All hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1961 must successfully complete a hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. All hunter education courses certified or mandated by any state wildlife agency or Canadian province are accepted. Residents may sign up for online or classroom courses at gohuntgeorgia.com or by calling 1-800-366-2661.
Hunter education is not required to purchase an Apprentice Hunting License, or short-term license. Persons purchasing a Lifetime License must have hunter education before hunting, unless exempt by age or supervision. 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 (see Shooting Preserve License).
To obtain a replacement hunter education card visit gooutdoorsgeorgia.com or call 1-800-366-2661 Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
HUNTERS UNDER AGE 16 are not required to complete a hunter education course. A child under age 16 must be under “direct supervision” or “directly supervised,” which means uninterrupted, unaided visual contact and auditory communication with the child by an adult. 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 on WMAs and Federal Areas (see Federal Area Regulations).
HUNTERS AGE 16–25 are required to have a hunter education card when purchasing a season hunting license and must be in possession while hunting.
HUNTERS OVER AGE 25 and born after Jan. 1, 1961 must successfully complete a hunter education course but are not required to 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 a short-term Apprentice Hunting License to hunt and fish in Georgia.
Any person age 16 and older, entering any WMA or PFA must have a valid license to hunt or fish or a Lands Pass (exclusions apply, visit georgiawildlife.com/LandAccess). WMAs and PFAs that require a license to hunt or fish or a Lands Pass are marked with a sign at the site or area entrance. See page Public Hunting Opportunities for more information.
Reliable identification and a Social Security Number (SSN) are required to purchase a license (OCGA § 19-11-9.1). Game Wardens may require positive identification when checking licenses. All required hunting licenses and stamps must be in possession while hunting or while assisting another hunter. It is unlawful to obtain, possess, or use multiple licenses for the purpose of circumventing the season bag limits.
RESIDENT means any person who has been domiciled within the State of Georgia (declared Georgia the only state of legal residence) for a period of at least three months. A valid Georgia driver’s license or Georgia ID is required to show residency. Nonresident full time Georgia college students with a valid college ID living in Georgia, and active duty military personnel with a valid U.S. DOD Common Access Card with Uniformed Services affiliation and the dependents of such military personnel may obtain resident hunting and fishing licenses other than resident lifetime, disability and honorary licenses. Nonresident landowners must purchase a nonresident license.
RESIDENT HUNTERS UNDER AGE 16 must possess a Harvest Record to hunt deer and turkey. They are not required to possess any of the following: Hunting, Big Game or Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp
SENIOR CITIZENS: Georgia residents born on or before June 30, 1952 may obtain a Lifetime Sportsman’s License free of charge. An optional Lifetime Sportsman’s Plastic Card may be purchased for $10.
RETURNING GEORGIA VETERANS (one time only): Georgia resident military veterans who were on active duty for 90 or more consecutive days and were honorably discharged on or after July 1, 2005 may obtain one annual Honorary License free of charge. Such veterans may obtain this license by providing a copy of their DD Form 214 and a completed DNR application.
Types of Licenses
RESIDENT HUNTING, COMBO OR SPORTSMAN’S LICENSE is required for all resident hunters 16 years of age or older, except when hunting or fishing on one’s own land or land owned by immediate family (blood or dependent relationship) residing in the same household.
NONRESIDENT HUNTING, COMBO or SPORTSMAN’S LICENSE is required for all nonresident hunters, except nonresident small game hunters that are under 16. All nonresident big game hunters must obtain a harvest record (deer and turkey) and those 16 and older must possess a big game license (included in Sportsman’s License).
HARVEST RECORD (DEER & TURKEY) is required for any person who hunts deer or turkey, regardless of age. The Harvest Record is only valid for a single year and may be obtained on or after March 1 for the upcoming season. Harvest must be recorded before moving the animal from the site of the kill, and reported online or by telephone within 72 hours.
ALLIGATOR HARVEST PERMIT is required to harvest an alligator. All persons accompanying or assisting an alligator permit holder will need a valid hunting license. A free permit is available for Lifetime Sportsman’s License, Disability Sportsman’s License, Disability Hunting License, Honorary License, and Resident Optional Youth Sportman’s License holders selected for an Alligator Quota hunt.
Big game license is required, in addition to a valid Hunting License, for hunting deer, turkey, or bear. The Big Game License is not required by resident hunters hunting one’s own land or land owned by immediate family (blood or dependent relationship) residing in the same household, resident or nonresident persons under the age of 16, or anyone who possesses an Honorary, Sportsman’s, or Lifetime Sportsman’s License. A Harvest Record is required to hunt deer or turkey.
GEORGIA MIGRATORY BIRD STAMP is required for any person who hunts migratory birds (doves, ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe, coots, rails, or gallinules) and is required by age to have a hunting license to hunt. The Free Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp is available for all resident Landowners hunting their own land and any hunters with a valid Sportsman’s License, Youth Sportsman’s License, Disability Sportsman’s License, Disability Hunting License, Honorary License or Lifetime Sportsman’s License.
Federal Duck Stamp is required for all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age 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, www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or usps.com.
Sportsman’s License includes Hunting, Big Game, Fishing and Trout Licenses. Duck hunters must obtain a Federal Duck Stamp. Migratory Bird hunters must obtain a Free Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp. Saltwater anglers must obtain a Free SIP license. Deer and turkey hunters must obtain a Free Harvest Record.
RESIDENT OPTIONAL YOUTH SPORTSMAN’S LICENSE : this optional multi-year can be purchased by resident youth through age 15 and does not expire until the sportsman’s 17th birthday. The license includes privileges for all hunting and fishing including big game and trout. A harvest record, Migratory Bird Stamp, Quota Alligator Harvest Permit if selected, and SIP are free but must be obtained each year. Hunter education is required at age 16.
NONRESIDENT YOUTH SPORTSMAN’S LICENSE: this annual license can be purchased by nonresident youth through age 15. The license includes privileges for all hunting and fishing including big game and trout (except for the Quota Alligator Harvest Permit). A harvest record, Migratory Bird Stamp, and SIP are free but must be obtained. Hunter education is required at age 16.
Disability Hunting License: Georgia residents who are permanently and totally disabled may obtain a Disability License. A qualifying disability is an impairment of a permanent and total nature and is certified as such by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, Medicaid, Medicare, or Railroad Retirement System.
Lifetime Sportman’s Licenses: cover all state paid hunting and fishing privileges (free required state licenses and the Federal Duck stamp are not included) and are valid for the life of the license holder. These privileges specifically include Hunting, Big Game, Fishing, and Trout Licenses. Lifetime License applications may be obtained at gohuntgeorgia.com, by calling 1-800-366-2661, or by visiting any WRD office. For identification and proof of residency requirements.
Excluded from Lifetime Sportsman’s License: Free Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp, Federal Duck Stamp, Free SIP permit, and a Free Deer and Turkey Harvest Record. These must be obtained annually.
Resident / NonResident Shooting Preserve License: A 2-year ($12) or lifetime ($75) shooting preserve license is available to residents and nonresidents. This license covers hunting pen raised game birds and fishing in any private or state waters located within the boundaries of licensed private or commercial shooting preserves. Hunter safety requirements for 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. Exception: it shall be lawful to hunt bobwhite quail between October 1 and March 31 of the following year on licensed shooting preserves.
“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.
- 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 and public lands, unless otherwise specified. 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 see Dog Training.
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 firearms deer season
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, see Migratory Bird Regulations.
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. 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 open.
For information on protected species, please visit georgiawildlife.com.