General WMA Regulations
Wildlife Management Areas
Each WMA offers unique hunting opportunities based upon factors such as climate, topography, access, wildlife population dynamics and public desires. Therefore, each WMA has specific rules and regulations. You should be familiar with the rules and regulations for a specific WMA before visiting.
Maps: Interactive maps for all WMAs are available at georgiawildlife.com/AllWMAs. Maps may also be found at check stations, kiosks, and region offices.
Land Access: Any person, age 16 and older, entering any WMA or PFA must possess a valid license to hunt or fish or a Lands Pass (exclusions apply). Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/LandAccess for a list of all public properties and access requirements. Areas that require a valid license to hunt or fish or a Lands Pass are marked with the posting of a sign at the site or area entrance. A Lands Pass and all hunting and fishing licenses may be purchased at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, by calling 1-800-366-2661, or through license vendors.
Any individual(s) or organization(s) desiring 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. Contact the respective Game Management office for more details.
Voluntary Public Access (VPA) Properties
Since 2014 through a USDA grant, the DNR Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) has been able to enhance and add to its WMA program through additional temporary agreements with private landowners for public hunting opportunities. For an accurate list of properties, please visit gohuntgeorgia.com.
CHECK-IN HUNT VS. SIGN-IN HUNT:
For managed hunts, hunters must check-in prior to hunting. Hunters may check-in starting at noon one day prior to the hunt, anytime during the hunt, or online at gooutdoorsgeoriga.com. Check-in is required once for each check-in period.
Two deer of either sex may be harvested during any one check-in hunt, unless otherwise specified, except on Quality Buck WMAs. See specific WMA listing for hunt details.
All game or feral hogs harvested at a check-in hunt must be checked-out at the check station on the day of the harvest and should not be recorded on your Harvest Record or reported through Georgia Game Check..
All big-game and small-game hunters must sign-in prior to hunting. Sign-in is available beginning at noon one day prior to hunt at check station/kiosk and is also available online at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com. Sign-in is required once per hunt for big-game hunts and once per season for small-game hunts.
Two deer may be harvested during any sign-in hunt lasting less than one week. During a sign-in hunt lasting 10 days or longer, the bag limit is the statewide season. Bag limits for other species are the same as statewide limits, unless otherwise noted under the specific WMA.
All deer and turkey harvested during a sign-in hunt must be checked using GA Game Check.
Mandatory WMA Bear Harvest Requirements: All bears must be reported and tagged.
There are a number of reasons why roads may be closed to motor vehicles. 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 managed hunts or during certain high-use periods to provide better access and evenly distribute hunters.
Before visiting a WMA:
- Go to gohuntgeorgia.com for notices of road closures
- Obtain a WMA map that denotes area specific access
- Contact the region office regarding questions pertaining to the specific status of roads or access features
Youth HUNTS AND SUPERVISION
A child under age 16 must be accompanied by or “directly supervised,” which means uninterrupted, unaided visual contact and auditory communication with the child by an adult when hunting on a WMA.
Big Game Hunts: One adult shall supervise no more than one child. Only the youth may hunt. Adult may not hunt. All Youth Big-Game hunts are firearms hunts unless specified otherwise.
Small Game Hunts: One adult may directly supervise no more than two children (17 years old and under). Adults and children may hunt, provided that the adult is directly supervising a child who is actively participating in the hunt, unless otherwise noted on specific WMA.
Several WMAs are managed for Quality Bucks, which place restrictions on the buck you may harvest. These WMAs will define a Quality Buck in one of three ways:
- Point Restrictions: Requires a minimum of 4 points on one side and points must be 1 inch or longer.
- Spread Restrictions: Requires a 15 inch outside spread OR 16 inch main beam.
- Point or Spread Restriction: Requires a minimum of 4 points on one side and points must be at least one inch long OR a 15 inch outside spread.
On hunts having antler restrictions, only one antlered buck may be harvested per hunt. Always refer to the specific WMA to determine if it is managed as a Quality Buck area and to see the applicable restrictions.
HUNTING FERAL HOGS and Coyotes
A Feral Hog and Coyote Season will be held from May 16-31 on all WMAs (unless otherwise specified). During this two week hunt, any legal firearm for big or small game may be used except on Archery Only areas where hunters can only use archery equipment. In addition, feral hogs and coyotes may be taken during any small or big game season with the appropriate lawful weapons. Hunter orange is required. No night hunting or baiting allowed. Electronic calls may be used.
TREE STANDS AND HUNTING STRUCTURES
Hunting structure: 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.
Exception: 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.
All camps shall be in designated campgrounds unless otherwise posted at the check station. Camping, or establishment of a campsite, shall be limited to a maximum of 14 consecutive days, after which the campsite shall be vacated and all personally owned property or physical features of the camp must be removed for a period of not less than 7 days. During that 7-day period a new campsite may not be established within the boundaries of the same WMA or within 1 mile radius of the vacated campsite by the same person(s).
- No musical instruments, radios, televisions, generators or other noise making devices after 10:00 p.m. daily in such a manner that such devices may be heard by other WMA users. (Note: Medically needed devices or aids to disabled persons are permitted.)
- No camping or driving motor vehicles on wildlife openings.
- No carving, cutting, chopping or damaging of live or standing trees.
Loaded firearms are prohibited in camping areas, except that any person possessing a Weapons Carry License 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.
Camping is allowed anywhere on National Forest Lands unless otherwise indicated or signed. Forest Service regulations govern outdoor recreation on WMAs located on National Forest Lands.
