be met by hunter education instruction that, at minimum, demonstrates techniques for proper firearm handling, unloading, and safety. Appropriate licenses, hunter safety certification requirements, and state seasons and regulations apply when hunting wild game birds or other wildlife on shooting preserves, except that it shall be lawful to hunt bobwhite quail between October 1 and March 31 of the following year on licensed shooting preserves.


Convicted Felons may not possess any firearm (including primitive weapons) while hunting unless that individual’s right to carry has been restored (OCGA § 16-11-131). This does not apply to archery equipment.

Primitive Weapons

Legal weapons during primitive weapons season include crossbows, bow and arrow, and any muzzleloading firearm. Scopes are legal.

Archery Equipment

Crossbows, longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows are allowed for hunting any game or feral hog. Arrows for hunting deer, bear or feral hog must be broadhead type.

Loaded Weapon

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 considered loaded if it is cocked.

Deer & Bear Firearms

  • Modern Rifles and Handguns: Centerfire Only, .22-cal. or larger with expanding bullets. There is no restriction on magazine capacity for rifles.
  • Shotguns: 20-gauge or larger loaded with slugs or buckshot. Buckshot is not allowed on WMAs, unless otherwise specified.
  • Muzzleloaders: .44-cal. or larger, or muzzleloading shotguns 20 gauge or larger. Scopes are legal.

Turkey Firearms

Shotguns with No. 2 or smaller shot and any muzzleloading firearm.

Feral Hog Firearms

Any deer, bear, turkey or small game firearms. There is no restriction on magazine capacity for rifles. Additional weapons restrictions apply on WMAs (see WMA Q&A) and Federal lands.

Small Game & Furbearer Firearms

  • Rifles and Handguns: Any .22-cal. or smaller rimfire, air rifle, or any muzzleloading firearm. For fox & bobcat, centerfire firearms of .17 caliber and larger may be used. There is no restriction on magazine capacity for rifles.
  • Shotguns: Any having shot shell size 3.5 inches or smaller in length with No. 2 or smaller shot.
  • Shotguns (Waterfowl): Any 10-gauge or smaller loaded with federally approved nontoxic shot of size “F” or smaller. Lead shot may not be in possession while hunting waterfowl.

Special Firearm Restrictions

  • Plugged Shotguns: Shotguns must be plugged to a maximum capacity of 3 shells (magazine and chamber combined) except for deer, bear and feral hog shotguns, which are limited to maximum capacity of 5 shells. Plugs must be one piece and incapable of being removed through the loading end of the magazine.
  • Suppressors: Lawfully possessed suppressors may be used for hunting on private property. Permission of the landowner is required.

Alligator Equipment

Hand-held ropes or snares, snatch hooks, harpoons, gigs, or arrows with restraining line attached. Lawfully restrained alligators may be killed with any caliber handgun or bangstick.

Unprotected Species Firearms

For unprotected species only—any firearm.

Training Dogs

Persons training dogs for hunting must have a valid Hunting License unless they are on their own land or land of an immediate relative. There is no closed season for training dogs on private lands. It is unlawful to possess firearms (except handguns with blank or shot cartridges), axes, climbers, or other equipment for taking game while training hunting dogs except that shotguns with number six or smaller shot may be used while training pointing, flushing, and retrieving dogs using pen raised quail and pigeons provided that the dog trainer maintains proof of purchase of pen raised quail. It is unlawful to run deer with dogs, except during open seasons for hunting deer with dogs, or to take game by any means while training hunting dogs, except during open seasons for such game. For specific rules & regulations for dog training on WMAs & Chattahoochee National Forest see Dogs & Dog Training.

Required Clothing

A hunter, and anyone accompanying the hunter, must at all times wear as an outer garment at least 500 square inches of visible hunter orange above the waist (which may include a head covering) when hunting:

  • deer during the primitive weapons or firearms deer season
  • bear during the primitive weapons or firearms bear seasons
  • feral hogs during the primitive weapons or firearms deer season

Hunter orange is not required on WMA or Corps of Engineers tracts designated archery-only, unless otherwise indicated.

Legal Hours

Legal hours for hunting are 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset, except that alligators, raccoons, opossums, foxes, coyotes, bobcats and feral hogs may be hunted at night. Any light used to hunt raccoons, opossums, foxes, bobcats or feral hogs shall be carried on the person of a hunter, affixed to a helmet or hat worn by a hunter, or be part of a belt system worn by a hunter. There is no voltage restriction on such lights. Legal hours for migratory bird hunting conform to federal regulations (see General WMA Regulations).

