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VOTES: Hunters Rank Deer Season Best In Years

Also see 2019 VOTES results on affect of Georgia's deer baiting law, and what sportsmen feel should be priorities for DNR funds from license-fee increase.

Brad Gill | February 7, 2019

For the first time since the 2001-2002 hunting season, more Georgia deer hunters ranked their deer seasons as “Excellent” versus “Poor.” 

Of the 1,653 ballots returned to GON, 21.6 percent of respondents ranked their deer season as “Excellent,” which is the highest percentage of excellent rankings GON has on record since the 2003-04 deer hunting season. 

Only 13.5 percent of hunters rated their 2018-19 deer seasons as “Poor.” This is the lowest percentage of hunters ranking their season as poor since the 2000-01 deer season.

Most hunters ranked their deer seasons as good or excellent.

What an encouragement it is to see hunters more satisfied with their deer seasons. 

In addition to the Rate Your Season Survey, readers also answered two additional questions. The survey results for those questions are below the county rankings.

You can see the results comments on the VOTES question about the impact of Georgia’s baiting law on this past deer season.

Then, there’s also a question where sportsmen rank the priorities for DNR funds from the license-fee increase.

The county ratings are below. For each county you will see a letter and number, which shows the number of season ratings for that county (e-excellent, g-good, etc.).

Appling Co. E-1, G-4, F-1

Excellent: Killed two nice bucks. Saw a good bit of deer. Several shooters on camera. Tagged out Veterans Day weekend. Didn’t burn all my vacation doing it.

Good: Lots of deer used my food plots.

Atkinson Co. P-1

Poor: No time to go.

Bacon Co. F-2

Fair: Too many small bucks are killed throughout the year. No management.

Baldwin Co. G-10, F-2, P-3

Good: Saw plenty of deer and several mature bucks. Late season was fairly slow where it is normally really good for me. If late season would’ve been normal, I would give it an excellent rating.

Good: I have been hunting on a new lease for three years now. The first two seasons I would rate as fair. This season was great! I believe this season was better than the first two because of the new hunting over bait law for north Ga. It helped me to draw in and see more deer.

Good: Saw plenty of deer and several mature bucks. Late season was fairly slow where it is normally really good for me. If late season would’ve been normal, I would give an excellent rating.

Fair: Saw quite a few deer. The main problem on our lease is that Weyerhauser sprayed the woods with a poison that destroys all of the browse and foods that deer need to survive and stay on the property. None of the previous property managers did this, and it has definitely affected the deer herd.

Poor: Too many people using corn to bait deer to their property.

Poor: Timber harvested during season.

Baker Co. E-1, F-1

Excellent: Saw a lot of deer and a lot of bucks that will be good ones next year.

Fair: Fewer than normal 3-year-old bucks. Have seen a lot of does, but neighbors have decided to turn adjoining property and dirt road into a 4-wheeler riding track. Also all the rain has kept my bedding areas flooded.

Banks Co. E-1, G-5, F-8, P-4

Excellent: Through my own management practices, I have improved my herd, seeing more mature buck in daylight.

Good: Not as many bucks this year and limited doe days. This maybe a result of an increased pig population.

Fair: Too many does and small deer being killed on bait, not seeing many deer.

Still struggling with coyotes. Our club is less than 200 acres. We killed four coyotes and saw six to eight more.

Poor: No deer.

Poor: Did not have the time to go much this year.

Barrow Co. E-1, G-1, F-5, P-1

Excellent: Saw a lot of deer and killed a nice mature 8-point.

Good: I had some good bucks on camera but not as many as last year.

Good: Baiting provided a lot more activity. Too much rain kept it from being excellent.

Fair: Didn’t see the quality of bucks I have in years past.

Poor: Fewer deer.

Bartow Co. E-5, G-6, F-4

Excellent: New piece of property with low pressure. Baiting law was nice to consistently get trail-camera pics during the season.

Good: I had some good bucks on camera but not as many as last year.

Fair: Did not see many deer.

Fair: Didn’t see the quality of bucks I have in years past.

Fair: The club next to me baited really heavy and pulled the deer away from my land.

Ben Hill Co. E-1, F-2

Fair: Most of the big boys are seen at night on camera. Not as many does in our area this year. We have been supplementing protein and minerals. We have had a lot of rain! December warm up through end of season isn’t helping.

Berrien Co. E-2, G-6, F-2, P-2

Excellent: Saw plenty of deer and had a good harvest. Not as many hogs.

Good: Weather played a big factor in the deer season this year, and it’s been really wet also. Seen fair amount of deer all season, just never saw a lot of rut activity like the previous season.

Fair: Saw some deer, but mostly the same doe and two yearlings all season. There were a few young buck sightings.

Poor: The record amount of rain this year made places that are usually dry really wet and limited areas for hunting.

Bibb Co. G-1, F-2, P-1

Good: Saw lots of bucks, just not one I wanted to take.

Fair: I saw less deer than I was hoping to see.

Poor: Less deer.

Bleckley Co. E-4, G-2, F-1

Excellent: I saw a ton of deer. I let five good bucks walk due to their age. We had two different does with triplets and six does with twins. We had three bucks taken that were 140 or better. I saw deer 90 percent of time I went.

Good: Never saw rut with big bucks chasing. Rain and warmer weather.

Bulloch Co. G-4, F-1, P-1

Good: Good early season deer movement and numbers.

Brooks Co. E-2, G-3, F-2, P-1

Excellent: Killed six deer, and my son killed three. Overpopulated with does, so we thinned them down some. Saw deer each time that we hunted.’

Excellent: Saw a lot of deer and several mature bucks.

Good: Saw a lot of young bucks or some that needed one more year.

Fair: Seems like deer numbers continue to drop. We track our hunts carefully, and doe and buck counts were down.

Poor: Very few deer sightings and only two bucks, neither of which was even close to being a shooter. 

Burke Co. E-6, G-6, F-5, P-1

Excellent: Saw a lot of deer and several mature bucks.

Good: Seen plenty of deer. When you see deer almost every time you went hunting, it keeps the kids happy where they want to go back.

Fair: Saw mostly does. Not a lot of bucks.

Butts Co. E-2, G-1, F-3, P-1

Excellent: Lots of big bucks seen and killed this year.

