Deer Baiting Now For Southern Zone Only; Shooting Exotic Animals in Fenced Areas Proposed

Sportsmen interested in these issues should contact their legislators immediately.

GON Staff | March 14, 2011

Sportsmen interested in potential big changes to the face of Georgia hunting should turn their attention to Georgia lawmakers currently in session at the Gold Dome in Atlanta. The “Baiting Bill” will likely be voted on Wednesday. For deer hunters it now only legalizes baiting in the Southern Zone.

“Speak now, or forever hold your peace,” said GON Publisher Steve Burch.

Since first introduced, there have been big changes to HB 277, the “Baiting Bill,” which originally would have made it legal statewide to hunt deer and hogs with no distance requirement from feeders or food like corn spread on the ground. Now, after pressure from legislators from north Georgia opposed to hunting deer over bait, HB 277 has been changed so deer hunters in the Northern Zone would still have to be 200 yards and out of sight of bait.

If HB 277 passes in its current form, Southern Zone hunters could hunt deer over bait with no distance requirement, while Northern Zone deer hunters would still be breaking the law if within 200 yards or within site of a feeder or feed.

Further confusing the matter for Northern Zone hunters – and law-enforcement officers – is that HB 277 makes hog hunting over bait legal year-round, including deer and turkey seasons, in both the Northern and Southern Zones.

It is expected that HB 277 will be voted on by the full chamber of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 16. That is “Crossover Day,” the 30th day of the 2011 legislative session. This is the day by which a bill must pass the chamber in which it was introduced in order to be considered by the other chamber.

Another bill, SB 188, would legalize shooting exotic animals and game animals in high-fence enclosures. Typically referred to as canned hunts, this practice would allow people to shoot various species like exotic rams, African antelope, and even elk and white-tailed deer in enclosures as small as 250 acres.

Make Your Voice Heard

Sportsmen who feel strongly about an issue should tell their legislators how they want them to vote. Go to to learn who your state representatives are. The website gives links and phone numbers to contact your legislators. Make sure to contact only your state representative and state senator regarding state legislative issues.

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