Primitive-Weapons, Youth Firearms Starts Saturday

Bears in the Northern Zone can now be taken by kids with rifles during Youth-Only firearms season.

Brad Gill | October 7, 2021

It’ll be a bit noisier Saturday morning in the Georgia deer woods compared to the previous four weeks as the primitive-weapons and youth-only firearms deer seasons begin.

This concurrent season will last from Oct. 9-15, and during that time youth under 16 years of age may hunt deer with any legal deer firearm. These hunting opportunities are for private lands, although some WMAs will be open to primitive-weapons hunting in conjunction with the state season.

Isabelle Blackston, of Adel, was 13 years old when she shot this Emanuel County buck on Oct. 12, 2019 during the state’s youth-only firearms season.

Always refer to the DNR Hunting Regulations booklet or their online version for dates on state and federal properties before attending. 

Brand new this year is that kids may shoot bears with firearms in the Northern Zone during the week-long youth-only firearms season. Youth may also shoot a bear on a Northern Zone WMA anytime during the 2021-22 season, if there is a scheduled primitive-weapons hunt occurring.

“Basically, our intent is for youth to have maximum opportunity for deer and bears in the Northern Zone, because we have plenty of bears up there,” said Tina Johannsen, WRD’s assistant chief of Game Management. 

In addition, youth may now deer hunt with a firearm on any WMA that is hosting a scheduled primitive-weapons hunt during the 2021-22 season.

During the primitive-weapons and the youth-only firearms seasons, all hunters, including those who are still hunting with bows and crossbows, must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange. The only exception to this rule is for those in archery-only counties or on WMAs where no primitive-weapons hunting is taking place.

A great bonus to these concurrent seasons is it allows both primitive-weapons and youth hunters the opportunity to harvest a doe before the statewide firearms season begins on Saturday, Oct. 16, when many counties become buck-only for firearms hunting for some number of days. Refer to GON’s 2021-2022 Quick Guide To Georgia Hunting Season Dates for when firearms hunters can harvest antlerless deer once firearms season begins on Oct. 16.

GON’s Youth Big-Buck Contest

It’s not too late, but you better hurry and make sure those GON subscriptions are up to date before Saturday’s youth-only firearms season begins. 

The youth or a parent must have a GON subscription 24 hours before a buck is killed for it to be eligible to enter in GON’s Youth Big-Buck Contest. We have dozens of parents each season who try to subscribe and get a young hunter entered after a buck is killed, but at that point it’s too late to participate.

The Youth Big-Buck Contest is conducted through the Truck-Buck contest. There is no separate entry process. All kids 15 and younger who enter bucks through Truck-Buck are also automatically entered in GON’s Youth Big-Buck Contest. One membership, one entry process—entry into two separate contests for GON kids.

All 17 GON Youth Big-Buck Contest winners earn a Rugged Road Outdoors 30-Can Soft Cooler ($149.99 retail), and an awesome LockedOn 360 Mobile Gun Vise ($169 retail)—a super tool for safe and more effective hunting for all ages, but especially kids. Plus, each youth weekly winner gets a personalized Realtree Shoot-Out jersey.

Our grand-prize Youth Big-Buck Contest Shoot-Out winner will be determined in July 2022 at the GON Ag-Pro Outdoor Blast, and they’ll win a $3,000 shopping spree at Adventure Outdoors, along with an outdoor weekend for hunting deer and hogs and fishing at Woods-N-Water Outfitters. 

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