Fair: I killed two deer, both does. I saw some really good movement early in bow season. Once rifle season opened, the deer went almost 100 percent nocturnal. The rut was either super weak or there just wasn’t any activity on our property. I saw my first scrape the last week of November. The baiting laws had zero impact on the amount of deer seen or harvested on our property. Four deer were killed on our 162 acres, compared to three last year. We are selective and only shoot four or better bucks and limit two does per person. I rate the season fair basically because of the weak rut and rain.

Poor: Very few deer seen, even does were scarce. No deer in food plots. Very few at feeder, and they were at night. Worst year in 40 years.

Bryan Co. E-1, F-1

Calhoun Co. E-2, F-2

Fair: Storm damage. Trees down. Stands down. Deer patterns disturbed. Excessive rainfall.

Fair: Saw plenty of small bucks no big ones.

Camden Co. G-1

Candler Co. E-2

Excellent: Good quality bucks, good buck-to-doe ratio, plenty of deer, herd healthy.

Carroll Co. E-5, G-11, F-8, P-2

Excellent: This year I was able to tag out on bucks. I shot two mature deer.

Good: Saw plenty of game, loved just being in the woods watching what nature allowed me to see. When I decided to pick up my rifle, I harvested a doe.

Good: Saw deer regularly, my management is beginning to work.

Fair: Wet, hard to access hunting area.

Poor: Too many coyotes.

Catoosa Co. G-1, F-1

Good: I saw deer almost every time I went hunting.

Fair: Deer movement overall was terrible and the weather in north Georgia really kept the rut from being at one certain point. Rather it was drug out over an extended time period due to warm and rainy weather. Also, baiting changed deer movements, mainly turning a pressured population nocturnal.

Chatham Co. G-3, P-1

Good: Saw numerous deer during season. Kept waiting for the monster that only came after legal shooting hours.

Chattahoochee Co. G-3, F-1, P-1

Good: Small 8, big 9.

Fair: Didn’t see many quality bucks.

Chattooga Co. E-1, G-3, F-1, P-5

Excellent: I was able to take two deer in two hunts. Since I have to work a lot, this helped me tremendously.

Good: I managed to harvest a 3 1/2-year-old 8-point, an above-average buck for my area. With that being said, I saw very few deer this season, even going back to this past summer/early fall on my cameras.

Fair: Didn’t see as many deer.

Poor: No acorns, along with everyone using corn, kept the deer scattered. Some members on our club killed their 12 limit of deer thanks to the new baiting law. At this rate, there will be no deer left on our club. Totally against the baiting law.

Cherokee Co. E-2, G-14, F-5, P-2

Good: Saw plenty of game, loved just being in the woods watching what nature allowed me to see. When I decided to pick up my rifle, I harvested a doe.

Good: The reason I only put good instead of excellent is that I didn’t see the number of deer that I have in the past and too much bad weather.

Good: I had some good bucks on camera but not as many as last year.

Fair: No quality buck sightings.

Fair: Would of been excellent if I did not have to compete with corn piles. People who hunt over corn are democrats who want something for free because they think they’re entitled.

Fair: Saw less deer movement than normal and a less pronounced rut. With all the rain and high water level, I was unable to hunt as much as normal.

Poor: Big bucks disappeared after bow season.

Clarke Co. E-1, G-2

Clay Co. E-1, F-1

Clayton Co. E-1, G-1, P-1

Poor: Too much pressure.

Clinch Co. G-2

Cobb Co. E-1, G-4, F-2

Good: Never really saw a good rut. I think the extremely rainy weather played a part.

Fair: Killed two but no good bucks.

Fair: Never really saw a good rut. I think the extremely rainy weather played a part.

Coffee Co. E-1, G-1, F-3

Excellent: Harvested two nice bucks in different areas and left some good ones for next year.

Fair: Only had time to go a few times. Did harvest one doe.

Columbia Co. E-3, G-5, P-1

Excellent: Seen more deer activity than I have in many years.

Good: We saw more deer this year than last, but I don’t know if this was because of baiting or the good fawn drop we have had in our area the last few years.

Poor: Hot weather, poor deer movement. Rut never happened on our big lease.

Colquitt Co. E-3, G-2, F-1, P-2

Excellent: Saw plenty of deer, quality of the deer herd was excellent and healthy. Makes it easy to teach and evolve the hunting heritage when the young ones can go and see deer often.

Good: Didn’t see the big bucks this season due to not being able to pinpoint when the rut was. Not a lot of chasing going on. Did end up taking a doe and two good bucks but not the big daddy.

Fair: No mature bucks seen on our property.

Poor: Only saw two deer from the stand. Activity was way down overall after Hurricane Michael on what is otherwise a pretty good tract of land.

Cook Co. F-1

Fair: Just didn’t see a lot of deer this season.

Coweta Co. E-9, G-11, F-3, P-3

Excellent: My 9-year-old grandson took two 8-point bucks and a big fat doe.

Good: Corn helped with deer activity. Could have limited out but didn’t shoot any deer. Letting bucks mature and doe population rebound. Coyotes still impacting deer and turkey population. Active trapper employed and is helping eliminate overpopulation of coyotes.

Good: Plenty of deer. Had many opportunities to shoot quality deer.

Good: A lot of deer seen. However, not a lot of quality bucks.

Good: Saw a few more than usual this season.

Fair: Didn’t hunt too much. Warm early then rainy during rut and December. Did see deer two of three sits. 

Poor: We have too many does, and the state regs keeps us from managing our herd as needed. Thus our herd is stressed. To many small bucks. No bucks with age.

Crawford Co. E-7, G-12, F-4, P-3

Excellent: Had plenty of deer, and the rut was also very good.

Excellent: Baiting was a great help, saw lot more seer. Enjoyed this season better than all my past hunting years, and I am 73 years old.

Excellent: Killed 140-inch buck, passed many smaller bucks.

Good: Saw more deer this year than the previous two.

Good: Had plenty of deer, and the rut was also very good

Fair: Weather was the main reason. The deer in my area don’t like to move in the rain.

Poor: Neighbors shooting every deer they see. They won’t let them grow up, 12-deer limit is crazy!

