2023 Georgia WMA Deer-Hunting Special

Brad Gill | August 1, 2023


The Best WMA quota hunt last season came during the Nov. 17-19 Sapelo Island WMA either-sex hunt. Here’s happy hunters, Brian Scarborough and his son, Cory.

I remember something the boss man once wrote about “what if there was no more GON?” We could certainly count thy ways where sportsmen would be hurt by the demise of this fine magazine and the crazy amount of content at In particular, saying bye-bye to the August GON WMA Special would bring tears to the eyes of some grown hunters. There’s no where else in the world to look for easy-to-read tables and charts designed to guide Georgia public-land deer hunters for their upcoming seasons. Don’t bow your heads. We’re not looking for GON to do anything but grow, and we’re certainly not looking to do away with this valuable article. So have it!

In this year’s WMA Special, we have deer-hunting stats on 100 pieces of public-land dirt. Top quota and non-quota hunts from last year are listed on page 107. Jump in and do your research as you make plans for this year’s WMA deer-hunting season.

WMA Quota Deer Hunts

The best quota deer hunt in the state last season came on a state park. The Nov. 15-16 either-sex hunt at Red Top Mountain State Park had 45 hunters show up and kill 57 deer for a hunter-success rate of 126.7%.

Don’t get too excited about seeing this northwest Georgia hunt unless you’ve stockpiled some priority points. When you look at WRD’s “Lottery Odds – Deer 2022” at, it took at least six priority points to get drawn. However, 35% of those drawn had to use at least seven points.

The next three most successful deer-quota hunts last year also came from state parks—Mistletoe, Panola Mountain and Hard Labor Creek, respectively.

“Most state park hunts have exceptional hunter-success rates due to such limited hunting opportunity,” said Charlie Killmaster, WRD’s state deer biologist. “With only a few days of hunting a year, selected hunters get the only crack at completely undisturbed ground for that season. Consolidating all deer harvest into just a few days minimizes having to shut the park down for more extended periods of time. This is a win for both hunters and park users and helps Georgia state parks maintain a healthy ecosystem.”

At first glance one could wonder if state parks were hitting their yearly harvest goals when seeing consistently high hunter-success rates every single season. Are enough deer being removed from the state-park landscape or should future hunts be added?

“Most state parks are hitting their goals, it’s just all consolidated into a few days,” said Charlie. “There have been some years when they get behind due to bad weather, but subsequent years usually pick up the slack. If you stacked all the deer harvest on a given WMA and limited it to just one hunt, then you would probably see similar success rates. Since we provide so many more days of opportunity on WMAs, that harvest is spread further across the calendar and across more hunters.”

Charlie’s point is made when comparing the deer hunting on Hard Labor Creek State Park (5,804 acres) to Clybel WMA (6,400 acres). You see much higher hunter-success rates on Hard Labor (92.2% versus 34.5%). However, when you compare these two areas, which are similar in size and in the same general location of the state, there were 140 deer killed on Hard Labor and 146 (includes archery kills) on Clybel.

“If you look at harvest per square mile, you’ll see pretty similar harvest rates between WMAs and state parks,” said Charlie. “We don’t really manage toward a specific number of deer being killed, but rather are we achieving the goals of reducing deer-vehicle collisions on the park and not observing excessive browsing pressure on vegetation.”

Stockpile those priority points and enjoy a hunt on a state park when you qualify. To read more on Hard Labor Creek deer hunts, go to In addition, you can continue your state-park research at

If you eliminate the state park hunts from 2022, Sapelo Island had the top-two most successful WMA quota hunts last year. This island is consistently at the top in terms of hunter success, which is why we decided GON readers needed a whole article to learn a little bit more about a trip to this island. Flip over to page 20 for more.

If you’re going to participate in a quota deer hunt, you’ll need to apply online at by the Sept. 1 deadline. You will apply separately for state-park deer hunts and WMA deer quota hunts. That’s good news for hunters who’d like to start building points to hunt a state park but would also like to work toward one of the popular WMA deer hunts, like Sapelo or Flint River. If you play your cards right, you just might get picked for two top-end public-land hunts in the same season.

There are 46 WMA quota deer hunts and 12 state park quota deer hunts to choose from this season. You can apply just to earn priority points or select up to three hunts if you want to up the odds to hunt somewhere this season. WRD’s selection-odd tables at will give you an idea of how many points, if any, it will take to get drawn to hunt at a particular location.

Olin Chastain with a mature buck taken in 2019 at Hard Labor Creek State Park.

Non-Quota “Bonus Deer Hunts”

If you don’t draw a WMA deer quota hunt or a special spot on a state park, check out the plethora of non-quota WMA hunting opportunities across the state. A number of these non-quota hunts are labeled as “Bonus Deer Hunts (BDH),” which means killing a deer won’t count on your state-issued harvest record. Those top-20 Bonus Deer Hunts are listed on this page. However, there’s a pile of sign-in, non-quota hunts where hunters just use their Harvest Record to record a deer harvest. You can pour through those hunts below.



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