Bond Swamp Adds Acreage, Plans For Ocmulgee River Boat Ramp
Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge recently added more land that is open to hunters this fall and will soon be the home of a brand-new boat ramp on the Ocmulgee River.
Bond Swamp was established in 1989 to protect wetlands along the Ocmulgee River and is located just a few miles south of Macon. According to Deputy Refuge Manager Carolyn Johnson, the new refuge land is in Bibb County, along Bondsview Road. The map below has the new 698 acres marked in red. This gives Bond Swamp additional land on the banks of the Ocmulgee River and Stone Creek and brings the total size up to 8,600 acres.
The land was acquired by donation and three funding sources within the federal government, said Carolyn. Some of this new land is river floodplain and is subject to frequent flooding. This 698 acres of new land is reflected in the new 2022-23 Bond Swamp Hunting and Fishing regulations brochure.
Also, just off Bondsview Road, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, plans to construct a boat ramp on the Ocmulgee River. The concrete ramp and gravel parking lot will be on 2.7 acres and will be 300 feet north of Bondsview where the road closely approaches the river. The ramp will be approximately 1.3 miles down Bondsview Road when you come off Highway 23. Bibb County is improving the road in this area, and Carolyn expressed appreciation for their work on this project.
Currently, there is no public boat ramp in the general area, so this opens up tremendous fishing opportunities for a stretch that doesn’t receive much fishing pressure. The timeline for the new ramp is in the near future, when water levels are appropriate for the work to be done, said Carolyn.
Public visitation is permitted on Bond Swamp year-round, during daylight hours, except during firearm deer gun hunts. Permits are required for all hunters and fishermen regardless of age. When signed, a Bond Swamp Hunting and Fishing Regulations Brochure serves as a permit. Permits may be obtained at the Barnes Ferry, Stone Creek and Longleaf Pine Trail parking lots, the Piedmont Refuge headquarters in Jones County, by mail, by email request to [email protected], or by callling 478.986.5441. Please request the Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations Brochure. Hunting for firearms deer, turkey and ducks is by quota only.
Small-game hunting for squirrels, rabbits and quail is non-quota, but you must use non-toxic shot. For small-game hunting for squirrel, rabbit and quail, you only need—in addition to a state hunting license—the free refuge permit, which you must sign across the front signature line and carry it with you while hunting. Five hundred inches of blaze orange is required to be worn while small-game hunting, except for duck hunting.
Feral hogs may be taken during refuge hunt dates by permitted hunters using legal weapons designated by state law for the specific game species for which the refuge is open. Dogs are not allowed for feral pigs. Feral pigs must be checked out at one of the check stations on the day killed. The next chance for small-game hunting, with the chance to kill a hog, is Dec. 4, 2022 through Jan. 31, 2023. Black powder and .22-magnum rifles are good choices for feral pigs. This writer prefers a .50-caliber black powder rifle because you can encounter some larger pigs for which the .22 magnum is marginal.
For questions call 478.986.5441 or see www.fws.gov/refuge/bond-swamp. Carolyn said middle Georgia is blessed with many thousands of acres of public lands where hunting and fishing are allowed and encouraged, so get out and enjoy it.
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