Crisp Co. E-1, G-3, F-1, P-1

Excellent: Got a monster 12-point buck entered in the Truck-Buck, hoping I can win. 

Good: Saw a lot of deer.

Fair: Saw lots of does but no mature bucks compared to previous years. Rut was very different this year. Finally saw a young buck running a doe in early December. There was very little rut activity in November.

Dade Co. G-2, F-1

Good: Plenty of bucks, few of quality.

Fair: The season needs to open later and close later in the year, October to February.

Poor: No deer to be seen.

Dawson Co. E-3, G-2, F-1

Good: Overall deer sightings were lessened by a lack of acorns.

Fair: Didn’t hunt much.

Decatur Co. F-2, P-2

Fair: Hurricane Michael did so much damage the deer couldn’t figure out which way to go.

Poor: Hurricane Michael devastated our hunting property. After the storm, I went to look at the property and could not believe my eyes. I literally wept because of the devastation of 80 percent of the virgin timber. It was sad to see the landscape changed forever. The good news is that we all were safe through the storm, and we live by the grace of Creator God to hunt another day.

DeKalb Co. E-1, G-1, F-1

Excellent: Killed my biggest buck to date.

Fair: Too many trespassers. Need stiffer laws and larger fines.

Dodge Co. E-2, G-3, F-4, P-2

Excellent: Lots of deer movement. Great rut activity.

Fair: Did not see any mature bucks during daylight hours. 

Poor: No deer.

Dooly Co. E-3, G-5, F-3, P-2

Excellent: Big deer, benefiting from strong management practices.

Good: I saw plenty of deer when weather permitted. Like many hunters, I hunt weekends primarily. Regretfully, rainy weather impacted half of the weekends I hunted, making the hunting difficult due to rain on my glasses.

Good: Good deer numbers.

Fair: I didn’t see as many bucks this year during rut.

Poor: Lack of deer sighting.

Douglas Co. E-3, G-1, F-1, P-2

Excellent: Saw deer on every trip.

Good: Didn’t see as many shooter bucks.

Fair: Never really saw a good rut. I think the extremely rainy weather played a part.

Early Co. G-4, F-1, P-1

Good: I have seen a good number of deer this year. I have killed two does and one large 8-point.

Fair: Hurricane not only destroyed the trees, but it dropped 8 inches of rain that washed food plots away. The ground stayed saturated, and each cold front that followed made thing worse.

Poor: The hurricane and all the rain messed it up.

Echols Co. G-1

Effingham Co. E-1, G-4, F-2

Excellent: Saw a lot of deer and passed on many young bucks. Took one nice 8-, point and a doe.

Good: Got a cull buck, 5 points, not big and ill.

Fair: Lack of deer sightings. More nocturnal movement than normal. Little rut activity.

Elbert Co. E-3, G-6, F-2, P-2

Excellent: I saw many deer this year. I had opportunities at many bucks but let most walk. I did kill a small 8-point. My friend killed a very nice 9-point.

Good: I was successful at seeing and harvesting deer with a bow all season. Did not see any bucks 120 inches or better nor did I see a rut.

Good: We hunt family land, and myself, brother and my son were able to harvest three mature bucks from the hit list.

Fair: The acorn crop on our property was poor this year. The deer just were not there like normal. Very few mature bucks this year.

Poor: Only killed one 5-point. Seemed like they went nocturnal around Thanksgiving. We got tons of pictures but all at night.

Emanuel Co. E-3, G-4, F-4, P-2

Good: The deer seemed to be plentiful, and we saw a lot of nice bucks on the trail cameras, which is a great improvement over the past years. I took two bucks and two does myself.

Good: Killed a big buck. Saw and hunted another. Saw deer every time I was in stand.

Fair: Deer population has diminished over the last five years.

Fair: Because I didn’t have time to hunt and keep my hunting spot up.

Poor: Bunch of small does. Bucks are being killed at the 1.5-year mark. Need a shorter season or antler restrictions

Evans Co. G-1, P-1

Good: I manage the deer herd the way it should be managed.

Poor: Did not see any deer.

Fannin Co. E-2, G-3, F-2, P-2

Excellent: Killed six deer and saw lots more.

Good: I killed one deer during the one trip I took to my cabin. I think I would have had better luck if I were able to go after Thanksgiving. I saw many does. Saw one buck and shot it.

Fair: Not much rut activity in the normal dates. Rain has them all messed up. Just now finding scrapes and rubs on Jan. 1.

Fayette Co. G-6

Good: Killed two deer on my property, saw several, but they did not come onto my land.

Good: Saw good, healthy deer.

Floyd Co. E-5, F-2, G-6, P-2

Excellent: Seen an abundance of healthy deer. I think baiting really helped this year.

Good: Bucks were active even after the rut.

Fair: We have a small plot of land, and the deer were not there like the past few years.

Poor: Only saw one deer at Berry.

Forsyth Co. E-2, G-4, F-1, P-1

Excellent: New property that hadn’t been hunted in 10-plus years. Overpopulation of deer.

Good: Got a nice 8-point.

Franklin Co. E-1, G-4, F-6

Excellent: Shot two good bucks. Entered one in Truck-Buck Week 8 and saw lots of deer during firearms season.

Good: Acorns were a little scarce but saw a lot of good deer and harvested a nice 10-pointer.

Fair: Rained almost every weekend.

Fair: Deer herd in our area is extremely low!

Fulton Co. E-7, G-6

Excellent: Plenty of deer seen, killed a big buck.

Good: I let many deer pass and so did the two people I hunt with regularly. I took a nice 9-point and my friend’s son took a really nice doe. Our herd looks good for next year.

Gilmer Co. E-1, G-9, F-8, P-5

Excellent: There was a lot of sign, and deer were seen almost every time we stepped into the woods.

Good: Saw a lot of rutting activity but did not shoot anything. Just disappointed no more mature bucks showed up. Small bucks on cam were busted on private land. Rich Mountain WMA was a bust. I’d  like to see four on one side and/or a 15-inch spread or beam implemented. There was a lot of young bucks killed on that hunt.

