Hunters ready to stock up the freezer with some venison will get to take to the woods beginning tomorrow morning.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) says bow hunting can begin 30 minutes before sunrise and ends 30 minutes after sunset. Statewide, hunters can use archery equipment throughout the entire 2020-2021 deer season.
State deer biologist Charlie Killmaster says he hears from many people that it’s too hot during archery season but he says it’s actually “an excellent time to hunt.”
“Deer are more predictable now than most of the rest of the deer season,” Killmaster explains. “Plus, now is the time to hunt the bucks you’ve had on camera all summer before seasonal home ranges shift to fall core areas. Oh, and don’t forget that deer must now be reported to Game Check within 24 hours!”
Game Check is a moderately new phone app that lets hunters report their harvest almost immediately. Deer can be reported on the Outdoors GA app (which works regardless of cell service), at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.
Last year, nearly 80,000 archery hunters harvested almost 40,000 deer. DNR Wildlife Tech Supervisor Frank Manning says, however, that hunters in the mountains may find the population a little lower than normal this year.
“It’s been lower than it has been in the past due to a lot of habitat loss,” Manning said.
For those planning on bagging some bucks, Manning advises that everyone must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. He also says it’s important to know the rules before you go.
“In Georgia, you can take ten antlerless deer and two antlered bucks, one of which has to be four points on one side of one-inch long,” Manning explained.
Manning also said there is one big difference between bow season and gun season.
“During archery season you do not have to wear the hunter orange,” Manning says. “So everybody be sure of your target which you should do anyway during archery season because you have to have a well-placed shot and the animal has to be pretty close.”
Tomorrow is also the official start of bear hunting season which runs concurrent with deer season.
For more on deer hunting, including finding a game processor, reviewing regulations, viewing maps (either sex day or the rut map), visit https://georgiawildlife.com/deer-info.
TREE STAND SAFETY
Tree stands provide hunters a great way to pursue deer, but did you know that more than half of all hunting incidents are due to falls, or other safety issues, with tree stands? Out of 36 incidents in 2019, 20 were tree stand use related, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
The following are recommended tips for keeping you safe while utilizing tree stands for hunting:
When using a non-climbing portable or ladder stand, hunters should securely fasten the stand to the tree and install ladders or steps according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Hunters should ALWAYS wear a Fall-Arrest System (FAS)/Full Body Harness during ascent and descent, and follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions. Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer recommended and should not be used. Failure to use a FAS could result in serious injury or death.
Hunters should ALWAYS attach their FAS in the manner described by the manufacturer. Failure to do so may result in suspension without the ability to recover into the tree stand. Be aware of the hazards associated with full-body harnesses and the fact that prolonged suspension in a harness may also be fatal.
Have in place a plan for rescue, including the use of cell phones or signal devices that may be easily reached and used while suspended. If rescue personnel cannot be notified, you must have an alternate plan for recovery or escape. If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion or use your suspension relief device.
Consider your personal physical condition before going out. If you do not have the ability to recover or escape from a FAS, it is recommended that you hunt only from the ground.
Hunters should ALWAYS use a haul line to pull their gear and unloaded firearm or bow into their tree stand. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower equipment to the ground on the opposite side of the tree.
Staying awake and alert is important. Hunters should avoid taking medications that cause drowsiness prior to hunting. Also, never use alcohol or drugs before or while hunting.
Hunters should always inform someone of where they are hunting and what time they expect to return.
For more information on tree stands or hunting-related safety, call 706-557-3355 or visit https://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/huntereducation.