Public Hunting Opportunities
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
Each WMA offers unique hunting opportunities based upon factors such as habitat types, 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: Interactive maps for all WMAs are available at georgiawildlife.com/AllWMAs. Maps may also be found at check stations, kiosks, and region offices.
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 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 (see Contact information) for more details.
Voluntary Public Access (VPA) Properties
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 within WMA Regulations, but some may not be included due to deadlines. For an accurate list of properties, please visit GoHuntGeorgia.com.
There are reasons why roads may be closed to motor vehicles. Some roads are only intended for WRD personnel to perform administrative activities on a WMA (such as timber harvest, habitat management, prescribed fire or emergency response). Roads that are typically closed may be open during managed hunts or during certain high-use periods 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
CHECK-IN HUNT VS. SIGN-IN HUNT:
For check-in hunts, hunters must check-in prior to hunting. Hunters may check-in starting at noon one day prior to the hunt, anytime during the hunt, or online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com. Check-in is required once for each check-in hunt.
Unless otherwise specified, two deer of either sex may be harvested during any one check-in hunt except on Quality Buck WMAs. See specific WMA listing for hunt details.
All deer and bear 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 or reported through Georgia Game Check.
SIGN-IN & CHECK-IN HUNTS
Depending on the type of hunt, all big game hunters must either sign-in or check-in prior to hunting. For designated check-in hunts, hunters can check in at the check station/kiosk. Both sign-in and check-in are available online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com except for some State Park Hunts and some coastal island WMA hunts. For designated sign-in hunts, sign-in is available beginning at noon one day prior to hunt at check station/kiosk. Sign-in is required once per hunt for big game hunts.
Two deer may be harvested during any sign-in hunt lasting less than ten days. During a sign-in hunt lasting 10 days or longer, the bag limit is the statewide season bag limit. Bag limits for other species are the same as statewide limits, unless otherwise noted under the specific WMA.
All deer and turkey harvested during a sign-in hunt must be checked using GA Game Check and will count toward the hunter’s personal bag limit (see Georgia Game Check, Hunting Information).
Mandatory WMA Bear Harvest Requirements: All bears must be reported and tagged. See Bear & Small Game for specific requirements by Bear Zone.
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 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 on specific WMA.
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 three ways:
- Point Restrictions: Requires a minimum of 4 points on one side and points must be 1 inch or longer.
- Spread Restrictions: Requires a 15 inch outside spread OR 16 inch main beam.
- Point or Spread Restriction: 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 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 and Coyotes
Feral hogs and coyotes may be taken during any small or big game season with the appropriate lawful weapons. In addition, a coyote season will be held from May 16-31 on all WMAs, unless otherwise specified in the WMA listings. On some WMAs during the May 16-31 season, feral hogs may be taken as specified by individual WMA listing. Daylight fluorescent orange is required, for both coyote and feral hogs. Any legal big or small game firearms may be used during coyote and hog season. Electronic calls may be used. No night hunting or baiting allowed. Dogs are NOT allowed unless otherwise specified.
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 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 10 a.m.
All camps or fires shall be in designated campgrounds unless otherwise posted at the check station. Designated 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. 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 straight-line radius of the vacated campsite by the same person(s).
- 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.)
- No camping or driving motor vehicles on wildlife openings.
- No carving, cutting, chopping or damaging of live or standing trees.
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 daylight fluorescent orange during open hunting seasons. Specific recreation sites may be closed as needed for management purposes.
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.
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 US Forest Service offices.
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).
OPERATING MOTOR VEHICLES AND ATVs
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). However, on National Forest Lands, including WMAs on the National Forest, ATVs are restricted to designated trails unless posted otherwise.
“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 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. Horses and bicycles may be used on National Forest Lands not otherwise closed. Horses and bicycles are prohibited on the Appalachian Trail.
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.
CROWS, SNIPE, SORA, RAILS AND WOODCOCK may be hunted on small game dates during the statewide seasons for each species unless otherwise specified. Statewide bag limits and restrictions listed on Migratory Birds Seasons apply.
Duck hunting on managed impoundments at Altamaha (Butler Island), B.F. Grant WMA, Cordele Hatchery, Oconee WMA, Rum Creek WMA, and West Point WMA – Glovers Creek is by quota only. Hunters must hunt from assigned areas or ponds, as specified. 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 that the area is open for small game hunting or as otherwise specified.
Goose hunting is allowed on WMAs 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.
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 specified in the WMA listings. See Alligators & Small Game for more information.
Coyotes may be taken anytime a season is open on a WMA, but hunters may only use weapons legal for the game species for which the season is open. In addition, on WMAs where coyotes can be taken during May 16-31, any legal weapon may be used. During the May season, hunters are required to wear fluorescent orange.
Falconry: Small game may be taken on WMAs (including field trial and archery only areas) by permitted falconers at any time during the state falconry season except during managed big game hunts or as otherwise specified on the specific WMA.
Furbearers: Raccoons, opossum, foxes and bobcats may be hunted within statewide seasons during small game dates, unless otherwise specified in the WMA listings. Furbearers may not be hunted during managed firearms deer hunts. Night hunting is allowed, unless otherwise specified, 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.
Small Game: Small game may be hunted during the specified WMA dates ONLY when the statewide season for that small game species is also open (see statewide season and WMA specific dates). Daylight fluorescent orange is required on small game hunts (except dove and waterfowl) concurrent with firearms deer and bear hunts. No small game or furbearer hunting is allowed during a deer hunt lasting less than 10 days, except that migratory birds may be hunted during archery deer hunts during open state season unless otherwise specified. Some WMAs also allow small game hunting during the statewide primitive weapons deer season (check individual WMA listings).
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 for further details or to apply for a permit.