Good: The area around our property had far fewer deer this year, very few acorns. The Rich Mountain Cartecay bow tract had few to very few deer in general. I know because my friend and I hunted the tract extensively from mid September through November. It would really help if the food plots on the tract were mowed and replanted as they were years ago. I rated the season good because I did kill the biggest buck I have ever killed on my property this year.

Fair: Didn’t see many deer.

Fair: Weather has been less than optimal for hunting.

Poor: Not many deer.

Glascock Co. E-1, G-3, F-2

Good: Plenty of deer seen.

Glynn Co. G-1, F-1

Good: The kids got to harvest plenty of deer meat, which is always satisfying.

Fair: Deer activity was high during early season but slowed tremendously after the rut ended and the rains began. Food plots drowned, and access to some stands became difficult, but I still went. The season was average to fair. Between me and my sons, we were able to put some meat in the freezer.

Gordon Co. E-3, G-4, F-2, P-5

Excellent: I saw lots of deer and some good bucks. I didn’t shoot any, but I could have if I wanted.

Good: I killed three deer, all on WMAs, one very good buck. Could have done better. Let some walk. Club in Gordon County was a disappointment.

Fair: Too much rain, everything flooded.

Poor: Not many deer seen this season.

Poor: Didn’t see many bucks. The weather was terrible, and the rut wasn’t very active.

Grady Co. G-2, F-2

Good: Seeing really good bucks, but yearling and doe numbers down really low. We have to do something about our predation problem.

Good: Got cut short because of hernia surgery.

Fair: Did not see any big bucks.

Greene Co. E-7, G-12, F-10, P-4

Excellent: My 2018 deer hunting season was one of the best I have ever had. I have been in a hunting club in Greene now for the past 20 years. This past year I was blessed to be able to take my first and only 140-inch-plus buck (which is entered in Week 8 of Truck-Buck). 

Good: Many opportunities to harvest quality deer.

Fair: Too much rain kept animals holding tight.

Fair: I hunted a lot of public land, some heavily pressured and some not. I didn’t see high numbers on either. I think one is over hunted because it is open almost year-round for gun hunting, and there’s no WMA specific regulations. Otherwise I don’t have many qualms with the season.

Fair: Did not see any big bucks.

Poor: Property clearcut during the season.

Poor: Did not see many deer.

Gwinnett Co. E-2, G-1, F-1

Fair: Not seeing good bucks.

Habersham Co. G-4, F-3

Good: Saw a few good bucks. No rut around my home.

Good: Saw a few good bucks. No rut around my home.

Fair: Few acorns. Not many deer.

Fair: The weather played a big part this year. Also, I hunt public land, and the forest service is very lacking in their land and wildlife management. I think that all federal land in Georgia should be under the WMA system.

Hall Co. E-4, G-5, F-2, P-2

Excellent: I saw the strongest rut in years. I shot six deer. Freezer is full. Got a decent 8-point.

Good: No harvest this year but plenty of good deer.

Fair: Saw and passed up small bucks. Rained a lot, didn’t get to hunt a lot.

Poor: Too much rain.

Hancock Co. E-16, G-23, F-7, P-8

Excellent: My youngest son killed his first buck, and my oldest got two bucks and two does. We saw a ton of deer and a ton of bucks. The QDM in Hancock is working. 

Good: Wet season, hunting baited deer is different, can’t explain it, but it’s different. Just hope people will continue feeding them year-round, not just to shoot them on feed. You can’t just feed them 3 months and stop feeding them. They grow used to being fed. Especially after season in the winter months is when they need it the most. We owe them something.

Good: Harvested a buck. First since 2009-2010.

Fair: Didn’t see any mature bucks.

Fair: Saw fair number of does but no mature bucks. Seems like mature deer are nocturnal.

Poor: Excessively rainy weather. Timber company decision to cut trees, clear forest just as season began.

Poor: Liberal limits have killed them all.

Poor: Few deer seen.

Haralson Co. E-4, G-1, F-2, P-2

Excellent: Killed best buck in 40 years. Also saw more deer than previous years.

Good: Saw and harvested deer.

Fair: Didn’t see as many deer this year as in past years.

Harris Co. E-5, G-11, F-8, P-2

Excellent: My two oldest grandsons both took 8-pointers while hunting with me. What a year!

Good: Saw a lot of deer. Had several big deer to hunt on the property.

Good: Killed a nice 7-point and saw deer almost every time I went.

Fair: Having to find new property and trying to learn it during the season. Just not as fun when everything is not established.

Hart Co. E-1, G-4, F-2, P-1

Excellent: Baiting increased deer sightings as well as holding deer in a particular area.

Good: Lots of does for the freezer.

Fair: Saw several small bucks and lots of does. The trouble with seeing lots of does in Hart County is that there are so few either-sex days.

Poor: Very limited doe days. I am trophy hunter but like to put meat in the freezer and very limited days to do so

Heard Co. E-4, G-10, F-9, P-6

Excellent: Saw a lot more deer than past years.

Good: Got a lot of big bucks on trail cams, good numbers on smaller young bucks coming up. All got a free pass.

Good: Have seen a lot of good quality deer and quantity. We have some potential for some really good bucks next season. A couple worthy of front page cover of GON magazine.

Fair: Didn’t have enough acorns.

Poor: Low deer population in my area.

Henry Co. E-2, G-4, F-6, P-2

Excellent: Good deer age, numbers and sightings.

Good: Always good to be in God’s woods.

Fair: Last year saw 76 deer, this year only 30.

Fair: Primarily hunt doves and deer. I shot some doves but didn’t get my limit. I saw some deer but didn’t see a shooter. The last few years were better for me than 2018.

Poor: No deer anywhere, didn’t even seem to have a rut.

Houston Co. E-3, F-3, P-4

Fair: Rut was very slow.

Fair: Decent deer season.

Poor: Rain nearly every weekend. Late food plots. Deer nocturnal.

Irwin Co. E-1, G-4, F-2, P-1

Good: Saw a lot of deer.

Jackson Co. E-4, G-6, F-3, P-2

Excellent: Best season in years. Hunted 31 days, saw 58 deer, harvested four.

Good: Killed a nice buck. Saw numerous does and bucks. Let the young spikes, 6- and 8-points walk in hopes of getting a bigger buck next year.