Closed Areas

Hunting for all species of wildlife is prohibited on that portion of Morgan Falls Lake (Bull Sluice) lying within Fulton Co. and in Willeo Creek. Counties or parts of counties not specifically open by law or regulation are closed to hunting. Counties open for hunt­ing do not include lands lying within WMAs, PFAs, State Parks, or other State/Federal lands except when such lands are specifically opened.

Protected Species

It is unlawful to take nongame wildlife except fiddler crabs, coyotes, armadillos, groundhogs, beavers, starlings, English sparrows, pigeons, and venomous snakes. Additionally, rats, mice, frogs, spring lizards, freshwater crayfish, and freshwater mussels may be taken except for species on Georgia’s Protected Species List. No more than 10 freshwater turtles may be possessed without a commercial turtle permit (contact the Special Permit Unit at (770) 761-3044 to apply for permit). The taking of freshwater mussels requires a Fishing License or Commercial Fishing License. For more information on the commercial taking of freshwater mussels, consult your local state fisheries office or visit

Establishing Deer Harvest Guidelines For Your Property Or Hunting Club

Georgia is blessed with a healthy white-tailed deer population that provides diverse recreational opportunities and generates significant economic vitality. However, white-tailed deer can present a variety of management challenges as we strive to maintain a sustainable deer population within appropriate biological, ecological, and sociological limits.

While there is no statewide season and bag limit structure that will meet the desires of everyone, Georgia’s current regulations are designed to provide a framework for deer managers to use when establishing site-specific management strategies. Extreme variations in deer densities can exist within an area; therefore, responsible deer management by landowners and hunting clubs is essential – especially proper doe harvest rates. It is hunters’ responsibility to establish management objectives on the property they hunt.

When determining those objectives it is critical to consider property size, habitat conditions, and management of adjacent properties. Establishing doe harvest per land area can be an effective tool. General guidelines for appropriate doe harvest rates across Georgia are: one doe per 75 acres to decrease density; one doe per 150 acres to stabilize density; or one doe per 200 acres to increase density.

Keep in mind that these guidelines may not be applicable in all areas and are no substitute for objective population monitoring, which is critical to a successful deer management program.

Georgia hunters can get technical assistance for creating a management program from Wildlife Resources Division’s professional biologists or a private biologist. However, biological recommendations are only as good as the information provided. Objective biological data result in better recommendations.

Effective deer management requires more work than simply killing deer. At a minimum, biological data should be kept on each deer harvested (e.g., sex, age, weight, antler measurements). In many instances, a harvest strategy that is more restrictive than the statewide framework may be needed. Either-sex days and bag limits are effective at protecting statewide and regional populations from over-harvest, but they cannot provide the same protection for every single property. This is why site-specific, property-level deer management is vital to successful deer management.

Ultimately, the solution rests in the hands of Georgia’s deer hunters and their willingness to practice voluntary restraint and responsible deer management.

Unlawful Activities

  • Hunting without landowners’ permission, including power line, gas line, railroad and other rights-of-way. Written permission must be obtained if land is so posted.
  • Hunting while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Holding, possessing, releasing, or importing wildlife without a permit from the DNR.
  • Concealing the taking or possession of wildlife (or parts) which the person in possession reasonably should have known was obtained illegally.
  • Killing or crippling game without reasonable efforts to retrieve.
  • Hunt, shoot, kill, or wound any farmed deer (e.g. elk, red deer, fallow deer, sika deer, or axis deer) or exotic wild animal (e.g. farmed deer, mouflon sheep, Barbary sheep [aoudad], antelope, etc.) held under a wild animal license for enjoyment, gain, amusement, or sport.
  • Hunting or shooting from or across a public road.
  • Hunting from a vehicle, plane, or boat under power.
  • Selling or purchasing any game species or parts thereof, except antlers, hides, and tails of legally taken deer, tails of legally taken squirrels, and legally taken alligator products.
  • Use of a computer or any other device to remotely discharge a firearm for the purpose of hunting.
  • Use of drugs, poisons, chemicals, smoke, gas, or explosives, or electronically-amplified sounds to hunt any game species.
  • Use of any pitfall, deadfall, snare, catch, trap, net, live decoy, or baited hook to take game species.
  • Use of electronic communications equipment to aid in the pursuit of game.
  • Disturbing wildlife dens, holes, or homes, or driving wildlife, except venomous snakes, from their dens, holes, or homes.
  • Discharging a firearm within 50 yards of a public road.
  • Blinding wildlife with lights.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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