Curious about hunting public land in Georgia and how to make the most of your hunting trip? If you do not have access to private hunting grounds in the South, hunting public land in Georgia can provide any hunter with an appropriate hunting license access to some excellent hunting areas. However, there are a wide variety of regulations that apply to hunting on wildlife management areas (WMAs) and other public lands in Georgia that a hunter needs to be informed about. Here is everything that you need to know about hunting public land in Georgia, as well as a few of the best public hunting grounds that Georgia has to offer.
- Some of the most important regulations affecting public hunting land in Georgia apply to certain forms of deer hunting. As many local hunters know, hunting deer with dogs is a popular seasonal pastime that is firmly rooted in hunting traditions of the rural South. However, using dogs to hunt deer requires a special deer dog hunting license for every hunter who is over the age of fifteen. This form of hunting is only permitted on a handful of public lands that offer hunters at least 1,000 continuous acres of land and have been approved by the state of Georgia for deer dog hunting. In the counties of DeKalb, Cobb and Clayton, hunting public land in Georgia for deer is only permitted with a bow and arrow, and hunters caught hunting deer with a rifle in these counties on public land can face stiff fines and penalties. Many public lands require a hunter to check out with an official upon leaving a wildlife management area to confirm that deer were hunted according to state and local regulations.
- Individuals hunting public land in Georgia, like a Corps of Engineers tract or a wildlife management area, are usually required to wear 500 square inches or more of bright orange. However, hunters are not required to wear orange if they are hunting public land in Georgia that is reserved exclusively for bow hunting. Hunting hours are limited to just before sunrise to shortly after sunset unless an individual is hunting non-game animals, like opossums, raccoons and alligators. Small game hunters on wildlife management areas are limited to .22 caliber rifles and are not permitted to use buckshot, blow darts or arrow tips that were not designed for small game.
- So long as you take the time to learn and follow the proper regulations for hunting public land in Georgia, there are some top-notch wildlife management areas in the state that offer hunters the opportunity to hunt the prey of a lifetime. One of the largest wildlife management areas in Georgia is the Blue Ridge WMA, located in the north central region of the state. The Blue Ridge WMA consists of nearly 40,000 acres of public hunting grounds with a respectable population of large bucks, and both the size and the location of this facility offers hunters far more privacy than some of the more popular wildlife management areas in Georgia. Many bow hunters enjoy visiting the much smaller Sheffield WMA, where all hunters are limited to bow hunting. The Oconee WMA is popular with recreational hunters who are just looking to get away for a day or two of more casual hunting, and is conveniently located near the beautiful Oconee Lake.