Good: Saw a good many deer. Killed a 3-year-old 9-point at the end of October. Rain during my vacation the week before Thanksgiving.

Jasper Co. E-7, G-14, F-6, P-5

Excellent: Saw lots of game and harvested some good animals.

Excellent: Seen a lot of deer and large body deer. January and still seeing deer, no slow down, no food plots, just had corn out since March.

Excellent: I harvested two nice does this year. I saw lots of young bucks and am really looking forward to next season. Also shot four hogs, wish they weren’t so plentiful, but they do make pretty good sausage!

Excellent: Saw a lot of deer and saw a lot of bucks, despite a lot of rainy weekends.

Good: Season was good. Rut activity was sporadic in the counties I hunted. Fewer buck sightings than in years past. That said, did pass on several decent 3 1/2-year-olds.

Fair: We didn’t harvest the does that we should have the year before, which created a doe heavy population, which resulted in a light buck rut. Along with the hot weather and light, late-falling acorn crop, we really had to put in some time to have a successful hunting season.

Fair: Saw no bucks. Deer movement was very hard to pattern.

Poor: Numbers of deer seen are sharply down this season, including number of does.

Jeff Davis Co. E-2, G-1

Excellent: Killed five deer.

Jefferson Co. E-2, G-5, F-4, P-1

Excellent: Plenty of deer.

Good: Saw plenty of deer and took a nice buck.

Fair: Too much rain. Food plots didn’t do well, the rut kind of eased in and disappeared.

Poor: Wild pigs, coyotes and timber cutting.

Jenkins Co. E-1, G-2, F-2, P-1

Excellent: Deer population is very strong, and deer appear to be healthy. Buck quality appears above average this year.

Good: Saw quite a few nice bucks, a couple were shooters but no opportunity to shoot my bow.

Fair: I saw numerous deer, but most were small. Hopefully, there will be an abundance of bigger deer next year.

Poor: Deer population is slim where I hunt. Planted pines really not a good food source, just a bedding area.

Johnson Co. E-2, G-3, F-1, P-1

Excellent: Did not hunt this year. Doing land preparation for next season.

Good: Did not hunt much, but when I did, I saw deer most every time.

Fair: Little to no buck movement. Wet and hot. Too many does.

Jones Co. E-6, G-12, F-2, P-2

Excellent: Saw more deer and more quality bucks than in the past.

Good: Weather affected my hunting. Very wet year.

Good: Large population of deer.

Good: Although I did not harvest a deer this year, I enjoy sitting in my deer stand watching wildlife.

Poor: I normally see 40 to 50 deer during a season and harvest three. This season, I have seen six deer and harvested one.

Lamar Co. E-2, G-3, F-6, P-1

Excellent: I saw a lot of deer. I only killed one doe but could have killed a lot more and smaller bucks and spikes. I saw some nice bucks on trail cams at my feeders but never got a good shot at the one or two of them I would have shot.

Good: I would have rated it higher if I could have bagged a nice buck. I did get several nice does to fill the freezer.

Good: Saw a lot of deer, and there were a couple 130s plus taken off our lease. We trophy manage our 800-plus acre lease and have trophy managed it for several years. We are a bow-only club with eight members, we try and take only 130-plus deer.

Poor: This was our first year of hunting this property near Barnesville. We were trying to learn the area and where deer were traveling. Rain and wind played a role in how the deer moved.

Lanier Co. E-2

Excellent: Lots of deer and more does than usual.

Laurens Co. E-6, G-11, F-2, P-1

Excellent: Saw a great number of deer.

Good: Only have 35 acres for me and a buddy to hunt. We only shoot bucks. Almost every year we kill our limit, even though we’re surrounded by other hunters who kill smaller bucks. All in all, I can’t complain.

Fair: Hot with lots of rain. I believe the rut was early, way early.

Lee Co. E-1, G-2, P-2

Good: I harvested a nice mature buck and a few does and saw deer almost every time I hunted.

Good: New piece of property.

Poor: Many young bucks, few does and no deer over 4 years old.

Poor: Didn’t get to go much.

Liberty Co. E-1, G-1, P-1

Excellent: Killed 10 deer.

Good: Saw lots of deer. Took two decent bucks.

Poor: Saw very few deer.

Lincoln Co. E-2, G-3, F-3, P-1

Good: Saw lots of deer, club had good kill.

Fair: There were no acorns for the deer, and it was a rainy season. The deer population was OK. We saw several does but very few bucks.

Poor: Not seeing enough deer.

Long Co. E-1, G-1, P-3

Good: Have hunted Fort Stewart for 25 years and saw more groups of young bucks and groups of does than I ever have.

Poor: Saw very few deer.

Lowndes Co. G-1, F-2, P-2

Poor: As of Dec. 5, I have not harvested a deer. The best I can tell we have maybe eight to 10 does left on our 1,000-acre lease. The number of does has steadily decreased since baiting was made legal.

Lumpkin Co. G-3, F-2, P-3

Good: Movement didn’t begin until late in the season.

Fair: I think that the rainy weather had a lot to do with lack of deer movement, and the lack of acorns in the woods had the deer targeting bait late after shooting light or before shooting light.

Poor: Saw very few deer on national forest. Saw one shooter buck the entire season.

Macon Co. E-5, G-7, F-4

Excellent: Saw quality deer and does each and every time I was in stand.

Good: Saw many deer, lots of bucks, looking for 140 or better.

Good: Shot first buck with my bow. 

Fair: It happened to rain a fair amount when I could hunt. Didn’t see much movement then.

Madison Co. E-1, G-8, F-9

Excellent: Lots of older bucks. We QDM the property and let younger deer walk.

Good: Shot first buck with my bow.

Good: I met my freezer quota but was sidelined the month of December due to surgery.

Fair: My hunting season was fair because I was busy running for Governor, and I didn’t get to hunt as much as I would like.

Fair: There was no acorn crop this year, very little movement on our property, which is mostly hardwoods.

Marion Co. E-2, G-3, F-1

Excellent: Saw 10-plus deer every hunt.

Good: Saw plenty of deer, including bucks, good age structure and buck-to-doe ratio.

Fair: Not as much deer movement as normal.

McDuffie Co. E-3, G-5

Excellent: Killed two 8-points and saw deer nearly every trip to the woods.

