Days GON By March 2018
Each month we turn back the clock to see what was being reported in the pages of GON, 30, 20 and 10 years ago. Here’s a look back at what appeared in GON.
30 Years Ago: March 1988
GON Turns One: Your favorite hunting and fishing magazine was celebrating its 1-year anniversary. The subscriber rate had grown to 12,000 members in just one year.
GON Publisher Steve Burch wrote in his editorial, “I cut my teeth on beagles and bird dogs and digging worms for farm pond bluegills. Georgia’s bountiful natural resources have given me much that has enriched my life. Most of my fondest memories center around hunting and fishing.”
Obviously his passion for hunting and fishing led to the success of GON.
1988 Turkey Season: A shorter turkey season 30 years ago ran from March 26-May 5. Thanks in part to the successful trapping and relocation program, 116 of 159 counties were open for spring turkey hunting. Counties hosting their first-ever turkey seasons in 1988 were Coweta, Fayette, Houston, Polk and Treutlen. There were reportedly 225,000 turkeys in the state, up from only 17,500 in 1972.
New Technology Catches Deer Poacher: State biologists used radio telemetry collars attached to deer in order to track and study them. These were generally bulky collars that could be seen from way off. However, some new technology allowed for a very small transmitter to be placed on a deer, one that most people wouldn’t even notice. Whenever a deer died, the transmitter would send out a special mortality signal. The biologists could then track down the deer and figure out cause of death. The transmitters could then be reused.
On Monday morning, March 21, 1988, the mortality signal sounded on “Deer 811” in Murray County. The signal led officers to a trailer park where they found the transmitter. Later that evening when the occupant of the trailer, an 18-year-old young man, arrived home, he was arrested for poaching.
This was the first time the equipment was successfully used to make a law enforcement case.
Turkey Stocking Numbers Down: State biologists had just finished up their trapping seasons and reported about 200 trapped and relocated birds, down from 250 in 1987. Biologists used corn to draw in turkeys and then launched a net over them.
Bill Cooper in the south-central region reported they caught three hens and nine gobblers, which wasn’t good.
“It would take several days to get them on bait, and then they would skip a couple of days before they would come back,” said Bill. “They wouldn’t stay on the bait.”
With trapping season over, you’d think all the state biologists would be anxious to grab their scattergun and hit the woods. Not exactly…
“I’ve seen enough turkeys for a while,” said Bill. “On opening day of turkey season, I’d rather go fishing.”
20 Years Ago: March 1998
Muscogee County 33-pointer: GON reported on Blake Voltz’s Muscogee County buck being officially measured. It netted 231 2/8 inches and was the No. 2 best non-typical ever killed in the state. Today, it sits at No. 4.
Blake said the deer on his quality-managed piece of property were in full-blown rut on Nov. 2. The 33-pointer was the eighth buck he’d seen that day.
10 Years Ago: March 2008
Treutlen Gobbler New State Record: Bragging rights went to Sean Bennett and Treutlen County for having the No. 1 atypical bird ever recorded in Georgia. The eight-bearded thunder chicken had a score of 152.250. One surprising thing about the tom was that it only had 11/16-inch-long spurs, meaning it was only 2 years old.
“I didn’t see the multiple beards until he was on the ground. Once I got him on the ground, I knew he was special,” said Sean.
Sean’s bird has now slipped back to No. 6. Turn to page 70 for the updated records.