Only trees that are dead and down may be cut and used for firewood on WMAs. Annual firewood cutting permits are issued for personal use by the region office. On National Forests, firewood permits are available from the district US Forest Service offices.
Fishing is allowed on WMAs unless otherwise posted. A fishing license is required to fish on all WMAs (a trout license is additionally required to fish in mountain trout waters).
OPERATING MOTOR VEHICLES AND ATVs
All motor vehicles are restricted to improved roads open for vehicular access. ATVs may only be operated on open improved roads within WMAs during the period between 2 hours before sunrise and 2 hours after sunset one day prior to and during big game, small game, and 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.
“Improved Roads” are roads that receive maintenance for the purpose of public 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. Roads may be closed at the discretion of DNR. Vehicles may not be parked in such a way as to block an open or closed roadway.
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.
RIDING HORSES AND BIKES
Horses and bicycles are allowed on open improved roads, designated trails, or designated areas. 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. All WMA laws, rules and regulations, unless otherwise specified, must be followed on Public Fishing Areas and State Parks open for hunting. Visit georgiawildlife.com/LandAccess for a list of all public properties and access requirements.
Camping, hiking and other recreational uses are allowed year-round, unless otherwise posted at the WMA check station or at a specific recreation site. All WMA visitors are encouraged to wear hunter orange during open hunting seasons. Specific recreation sites may be closed as needed for management purposes.
CROWS, SNIPE, SORA, RAILS AND WOODCOCK may be hunted on small game dates during the statewide seasons for each species unless otherwise specified.
Duck hunting on managed impoundments at Altamaha (Butler Island), Cordele Hatchery, Evans PFA, Oconee WMA, Rum Creek WMA, and West Point WMA – Glovers Creek is by quota only. Hunters must hunt from assigned areas or ponds, as specified. Shooting hours end at 12 noon, except the last Saturday of the season, when hunting is allowed until sunset.
Waterfowl on all other WMA locations may be hunted any day of the waterfowl season that the area is open for small game hunting or as otherwise specified.
Goose hunting is allowed on WMAs except on managed waterfowl impoundments and managed dove fields. On managed waterfowl impoundments, geese may be taken by drawn hunters during the statewide goose season.
Alligators may be taken on small game dates and big game dates, day or night, during statewide alligator season by quota permit holders only, unless otherwise specified in the WMA listings.
Coyotes may be taken anytime a season is open on a WMA, but hunters may only use weapons legal for the game species for which the season is open. In addition, on WMAs where feral hogs and coyotes can be taken during May 16-31, any legal weapon may be used. During the May season, hunters are required to wear florescent orange.
Falconry: Small game may be taken on WMAs (including field trial and archery only areas) by permitted falconers at any time during the state falconry season except during managed big game hunts or as otherwise specified on the specific WMA.
Furbearers: Raccoons, opossum, foxes and bobcats may be hunted within statewide seasons during small game and furbearer dates, unless otherwise specified in the WMA listings. Furbearers may not be hunted during firearms deer hunts. Night hunting is allowed, unless otherwise specified, but is restricted to small game weapons only (no centerfire rifles). Hunters must pick up their dogs by 12 noon on the day following the hunt. No electronic calls.
Small Game: Hunters are allowed to hunt any small game with an open season during the small game dates specified in the WMA listings, unless otherwise specified. No small game or furbearer hunting is allowed a deer hunt lasting less than 10 days, except that migratory birds may be hunted during archery deer hunts during open state season unless otherwise specified. Small game species with specific hunt dates for a WMA, (ex. Dove), may only be hunted during those open dates and not during state small game dates for that species.
Limited opportunities to trap on certain WMAs are available by permit only. Such opportunities are available on: Albany Nursery, B. F. Grant, Big Lazer Creek, Blanton Creek, Bullard Creek, Clayhole, Crockford-Pigeon Mtn, Dawson Forest, Dixon Memorial, Elmodel, Joe Kurz, Penholoway, Rum Creek, Tuckahoe, West Point, and Yuchi WMAs. Contact the appropriate region office for further details or to apply for a permit.
- Man-drives during deer hunts. A man-drive is defined as an organized hunting technique involving three (3) or more hunters using a coordinated effort to drive deer or feral swine from cover to another hunter for the purpose of shooting.
- Placing bait or wildlife food and hunting any game species or feral hog over bait.
- Target practicing, except on an authorized shooting range.
- Driving a vehicle around any gate, sign, earth berm, or similar device intended to prevent vehicular access.
- Hunting within 50 yards of any road opened for vehicular access. (Possession of a loaded firearm within 50 yards of a road opened for vehicular access is considered hunting.)
- Hunting within a posted safety zone.
- Consuming alcohol except at camp sites (this regulation does not apply on National Forest Lands).
- Camping or operating a motor vehicle upon any permanent wildlife opening.
- Using motor vehicles, signage, flagging tape, or any other method(s) to close or restrict access to roads, trails or any other access features.
- Using metal detectors or collecting artifacts.
- Using paintball equipment (this regulation does not apply on National Forest Lands).
- Trapping except that special permits may be issued for certain WMAs.
- Possessing alcohol while hunting on National Forest lands.
- Possessing a cocked crossbow in a motor vehicle.
- Possessing a firearm during a closed hunting season for an area, except on designated shooting ranges, unless such a firearm is unloaded and stored in a motor vehicle so as to not be readily accessible, except that any person possessing a Weapons Carry License 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.
- Possessing a loaded firearm (a gun 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) in a motor vehicle, except that any person possessing a Weapons Carry License 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.
- A Weapons Carry License does not allow the holder to carry a loaded firearm, other than a handgun, in a motor vehicle on a WMA.