Excellent: Nice rut activity. Allowing bait is a no brainer in my opinion.

Good: Moon and bad weather during the rut. 

McIntosh Co. G-2

Meriwether Co. E-13, G-22, F-8, P-5

Excellent: We had a strong population of healthy does and bucks. We harvested several mature bucks and let many walk.

Excellent: Shot a 170-inch buck on opening day.

Excellent: Got two good 8-points and saw lots of other deer.

Good: Our club saw a good number of decent bucks this year and a large number of smaller bucks. We also had a large number of does with multiple yearlings. It seemed to be a very good fawn drop this past year.

Good: Saw a lot of deer.

Good: I killed one early and didn’t see another.

Good: Deer activity with nice buck-to-doe ratios on cameras. I harvested a nice buck, as well.

Good: Plenty of deer, but no big bucks.

Good: Saw lots of deer. But land was clearcut. Ugly to look at.

Fair: I saw a good amount of deer, but no shooters.

Poor: Fewer deer seen, nocturnal due to all the corn and no rut.

Miller Co. F-2

Fair: Deer numbers are down, and the quality is down, also. Every time you go hunting, it sounds like a war. We need to decrease the amount of deer allowed.

Mitchell Co. E-1, G-3

Good: Didn’t see as many deer.

Monroe Co. E-10, G-9, F-6

Excellent: Killed the biggest buck of my life.

Excellent: Saw lots of deer. Been trying to manage property in a positive way for last four years.

Excellent: Saw lots of deer good rut activity, just an awesome season still seeing bucks regularly.

Good: Seen a pretty good amount of bucks this year, most were 2.5 to 3.5 years old.

Good: Didn’t bowhunt at all. Shot a doe my first muzzleloader hunt and an 11-pointer the morning of Oct. 30. Saw plenty of deer earlier on in rifle season through the middle of November. Then they completely shut down. A lot of pressure on our lease. Young and new members shooting everything they see, so I’m thinking that had a lot to do with it.

Fair: Just didn’t see the amount of deer I normally do but did see four good bucks and took one of them.

Montgomery Co. F-1

Fair: The Oconee River stayed flooded half the season, cutting off the swamp for hunting.

Morgan Co. E-5, G-8, F-3

Excellent: Good rutting activity and numerous bucks seen. Took a couple of nice bucks.

Good: Good movement and good deer harvested.

Good: Saw shooter bucks, holding out for something bigger—if no buck, will shoot doe before season ends.

Fair: Didn’t see a single doe the first four weeks of season. No does means no big bucks.

Murray Co. E-1, G-3, F-2, P-4

Excellent: Saw a lot of deer and killed a mature buck.

Good: Had success. Bagged a buck. Son killed his first deer, a buck.

Fair: Did not see as many this year.

Poor: Saw very few deer. Rain, rain, flooded timber.

Newton Co. E-3, G-7, F-4, P-1

Excellent: I shot my first WMA deer (Clybel) and a nice 8-point.

Good: I saw deer, and my son was able to take his first one.

Good: Did not see a lot of deer, but managed to harvest a nice 9-pointer and saw several other nice bucks during the rut.

Good: I got all the meat I needed.

Good: Saw deer, didn’t get to hunt much.

Fair: Deer movement was more minimal than normal.

Fair: Not many sightings. Mostly nocturnal activities.

Poor: Bad weather, saw few deer.

Oconee Co. E-1, G-2, F-2, P-2

Fair: There were a lot of small deer this year. No bucks that were of quality 4 1/2-year-old or older. It appears that there was a January/February breeding period last year, as there were fawns that were very small and had just lost their spots.

Oglethorpe Co. E-12, G-15, F-13, P-1

Excellent: I killed the buck I have been chasing for two years.

Excellent: Great times with family and friends. Saw many deer.

Good: Would like to see more deer per hunt but not as important as being in the woods. If I want to see and shoot more, I just go squirrel hunting.

Good: Shot a small 9-point and one doe.

Fair: Not great but not poor. Saw few deer.

Fair: Lots of does, late-night moving bucks, crazy weather.

Fair: Saw deer until natural food source was gone. Deer moved to neighbors with biggest corn pile.

Fair: Too much rain and not enough cold weather

Fair: I saw multiple deer almost every trip. All does and young bucks. Did not see any mature bucks.

Paulding Co. E-1, G-4, F-8, P-2

Excellent: Got two trophy bucks at age 80.

Good: Two deer harvested.

Fair: Season was hot and cold, not talking about the weather.

Fair: Few deer seen.

Poor: Didn’t kill any deer.

Peach Co. G-1

Pickens Co. E-1, G-3, F-2, P-2

Excellent: Killed a 185-lb. buck.

Good: Lots of deer.

Fair: Weather.

Poor: Saw very limited deer movement. Spent many days in the woods using the same tactics that have always brought me success year after year but simply didn’t see many deer. I do not hunt over bait, and I believe other nearby hunters might be turning our wild game into petting zoo animals and disturbing some of their natural patterns and behaviors.

Pierce Co. E-2

Pike Co. E-3, G-7, F-3

Excellent: I saw more deer than ever before. Also, I harvested two mature bucks, one of which may be the new county record.

Good: The rut seemed completely nocturnal.

Good: Saw deer most every time out.

Fair: Deer sightings down considerably over previous years.

Polk Co. E-2, G-2, F-1, P-6

Excellent: Took my best buck this year and saw lots of shooter bucks 8-points or better out past the ears.

Good: One small buck and three does, better than last year, and I had a blast.

Fair: Not a lot of deer movement.

Poor: Very little deer activity. This is my first year on the club, but everyone says it’s the worst they have ever seen. I think there should be more education available to hunters on how to properly/effectively bait.

Poor: Baiting made legal. Poaching by locals.

Pulaski Co. E-3, G-4, F-4

Excellent: In our club, we saw more than ever before young and mature bucks and does, and a 13-pointer was harvested. We are in our fourth year of QDM and are seeing great results.

Good: Killed two bucks on the same day in mid November.

Fair: Hogs are ruining habitat, and too many small bucks being killed by neighbors.

Putnam Co. E-8, G-20, F-6, P-6

Excellent: Tagged out on bucks and put good meat in the freezer.

