Governor Signs Baiting Bill
Hunting deer over bait now legal in the Southern Zone.
Gov. Nathan Deal traveled to Tifton last week and signed the Baiting Bill, HB 277, during a ceremony at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. A press release sent by the governor’s office said the intent of HB 277 was “to attract more people to take up hunting through greater access to deer.”
“People come from all over the world to hunt our prized deer population, and the sport is an economic engine for many rural parts of Georgia,” Deal said. “HB 277 also helps address a growing problem in Georgia as it expands hunters options for going after feral hogs. The cost of crop damage from feral hogs is tremendous, and this legislation helps Georgia farmers protect their livelihood.”
HB 277 legalizes baiting for deer in the Southern Zone while keeping it illegal to hunt deer within 200 yards of bait in the Northern Zone. However, HB 277 makes hog hunting over bait legal year-round statewide. Also under the new law, Northern Zone deer hunters now can’t be charged with hunting deer over bait if their neighbor has feed out. Deer and hog baiting in the Southern Zone and hog baiting in the Northern Zone are not allowed on federal or state lands like WMAs and National Forest property.
Regarding concerns over enforcement of the new law, Col. Bryson, Chief of DNR Law Enforcement, said, “I’m not as convinced as some that it’s going to be that big of an issue. I expect it to change our work load very little. We changed our priorities a number of years ago. Our priority is complaints. After we work our complaints, then we work general law enforcement, and that’s where bait would fall. And bait is one page in an 800-page law book. There’s an awful lot of other things we’re looking for and we’re responsible for. We’re also focused on enforcement on department-owned and managed properties.”
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