Rate Your 2022 Deer Season & VOTES Survey

Plus, questions on trapping and deer processing.

Brad Gill | December 27, 2022

We’re thinking Austin Stanley will say his deer season was excellent after arrowing this middle Georgia buck.

VOTES, which stands for Voice Of The Educated Sportsman, is a GON survey that has been around for more than two decades. A question on the survey each and every year is Rate Your Deer Season, which gives us county-specific ratings that can be compared to historical trends. We’d like to hear how your deer hunting was this season, and we’d like to hear why you gave it that rating. We also want to hear your comments and opinions on how you feel the hunting could be improved. The survey is for GON magazine readers, who can respond with their magazine cover ballot, or, for those who have an email address recorded with GON, through an emailed survey.

In addition to the annual Rate Your Season survey, we also ask other survey questions. Here are this year’s additional questions to the Rate Your Deer Season survey:

TJ Harper didn’t know how to trap, but he was tired of hearing coyotes at night, so he hired a trapper to teach him how to trap. Here he is with his first bobcat. Now he traps for his hunting club in Putnam County. Last winter, he took several coyotes, foxes, bobcats and countless raccoons.

Question No. 2: On your primary hunting property, do you have a trapping program in place?

It’s no secret that coyotes have a taste for venison and raccoons and opossums have a taste for turkey eggs. We’re curious what percentage of GON readers have a trapping program in place on their properties. 

Question No. 3: If you answered “No,” to Question No. 2, what is the primary reason why? (Please check only one answer).

If you don’t have a trapping program, we’re curious as to why not. A number of factors can come into play as to why trapping hasn’t been an active part of your land management plan. 

We wonder if there are still folks out there who don’t know how to trap and this lack of education is the stumbling block. Is it that folks simply don’t want to pay the costs that often come with hiring an experienced trapper? Maybe there’s a portion of landowners who don’t feel they have predator problems or just flat out don’t want any trapping on their property. Some of you are hearing about folks trapping their hunting lands, but you are pretty clueless on where to begin or what to do about it.

Question No. 4: During the 2022-23 deer season, when you killed a deer for personal consumption, what did you do with it? (Please check only one answer).

In the last few years there’s been an increase in shows like MeatEater and Alone, where folks are processing and cooking wild game they’ve killed. Has this overflowed into Georgia’s whitetail hunting arena? We already know there’s a crowd out there who enjoy working up a fresh kill on their own. Others simply don’t want to fool with all the tedious work that goes into processing, while maybe some found themselves butchering their own deer this year due to deer coolers that were full or had an increase in prices. 

You don’t have to cut off the bottom of your January magazine cover to participate in the VOTES survey. You can photo-copy it, or you can take a digital photo with your phone and email the picture of your ballot to [email protected]. Simply include your comments in the email along with the attached picture of your cover ballot.

Also, again this year, GON subscribers who we have email addresses for will receive an online VOTES ballot through a service called Survey Monkey. The emailed survey will also include a way to write and submit comments digitally. The email survey is super convenient for GON subscribers. If you received an email and did your VOTES survey there, we have your results—there’s no need to use your cover ballot.

If you only want to respond to Rate Your Deer Season and not the other ballot questions, you can Rate Your Deer Season with a quick email. Simply list your rating (excellent, good, fair or poor), the primary county you hunted, and write your comments on why you rated it that way. Then, you can simply email us at [email protected] with the subject “Rate Your Season.”


Send your ballot to:

Email a digital photo or scan of your cover ballot to [email protected]. Include comments in your email.  To mail, cut out or photocopy your cover ballot and send to: GON VOTES, PO Box 1379, Madison, GA 30650. Deadline is Jan. 12.

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