Excellent: Well I planted food plots just the same as I always have but had a corn feeder in the middle of it, and I have had the greatest season ever.

Good: Saw plenty of deer but was unable to hunt much this season.

Good: Saw more deer than usual.

Good: Plenty of good weather days to hunt. Ability to use bait made it more enjoyable.

Good: Seen deer every time out, seen a lot of small bucks.

Good: One day killed buck.

Good: Saw lots of deer.

Fair: Saw fewer deer compared to last four seasons.

Fair: Didn’t make it out much.

Fair: After seeing all the deer at The Meat Shed and Jim Holder’s, I don’t think there’s  going to be a deer left in Putnam in three years.

Poor: Lack of sightings. Warm weather. Very little mast.

Poor: Clearcutting. Poor: Property was cut last year, then sprayed to kill brush this spring. Basically no food on the land. We have 700+ acres and maybe 5 acres of hardwood. Most is very mature pines. Very few deer on the cameras. Couple of borderline shooter bucks.

Quitman Co. E-1, P-2

Poor: The season started out pretty good, but after the hurricane, I didn’t get any more pictures or see a mature buck. This is the first time in 12 years of not getting a shot at a legal buck. Very few deer in general.

Rabun Co. E-1, G-2, P-1

Excellent: Two nice bucks in archery.

Randolph Co. E-4, G-3, F-3, P-1

Good: Lot of deer movement and sightings. 

Fair: Wet weather.

Poor: Landowners should be allowed to legally harvest mature bucks that do not fit the county rule of 4 points on one side. Year after year, we see mature bucks that under QDM regulations are not legal bucks. 

Richmond Co. E-1, G-1

Rockdale Co. G-4, F-2

Good: Saw more deer than normal this year.

Good: I saw several bucks and harvested a 10-point this season. I hunt in an area we call Pin Oaks. There are a lot of trees dropping this year, persimmons and privet. I saw a bobcat twice this season, coyotes, hawks and turkeys. I love the outdoors! I love bowhunting!

Schley Co. E-3, G-3

Excellent: Plenty of deer. Plenty of rain. Food plots look great. Corn helps, also.

Screven Co. E-3, G-1, F-2, P-1

Excellent: Saw plenty of good bucks early in the season.

Good: We saw good numbers of bucks but very few really nice ones. The wild hogs are competing for the same food sources as the deer.

Poor: Never saw any bucks during daylight hours during the season. I saw plenty of smaller does and yearlings that I was not going to shoot.

Spalding Co. E-3, G-5, F-1, P-3

Excellent: I hunt where there is no baiting or food plots and am able to observe the deer in their natural environment.

Good: I saw as many or more deer than other seasons.

Good: Saw more deer and harvested three.

Fair: Lack of deer sightings.

Poor: Very few deer seen and what did show was young does and bucks.

Poor: Fewer deer seen during many hours on stand. Fewer pictures over a property well covered by cameras. Very few fawns seen this year.

Poor: Deer just seemed to disappear shortly into hunting season.

Stephens Co. F-2, P-5

Fair: Didn’t get to hunt much but saw deer when I did. Just not any good shooters.

Fair: Only hunted deer two days. I’ve switched from deer hunting to predator hunting.

Poor: Less deer seen every year since 10-doe limit implemented.

Stewart Co. E-2, G-5, P-2

Good: Seen a few good deer.

Good: Shot the biggest buck I’ve ever shot, though not a trophy. My son killed his first buck.

Sumter Co. E-4, G-3, F-5, P-1

Excellent: Killed two nice bucks.

Good: Saw more deer than hogs this year, not to say we are still not overrun with hogs.

Fair: We never saw any real mature buck activity during this season. We actually think that as of early January, a lot of our does have not been bred yet. This was also confirmed with discussions with local processors. The number of deer seen was up, just not mature shooters.

Talbot Co. E-9, G-19, F-9, P-8

Excellent: Weather or excessive rainfall limited number of days to hunt. Advantage deer. Worst I’ve seen during rut.

Excellent: We have 2,000 acres that we have managed for 5 years now. Bucks getting bigger and so are the does.

Excellent: First year limiting out on bucks and does. One buck and three does with a bow. One buck and seven does with a rifle.

Good: I did not get to hunt as much as I would have liked but enjoyed when I did go and had great success.

Good: Saw a lot of deer, just not the ones I wanted to shoot. Waiting on big boy. Don’t shoot does except on WMA hunts.

Good: Got one good 8-point and saw a lot of deer.

Good: Saw plenty of does and shot as much as I wanted. Wish I would have seen more bucks, but weather messed my timing of the rut up.

Good: Saw a lot of bucks this year, but most were 1 point short of being legal. Look forward to seeing them next year . I was able to shoot a small-frame 9-point and a doe.

Good: Had some better deer on camera in daylight than usual.

Fair: I saw only a few deer during my hunt times. Have them on camera all times of the night. Saw mostly does and yearlings.

Poor: Didn’t even see a deer all season. Suspect overhunting and especially coyote predation. 

Poor: Few acorns. Came and went fast. Weak rut.

Poor: Hogs have destroyed our property. No way to control them.

Poor: Only saw one mature buck verses something like 20 last year.

Taliaferro Co. E-3, G-6, F-5, P-2

Excellent: Tagged out on bucks. Not huge racks but fat and killed a doe.

Fair: Our herd is starting to recover with the reduction of either-sex days. Starting to see does in natural family groups again. Saw a bunch of bucks in October and November. All of the deer have gone into hiding since Thanksgiving.

Poor: I didn’t fire a shot at a deer so far this season and have seen very few deer early on.

Tattnall Co. E-1, G-2, F-1, P-2

Excellent: Five deer in the freezer.

Good: Got three with my bow, one with my blackpowder gun and one large hog. However, I never saw a big buck.

Good: I did not get to hunt as much as I would have liked but enjoyed when I did go and had great success.

Fair: Only saw two deer from the stand, only harvested one 8-point.

Poor: Very little deer movement during daylight hours. Have not harvested anything this year.

Taylor Co. E-3, G-5, F-6, P-4

Excellent: Great season from opening day of bow season to today. I have watched more deer than I can count.

