“Hunting” means pursuing, shooting, killing, taking, or capturing wildlife or feral hogs. This term also includes acts such as placing, setting, drawing, or using any device used to take wildlife or feral hogs, whether any such act results in taking or not, and includes every act of assistance to any person in taking or attempting to take such wildlife or feral hogs.
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.
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.
Archery equipment and any muzzleloading firearm are legal during primitive weapons season. Scopes are legal.
Convicted felons may not possess any firearm or muzzleloading firearm while hunting unless that individual’s right to carry has been restored (OCGA § 16-11-131). This does not apply to archery equipment.
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.
Shotguns with No. 2 or smaller shot and any muzzleloading firearm.
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: For hunting game animals other than deer and bear, shotguns shall be limited to a capacity of not more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined. If a plug is necessary to so limit the capacity, the plug shall be of 1 piece and incapable of being removed from the loading end of the magazine.
- Suppressors: Lawfully possessed suppressors may be used for hunting on private property. Permission of the landowner is required.
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 No. 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.
A hunter, and anyone accompanying the hunter, must 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, firearms deer season or during designated special hog hunts.
Hunter orange is not required on WMA or Corps of Engineers tracts designated archery-only, unless otherwise indicated.
Legal hours for hunting are 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset, except alligators, raccoons, opossums, foxes, coyotes, bobcats and feral hogs which may be hunted at night. Any light used to hunt raccoons, opossums, foxes, bobcats or feral hogs must be carried on the body of the hunter, affixed to a helmet or hat worn by the hunter, or be part of a belt system worn by the hunter. There is no voltage restriction on such lights. Sunrise and sunset times are available on the Outdoors GA App and can be found here: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/. Legal hours for migratory bird hunting conform to federal regulations.
Counties, or parts of counties, not specifically open by law or regulation are closed to hunting. Counties open for hunting do not include lands within WMAs, PFAs, State Parks, or other State/Federal lands, except when those lands are specifically opened. Hunting for all species of wildlife is prohibited on the portion of Morgan Falls Lake (Bull Sluice) lying within Fulton Co. and in Willeo Creek.
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 gofishgeorgia.com.