Public Hunting Opportunities
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
Each WMA offers unique hunting opportunities based upon factors such as size, habitat, topography, access, wildlife population dynamics and public desires. Therefore, each WMA has specific rules and regulations. Being familiar with Unlawful Actions (Public Hunting Opportunities), information that follows, and regulations for a specific WMA can ensure you have an enjoyable experience.
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 signage at the site or entrance. Passes and 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 or are engaged in commercial activities 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.
Maps: Interactive maps for all WMAs are available at georgiawildlife.com/AllWMAs. Maps may also be found at check stations, kiosks, and region offices.
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.
camping is allowed year-round. Camping and campfires must be in designated campgrounds unless otherwise posted at the check station. Camping, or establishment of a campsite, is limited to a maximum of 14 consecutive days, after which the campsite must 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 straight-line radius of the vacated campsite by the same person(s).
Designated DNR-managed campgrounds may have a fee and/or require reservations. Payments and reservations may be made online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com or by calling 1-800-366-2661.
No musical instruments, radios, televisions, generators or other noise making devices may be used after 10:00 p.m. in a manner that they may be heard by other WMA users. (Note: Medically needed devices or aids to disabled persons are permitted.)
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.
No carving, cutting, chopping or damaging of live or standing trees.
National forest lands: Camping is allowed anywhere unless otherwise indicated or signed. Forest Service regulations apply on WMAs located on National Forest lands.
hiking & 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 daylight fluorescent orange during open hunting seasons. Specific recreation sites may be closed as needed for management purposes.
collecting firewood: 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 Game Management region office. On National Forests, firewood permits are available from the district U.S. Forest Service offices.
Motor Vehicles, ATVs, Horses & Bicycles
All motor vehicles are restricted to roads open for vehicular access. ATVs may only be operated on open 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).
“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.
On National forest lands, including WMAs on the National Forest, ATVs are restricted to designated ATV trails unless posted otherwise.
Horses and Bicycles
Horses and bicycles are allowed on open roads, designated trails, or designated areas (some specific area restrictions may apply). Bicycles may be used on closed roads for the purpose of hunter access. Electric bicycles (750 watts or less) may be used the same as pedal powered bicycles. Those exceeding 750 watts are restricted to roads open for vehicular access. Horses may be used off roads and trails during permitted field trials.
On National forest lands, horses and bicycles may be used on lands not otherwise closed. Electric bicycles are restricted to roads open for motor vehicles. Horses, bicycles, and electric bicycles are prohibited on the Appalachian Trail.
There are reasons why roads may be closed to motor vehicles. Some roads are intended for Official Use Only (e.g., timber harvest, habitat management, emergency response). Roads that are typically closed may be open during managed hunts or during certain high-use periods to improve 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 (Contact Information) regarding questions pertaining to the specific status of roads or access features
Hunting, Fishing & Trapping
Sign-in required for all bear, deer, and turkey hunts unless otherwise noted for a specific area listing. Sign in only once for each hunt segment or season. Sign-in can be done online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com except for some State Park Hunts and some coastal island WMA hunts. Sign-in available the day prior to the hunt.
Bag limits are the same as statewide limits unless otherwise specified below or for a specific area listing. All alligator, bear (Northern Zone), deer, and turkey are to be recorded on your harvest record and reported in Georgia Game Check (Hunting Information) except as otherwise specified below.
All deer hunts or seasons are either-sex unless otherwise noted in the area listing. On areas with antler restrictions in effect, all deer hunts are quality buck and antlerless unless otherwise noted in the area listing.
bonus deer hunts: No more than two (2) deer may be killed unless otherwise noted in area listing. On areas with antler restrictions in effect, no more than one (1) of the two (2) deer may be an antlered buck. Deer killed are not to be recorded on your deer harvest record or reported in Georgia Game Check. Deer are to be taken on day of kill to the check station where agency staff will tag the deer. Deer can be brought to the check station whole, field dressed, or quartered.
Bag limit is statewide limit except that no more than one (1) gobbler per season may be taken per a single WMA, department-managed land, or National Forest lands outside of WMAs unless otherwise noted in the specific area listing.
All bears must be reported and tagged. See Bear, Turkey, Feral Hog, Alligator & Small Game for specific requirements by Bear Zone. Bear killed during bonus deer hunts are not to be recorded on your bear harvest record or reported in Georgia Game Check. These bear are to be taken on day of kill to the check station where agency staff will tag the bear.
