Clayton County Water Authority Bowhunters Impact Deer Population
After reducing the herd, only six CCWA bowhunts are scheduled in 2005.
It’s been said that bowhunters alone won’t be able to reduce a deer population. According to Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA) personnel, its deer population has dropped in half thanks to bowhunting efforts.
Prior to 1996 the CCWA had deer problems — an estimated 80 to 100 deer per square mile, according to Jep Palmer, recreation area coordinator for the CCWA. Starting in 1996 the area began hosting bowhunts.
“We wanted to cut the herd because it hadn’t been hunted in about 20 years,” said Jep.
In 1996, six lottery-based CCWA hunts were announced for Clayton and Henry County residents. After working with Wildlife Resources Division biologists, a goal of 200 harvested deer per season was set, with 100 of those deer being mature does.
Only 126 deer were taken that first year, so a more aggressive bow schedule was set from 1997-2001 — 13 hunts per year. In 2001 hunters from outside the two south Atlanta counties could hunt if the lotteries for the hunts weren’t filled. In 2002 CCWA began hunts on Friday afternoons, and 14 hunts took place. A minor drop to 12 hunts took place in 2004, and the number of available hunting sites dropped from 138 to about 70 because of the construction of a new wetland.
“We put the number of people out there that we did, and we were able to do it (drop the population),” said Jep. “We’re probably down to about 40 deer per square mile. Originally it was said we probably wouldn’t be able to reduce the herd with archery only.”
Although there’s been no WRD survey that says the population has dropped, CCWA employees say they now see far fewer deer, and bowhunters also say the population is down.
“It’s absolutely down,” said Mike Meason of McDonough. “The number of deer used to be incredible. Now you can go a whole weekend and only a couple of deer get killed.”
As a result of the lower deer numbers, the CCWA will host only six bowhunts for the 2005 season. All hunts begin on Fridays at 1 p.m. and run through Sunday evenings. Those start dates have been set: September 9, 16, 23 and November 4, 11 and 18.
“We have the herd down pretty good,” said Jep. “We open the property to hunters now to maintain the herd.”
Give this area a try this fall. Several Pope and Young bucks have been taken from the property.
The deadline to apply for the hunts is August 1, and you must be a Clayton or Henry County resident to apply. Applications can be found at the three CCWA reservoirs — Shamrock, Blalock and J.W. Smith. They’re also available at <www.ccwa1.com>. Mail your application to 1693 Freeman Rd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30236.
About 70 hunters will be drawn for each hunt, but some hunts do not fill with hunters. If you live outside Clayton and Henry counties you can show up on Friday afternoons and hunt any available site. Sites range in size from five to seven acres.
For any additional questions on bowhunting the CCWA, go to https://www.ccwa.us/hunting-information/
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