A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Public Lands — Part 1

By: Charlie Killmaster, State Deer Biologist

Where to Hunt – Choosing a Public Area

hunting-regs-coverStep 1– Pick up a copy of the current Guide to Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations. The Guide is also available at www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.

Step 2- In the Guide, find the General WMA Regulations. Read this whole section 3 times. Even experienced hunters may realize there are several things they may not be aware of about hunting on public land.

Step 3– Choose an area you would like to hunt. There are several different types of public hunting land available including state managed Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), National Forest (Federal), National Wildlife Refuges (Federal), State Parks (State), National Parks (Federal), and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE, Federal).

There is a locator map in the Guide, or you can visit our interactive Georgia Outdoor Map to help you choose areas near you. After you’ve decided on the property you’d like to hunt, look up the chosen area in the Guide to see the specific regulations for that area. Georgia has many public hunting areas around the state, and regulations differ widely from area to area. Federal areas are typically listed in a separate section after WMAs in the Guide.

All WMAs are partly or wholly managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, but the ownership of the land can vary and includes state-owned land, private land leased by the state, and federal land. For example, Cedar Creek is a WMA, but the majority is owned by the Forest Service, so some Forest Service rules also apply—such as No ATVs.

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