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Georgia Public Hunting Opportunites

Hunting Regulations Icon Georgia Hunting

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: View/print/download all WMA maps free of charge at gohuntgeorgia.com. Maps may also be found at check stations, kiosks, and region offices.

Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP): Any person, age 16–64, entering any designated fee area on WMAs and PFAs must possess a valid GORP. Designated fee areas are marked with the posting of a sign at the site or area entrance. Hunters and anglers who possess a valid three-day hunting & fishing, WMA, Lifetime, Sportsman’s, or Honorary license meet this license requirement.

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 gohuntgeorgia.com, by calling 1-800-366-2661, or license vendors.

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. Contact the respective Game Management office for more details.

Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/GORP/Properties for a list of areas requiring GORP.

CHECK-IN HUNT VS. SIGN-IN HUNT:

CHECK-IN Hunt

Hunters must check-in prior to hunting. Check-in permits are available starting at noon one day prior to the hunt and anytime during the hunt. Complete the Check-in permit; deposit the bottom copy in the permit box at the check station; keep the top copy in your possession throughout the hunt. You must have a completed permit in your possession prior to hunting. Check-in is required once for each check-in period.

Two deer of either sex may be harvested during any one check-in hunt, depending on the specific hunt regulations. 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.

SIGN-IN Hunt

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 gohuntgeorgia.com. Sign-in is required only once per hunt.

Two deer may be harvested during any sign-in hunt lasting less than one week. During a sign-in hunt lasting one week or longer, the bag limit is the statewide season.

All big game harvested at a sign-in hunt must be checked using GA Game Check.

Mandatory WMA Bear Harvest Requirements: All bears must be reported and tagged.

GATE CLOSURES

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 big game hunts 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

ADULT/CHILD HUNTS AND SUPERVISION

A child under age 16 must be accompanied by and under “direct supervision” 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. During Adult/Child big game quota hunts, only one firearm is allowed and only the child may hunt. During Adult/Child big game non-quota hunts, adults and children may possess firearms and hunt (unless otherwise specified), provided that the adult is directly supervising a child who is actively participating in the hunt. All Adult/Child 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 possess firearms and hunt, provided that the adult is directly supervising a child who is actively participating in the hunt.

RESTRICTIONS

QUALITY BUCK

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 these three ways:

  • Requires a minimum of 4 points on one side and points must be 1 inch or longer OR
  • Requires a 15 inch outside spread OR 16 inch main beam.
  • 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 quality buck 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

Feral hogs are not a game species and are considered incidental take during any hunt on a WMA (except during Special Hog Hunts). Hunters must use the legal weapons for the specific game species for which the WMA is open. If a WMA is open for small game, you may only use legal weapons for small game. Muzzleloaders and archery equipment are legal during small game and turkey seasons. However, during designated Special Hog Hunts, you may use any legal firearm. Electronic calls may be used for feral hog. No night hunting or baiting on WMAs.

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 special 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.

WMA ACTIVITIES

CAMPING

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. or before 7:00 a.m. in such a manner that such devices may be heard by other WMA visitors.
  • No camping or driving motor vehicles on wildlife openings.
  • No carving, cutting, chopping or damaging of live 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.

Collecting Firewood

Only trees that are dead and down may be cut and used for firewood while recreating 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

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). Some WMA fishing sites may be designated as a GORP area and GORP requirements would apply.

Public Fishing Areas: A Fishing License and a WMA License are 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, Honorary, Disability, Sportsmen’s, or Lifetime Sportsman’s License are not required to have a WMA License for fishing.

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 special hog only hunts by hunters actively participating in the hunt (except where otherwise specified according to 391-4- 2-.70). 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 (GORP regulations 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. All WMA laws, rules and regulations, unless otherwise specified, must be followed on Public Fishing Areas and State Parks open for hunting. WMA license is required except for State Park Quota Hunts.

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 the hunting seasons. Specific recreation sites may be closed as needed for management purposes.

Feral Hog, Deer, Bear & Turkey

Questions regarding specific WMAs are handled by the appropriate Region Office.