Waterfowl hunters: make preparations for drought conditions

Published 5:01 pm Friday, November 18, 2016

From Staff Reports

The Post-Searchlight

With waterfowl hunting season opening Sat., Nov. 19, duck and goose hunters across Georgia may face some tough hunting conditions, according to experts with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). 

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“Many of the managed wetlands that provide habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl on state-operated Wildlife Management Areas are currently dry,” said WRD state waterfowl biologist Greg Balkcom.  “The only projects with good water are Altamaha WMA, Arrowhead Phase II, Cordele Hatchery, Evans County PFA, and the Dan Denton Project at Oconee WMA.  We’ve got tides at Altamaha, we pump at Oconee, and we have big watersheds to provide water at Cordele, Evans County, and Arrowhead.  Otherwise, our projects that depend on rainfall and runoff are all dry.” 

In extreme cases on areas with little to no water on waterfowl-designated areas, such as at Flat Creek Public Fishing Area and West Point WMA, quota hunts have been cancelled due to the dry conditions.

“Duck and goose hunters may have to shift their efforts towards larger bodies of water such as lakes and reservoirs that may still have water and provide habitat for migrating ducks and geese,” said Balkcom. 

Duck season dates are Nov. 19-27 and Dec. 10 – Jan. 29.  Full migratory bird hunting regulations can be found at www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/Waterfowl. 

To hunt waterfowl in Georgia you will need a Georgia hunting license, a Georgia waterfowl license, a federal duck stamp (now available when you purchase your other recreational licenses), and a free HIP permit.  WRD has made your purchase decision even easier by the creation of the Waterfowl Package at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, which includes all you need (and includes a convenient plastic card). If you choose to hunt on Georgia’s Wildlife Management Areas, you also will need a WMA license (whether purchasing licenses individually or the Waterfowl License Package). 

For more information on Georgia Hunting Regulations, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.