Legal Equipment for Hunting
“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.
- 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, air bows or air rifles.
- 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.
- Plugged Shotguns: For hunting migratory game birds, 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, unless otherwise specified. Permission of the landowner is required on private land.
Crossbows (including torsion spring models), 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. Draw weight, let-off, bolt/arrow-length, recovery devices, and sights are not restricted. See the Summary of Bowhunting Equipment Regulations at https://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/hunter-resources for more details.
Archery equipment, air bows, .30-cal. or larger air rifles and muzzleloaders or muzzleloading shotguns are legal during primitive weapons season. Scopes are legal.
Deer & Bear
- 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: .30-cal. or larger, or muzzleloading shotguns 20 gauge or larger. Scopes are legal.
- Air Guns: Any air rifle of at least .30 caliber or air bow utilizing unignited compressed gas or air is legal during primitive weapons and firearms seasons.
Shotguns with No. 2 or smaller shot, any muzzleloading firearm, any air rifle of at least .30 caliber or air bow utilizing unignited compressed gas or air. Hunters are not required to plug shotguns for turkey.
Small Game & Furbearer
- Rifles and Handguns: Any .22-cal. or smaller rimfire, any muzzleloading firearm, or any caliber air rifle or air gun. For fox & bobcat, centerfire firearms of .17 caliber and larger may be used (see WMA Restrictions on pg. 42). 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.
Georgia Game Check
All alligator, bear, deer, and turkey harvests must be reported through Georgia Game Check within 24 hours. For reporting requirements on certain WMA, VPA, and State Park hunts see General WMA Regulations.
How to Report Your Alligator, Bear, Deer, or Turkey:
Cell Phone Handy?
If you have a cell phone, enter the harvest date and county on the Harvest Record through the Go Outdoors GA App, online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661 before moving your harvest from the site of the kill.
You can report your harvest through the GA Outdoors App when your phone has no service. Enter your harvest date and county on the Harvest Record through the App. When you get to a location with service, access the App and sync to receive your confirmation number.
No Phone? No Problem!
Log It—Enter the harvest date and county on your paper Harvest Record before moving the harvest from the site of the kill.
Report It—Within 24 hours of the kill, report your harvest by going online to GoOutdoors
Georgia.com or calling 1-800-366-2661.
Record It—Copy the confirmation number received onto your paper Harvest Record.
Training Dogs on Private Land
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. 6 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.
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. 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.
For information on protected species, please visit georgiawildlife.com.
Hunter Orange Requirements
A hunter, and anyone accompanying the hunter, must wear as an outer garment at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent 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 or bear seasons
Hunter orange is required during primitive weapons and firearms hunts for deer, bear, and special opportunity coyote and feral hog hunts on WMAs, VPAs, and federal lands. Hunter orange is not required on WMA, VPAs, or Corps of Engineers tracts designated “archery-only”, nor during archery deer hunts held on a WMA during the statewide primitive weapons or firearms seasons (unless otherwise indicated). Hunter orange is required on WMA and VPA small game hunts that are concurrent with firearms deer or bear hunts (see more information on General WMA Regulations).
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, or bobcats 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.
Legal hours for migratory birds are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset (see Migratory Birds Seasons). Sunrise and sunset times are available on the Go Outdoors GA App.