Georgia Hunting And Fishing Not Banned By Shelter In Place Order

Daryl Kirby | April 2, 2020

Hunting and fishing in Georgia have not been canceled.

Governor Brian Kemp’s announcement yesterday that the entire state of Georgia goes under a “Shelter In Place” directive beginning tomorrow, Friday, April 3, has many asking what that means exactly. While everyone is strongly discouraged from doing so, the order does not completely prohibit you from leaving the house, and it doesn’t mean hunting and fishing are banned.

Officials want everyone to stay at home except for essential activities, but you are allowed to leave your house if you take the proper precautions. You can still go the grocery store to buy food, you can seek medical treatment, you can take a walk, and you can still go fishing or turkey hunting.

DNR Commissioner Mark Williams said Georgia State Parks, WMAs and PFAs remain open. Quota turkey hunts are on.

“In response to Governor Kemp’s executive order released earlier today, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources stands poised to support the efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. We encourage the citizens of Georgia to shelter in place. We also understand Georgians may choose to ‘socially distance’ themselves by enjoying the outdoor fitness opportunities provided through hunting, fishing, paddling, hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Please keep groups to 10 or less and keep a distance of at least 6 feet between participants as you enjoy the solitude that Georgia’s natural resources provide,” Commissioner Williams said.

“It’s good to get outside and enjoy our state’s natural resources, but you have to do it very responsibly. Our officers are strictly enforcing the governor’s social distancing guidelines at boat ramps, WMAs and PFAs,” said Commissioner Williams.

Once in the turkey woods, a hunter is obviously not a danger of spreading or getting the COVID-19 virus. However, traveling to go hunting—pumping gas or going into a store—could expose you to the virus, so take the proper precautions.

If you leave the house, stay 6 feet away from anyone not in your household. If you go hunting or fishing, do it alone or only with family members who live in your house. If you show up at a hunting camp and five other club members are there, all can potentially expose each other’s households to the virus. It is now known that the virus can spread from someone before they ever show any symptoms of having it. To be safe, you have to assume everyone has it and is contagious.

Some Boat Ramps Are Closed

There are hundreds of boat ramps spread out across Georgia’s lakes and rivers. Some are closed, and unfortunately there’s no master list of which are open and which are not, and it changes seemingly by the day. Ramps are owned and operated by a myriad of entities—the Corps of Engineers, Georgia Power, local counties and cities. And some ramps are private businesses. GON is still waiting on a list of open ramps from the Mobile District of the Corps of Engineers for Lanier, Allatoona, West Point, Seminole and Eufaula, but corps areas that have gates are reportedly closed.

On Lake Hartwell, the corps ramps on the Georgia side of the lake currently open as of April 2 are Poplar Springs, Carter’s Ferry, Cleveland, Crawford’s Ferry, Duncan Branch, Elrod Ferry, Mary Ann Branch, New Prospect, Paynes Creek, Powderbag Creek, Rock Springs, Jenkins Ferry and Spring Branch.

On Clarks Hill (Thurmond), the open corps ramps on the Georgia side are Amity Ramp, Big Hart, Chamberlain’s Ferry, Double Branches, Gill Point, Leathersville, Morrahs and Murray Creek.

For now, Georgia Power boat ramps remain open, but facilities are closed.

A statement from Georgia Power this evening, April 2, says, “Beginning March 25, Georgia Power closed all restroom and pavilion facilities at our day use and boat ramp areas at all Georgia Power lakes statewide, while day use areas and boat ramps themselves remained open for public access under social distancing and limited-contact recommendations. We are currently reviewing Governor Kemp’s latest order and how it may affect use of our lakes and recreational resources.”

Georgia Power lakes include Oconee, Sinclair, Jackson, Bartletts Ferry, Oliver, Rabun, Seed and Yonah.


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  1. idealroger on April 3, 2020 at 12:31 am

    I read the Governor’s “Shelter in Place” order dated 04/02/2020 and believe it says people should stay home as much as possible and includes no leeway for hunting or fishing.

  2. Rick1958 on April 2, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Any news on open boat ramps for West Point Lake ?

    • meg on April 2, 2020 at 10:05 pm

      Some Boat Ramps Are Closed

    • John on April 3, 2020 at 8:09 am

      Just down from me, Upper Glass Bridge Road is open, Lower Glass Bridge Road (Earl Cook) is closed. Stay safe friend.

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