DNR: Don’t believe rumors; deer season isn’t being reduced

Published 4:33 am Monday, April 8, 2013

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Hunters and others recently may have heard one of multiple news sources claim that the deer season length was to be reduced in the 2013-2014 hunting year. This is not the case, according to a press release from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division wishes to address this concern and remind citizens to always check online at www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/regulations for the correct information.

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“The proposed regulations under consideration recommend a 25-day reduction only in the number of either-sex or ‘doe days,’ not in the length of the overall deer season,” said John Bowers, assistant chief of the Game Management Section. “This proposed change is a result of scientific data and deer hunters will still be able to hunt bucks during either-sex days.”

Long-term data indicate a statewide decline in the fawn recruitment rate in all physiographic regions of the state. At the same time, does have comprised 60-65% of the annual deer harvest. Additionally, the harvest of does has increased by 13% over the past few years. In other words, there are less deer being recruited to replenish and stabilize the deer population. The broad trend of declining fawn recruitment rates coupled with high levels of doe harvest warrant a statewide regulatory action.

Additionally, as indicated by a marked increase in public dissatisfaction related to antlerless deer harvest, declines in deer density have become an issue of concern among many deer hunters in Georgia.

“We believe the proposed reduction in either-sex days strikes a reasonable balance between diverse hunter desires while attempting to address statewide biological concerns,” said Bowers. “There is no proposal that will satisfy everyone. The Department has done its best to develop a balanced proposal. While the proposed reduction in either-sex days reduces the opportunity to harvest does, it maintains the opportunity to deer hunt and harvest antlered bucks.”

The economic impact of deer hunters and hunting activities is beneficial to the state and to conservation efforts. Deer hunting in Georgia is responsible for more than $537 million in retail sales and supports more than 11,500 jobs. In fact, deer hunting in Georgia has an economic impact in excess of $890 million. Additionally, since 1939, hunters have directly contributed more than $165 million for wildlife conservation in Georgia.

For more information or to view the proposed regulation changes, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/proposedregulations or contact Hunter Services at (770) 761-3045.