Brush up on hunting regulations

Published 10:53 am Monday, August 22, 2011

There were some mornings in the 60s this week. Who would have thought it, during Dog Days and also the middle of August? Normally in south Georgia there are two times that can be translated loosely as hot times and they are Dog Days and anytime in August. We have been shown this week that it can be a little cool, even at those times. Maybe this is telling us that we are going to have a fall season with more fall weather than in the last few years. We all can hope.

I have said recently that squirrel season comes in on Aug 15 — at least it has, the last few years.

I finally got my 2011-2012 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide. You can have yours also by going by any place that sells hunting and fishing licenses. They are free for the asking, so use them so you won’t be on the inside looking out. Reading it, I find that squirrel season — with a limit of 12 daily — started on Aug. 15. So even though it is really hot during the middle of the afternoon, hunting season is in.

Of course, deer season is the main concern of most of the hunters in the Southeast, so know that archery season is scheduled to come in on Sept. 10 and go out on Oct. 14. The next morning, Oct. 15, the primitive weapons season comes in for a week, going out on Oct. 21. And the next day, Oct. 22, the firearms deer season comes in and remains in season until Jan. 15, 2012. That is a long time, and it may be just long enough for you to fill those 12 tags and still keep you within the legal limit, as long as 10 of them are antlerless and on the remaining two, one is an eight point or better, but just only one.

“Either sex” days are like they were last year. If the season is in, you can legally take an antlerless deer. There are not many exceptions to this, but be careful as there are a few counties in the southern zone that are designated as buck-only and may also have restrictions on the size of antlered bucks to be taken. I think that the folks in these counties have decided that the only way to have a lot of big bucks in is to not shoot little or small bucks. That way, if there is a buck out there, he has a good chance to be big.

The powers that be have decided that we can legally bait or feed deer during the hunting season, and hunt over it also, without having to be on the lookout for the game warden. The new rule says, “In the southern deer zone, deer may be hunted upon, around, over or near any feed or bait on private lands provided the hunter has written permission from the landowner. Any such feed or bait shall not be placed in a manner as to cause hunting on an adjacent property to be prohibited. The placing of any feed or bait and the hunting of deer over said feed or bait on any state or federal lands is prohibited.” So, yes, you can put out that corn or other such bait and hunt over it and then talk about it.

Feral hogs fall under the same rules, although read the rules for hog or deer hunting over bait. All these years you have not been able to legally hunt over bait, and now you can. I might be tempted to ask for my money back if I had ever paid a ticket for hunting over bait. Some of those fines were right high. One old boy from Alabama was over here and his fine was more than $2,000, and the warden only found a couple of grains of corn on the property.