Crows, Snipe, Sora, Rails and Woodcock may be hunted during the statewide seasons (Migratory Birds Seasons) for each species unless otherwise specified.
Dove: On managed dove fields on opening day, legal hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise to noon unless otherwise noted in area listing. Dove hunters may not enter the field prior to 1 hour before sunrise.
Duck hunting on managed impoundments at Altamaha (Butler & Champney Islands), B.F. Grant, Oconee, Rum Creek, and West Point (Glovers Creek) WMAs and Cordele Hatchery is by quota only. Hunters must hunt from assigned areas or ponds. Shooting hours end at noon, except the last Saturday of the season when hunting is allowed until sunset. See Quota Hunts for quota hunt information.
Waterfowl on all other WMA locations may be hunted any day of the waterfowl season or as otherwise specified.
Goose hunting is allowed on WMAs when the area is open for small game, 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.
Small game and furbearers may be hunted subject to statewide seasons and bag limits (Small Game Seasons, Dates & Limits) except as otherwise specified below and noted for a specific area listing.
Small game and furbearer hunting are not allowed during quota hunts unless otherwise noted in the specific area listing.
Daylight fluorescent orange is required on small game hunts (except dove and waterfowl) concurrent with firearms deer or bear hunts.
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 noted in the specific area listing. See Bear, Turkey, Feral Hog, Alligator & Small Game for more information.
Coyotes may be taken anytime a WMA is open to hunting, but hunters may only use weapons legal for the species for which the area is open. During small game hunts and dates, centerfire firearms are not allowed. Additionally, coyote season is May 16-31 on all WMAs with any legal weapon, unless otherwise specified in the WMA specific area listings. Hunters are required to wear fluorescent orange and no night hunting or baiting is allowed. Electronic calls may be used.
Falconry: Small game may be taken on WMAs (including field trial and archery only areas) by permitted falconers during the state falconry season unless otherwise noted in the specific area listing.
feral hogs may be taken anytime a WMA is open to hunting, but hunters may only use weapons legal for the species for which the area is open. During small game hunts and dates, centerfire firearms are not allowed. On some WMAs during the May 16-31 coyote season, feral hogs may be taken unless otherwise noted in the specific area listing. On WMAs where feral hogs can be taken during May 16-31, any legal weapon may be used and hunters are required to wear fluorescent orange. Electronic calls may be used. No night hunting or baiting allowed. Dogs are NOT allowed unless otherwise specified.
Fox squirrel bag limit is one per person per day on all WMAs, VPAs, and department-managed lands.
raccoons, opossums, foxes & bobcats may be hunted at night unless otherwise noted in the specific area listing but is restricted to small game weapons only (no centerfire rifles). Hunters must pick up their dogs by noon on the day following the hunt. No electronic calls.
After Your Successful Hunt
All hunters must make an effort to properly dispose of all portions of deer carcasses after processing. Please do not discard carcasses within 1,500 feet of any campground or within 125 feet of any road or trail. Do not dump multiple deer in one spot. Spread carcasses out so scavengers across the WMA can access the carcasses, facilitating quick clean up.
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).
Tree Stands & 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 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 1 hour before sunrise.
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 (Contact Information) for further details or to apply for a permit.
Youth Hunts and Supervision
Youth under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older and “directly supervised,” which means uninterrupted, unaided visual contact and auditory communication with the youth by the adult when hunting on a WMA.
Big Game (bear, deer, turkey) Hunts: One adult shall supervise no more than one child. Only the youth may hunt. The 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 (16 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 in the specific area listing.
Voluntary Public Access (VPA) Lands
Since 2014, through a USDA grant, the DNR Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) has been able to enhance its WMA program through temporary agreements with private landowners for public hunting opportunities. Some of these VPA opportunities are listed on Voluntary Public Access Lands, but some may not be included due to deadlines. For an up-to-date list of properties, please visit GoHuntGeorgia.com.
Unlawful Activities on WMAs
- 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). See Federal Area Regulations for National Forests.
- Hunting within a posted safety zone or no hunting zone.
- Consuming alcohol except at designated camp sites (this regulation does not apply on National Forest lands).
- Operate any motor vehicle, including off-road vehicles, in a reckless and negligent manner, or in a manner that willfully causes damage to roads, ditches, wildlife habitat, berms, firebreaks, campgrounds or parking areas.
- 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.
- Hunt any big game species, feral hogs, or coyotes with dogs unless otherwise specified.