Good: I killed two does and missed out on another one and a big buck that I did not get a shot at.

Fair: Saw plenty of deer, but none were worthy of hanging on my wall.

Poor: Rain all season.

Telfair Co. E-3, G-2, P-1

Excellent: I was able to finally time the rut just right this deer season. I saw more bucks than does. I passed on a lot of smaller and younger bucks, and I was fortunate to take a 200-lb 10-point and a 170-lb. 6-point.

Good: Saw a lot of bucks. No monsters, but 8s and 9s. Saw bucks morning and evening. Saw bucks together, chasing does. Saw groups of does.

Terrell Co. E-2, G-4, F-3

Excellent: We saw plenty of deer, and despite the less-than-perfect weather, we still were able to harvest several deer.

Good: I have seen a lot of deer this year. Haven’t shot one yet, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad season.

Good: I didn’t get to go as much as I would of liked, but I still saw a fair amount of deer. Never saw any deer in an actual rut action.

Good: Hunting during the rut was good, with movement by does and bucks. After the rut, movement has been a little slow, but it has been raining most of the time so I’m assuming the deer were bedded down during this time.

Fair: Weather had some impact. My biggest impact was wild hogs. They eat what was put out for deer.

Thomas Co. G-2, F-1, P-1

Poor: Deer sightings and signs have been way down for me personally.

Tift Co. E-2, G-1, F-1

Excellent: My grandson killed his first buck, and my son killed a 7-point the next day. And the next weekend I killed a 8-point.

Good: Saw deer on just about every hunt.

Fair: Too much rain, couldn’t get into deer stands.

Toombs Co. E-2, G-2

Excellent: I saw plenty of deer from the start of the season. I was able to take a really good 9-point.

Good: Killed a couple of does for the freezer. Did not see any bucks big enough for us to want to shoot, maybe next year.

Towns Co. E-2, F-1, P-1

Excellent: I saw a lot of good healthy deer.

Poor: The hog population has completely gotten out of control in the mountains. You can forget baiting deer up here because the hogs would decimate the bait in one night.

Treutlen Co. E-2, G-1

Excellent: Lots of deer numbers, lots of rutting in early October, long season for plenty of opportunities, high success.

Troup Co. E-5, G-6, F-6, P-6

Excellent: Killed two mature bucks and saw six more 2 1/2-year-old bucks.

Good: Seen several deer. Mostly bucks. Compared to previous year’s deer sightings it’s down 30 percent. I did not feed with corn, just food plots. All tracts around me were utilizing large quantities of corn and protein supplements.

Good: I hunt public land, and they were doing tree clearing most all season!!

Fair: It would be nice to see more deer during the season. It’s disappointing to sit through the elements and not see any deer past Dec. 1. 

Poor: Very few killed on property. Lousy weather, low population, neighbors baiting.

Turner Co. E-1, G-3, F-2

Excellent: Saw plenty of deer. All were healthy.

Good: Saw plenty of deer.

Fair: Not many big deer seen.

Twiggs Co. E-1, G-4, F-3, P-3

Good: Saw a lot of deer, just not something I would shoot. Really wish we could get Twiggs County as a management county. There are finally a lot of people doing management now, so I feel like maybe we could get it passed if there was another meeting and vote on it.

Fair; My hunting lease is located off of a dirt road at the clay mines. Almost impossible to get to it in this rainy weather. So the weather is what messed up deer season for me.

Poor: Too much rain. Baiting by neighbors pulled deer off my property.

Union Co. G-4, F-4, P-2

Good: Saw a lot of deer, just nothing big. Lots of does and a few smaller bucks.

Fair: Normal patterns were not evident this year.

Upson Co. E-3, G-8, F-3

Excellent: Saw decent numbers of deer, less coyotes.

Excellent: I only got to hunt three times because of work. Saw several deer while hunting. Took a buck on the third hunt.

Good: I only got to hunt three times because of work. Saw several deer while hunting. Took a buck on the third hunt.

Good: I killed three does.

Fair: We didn’t see as many deer as we have over the last 10 years.

Walker Co. G-4, F-5, P-1

Good: Lots of good deer seen.

Fair: Deer sightings were down, but I did see a very nice buck.

Walton Co. E-1, G-9, F-3, P-1

Excellent: Saw plenty of deer and my son and I both harvested some.

Good: Saw plenty of deer, some nice bucks.

Good: I haven’t had much of a chance to hunt deer this season.

Good: Good rut activity.

Fair: Numbers of deer seen were down by far. Did not use bait.

Fair: No large bucks.

Ware Co. G-3, F-1

Good: Saw a number of good bucks and lots of does. Harvested a 4 1/2-year-old 8-point chasing a doe on Nov. 1.

Warren Co. E-5, G-5, F-8

Excellent: Saw more deer this season than last, harvested two nice bucks at farm.

Good: Numbers are still down but are improving.

Fair: We saw a lot of deer on our club early this season. Weather has been a factor the latter half as it seems to rain every weekend. Overall, a decent year.

Washington Co. E-4, G-10, F-8

Excellent: Observed more 3.5 year and older bucks than ever before. QDM foundation practices really work!

Good: I didn’t see as many deer as I normally do. I killed two good bucks, and my sons were able to kill good bucks, as well.

Good: Saw more deer than last year. Harvested two decent bucks.

Good: Poor acorn availability after the tropical depression passed, coupled with frequent rains and flooding limited opportunities to encounter deer.

Fair: Animal patterns, rut did not seem prevalent, or active. With the full moon, deer went nocturnal. Fluctuations in temps seemed to bother the herd, as well.

Wayne Co. E-1, G-2, F-4, P-3

Excellent: Saw many bucks and harvested my best bow buck ever. Saw many young bucks, also. Wife harvested two mature deer and saw many does and yearlings.

Good: I saw more deer and deer sign than years prior on several WMAs.

Fair: I did not hunt that much this season due to the weather and my age. I saw a few deer and could have shot one but let him walk as he was scrawny. I was really hunting a big 8-point I saw last year that gave me the slip.

Poor: Didn’t see any deer during gun season. Deer ate my corn at night.

Poor: No good bucks.

Webster Co. E-1, G-2, F-1, P-2

Excellent: Plenty of deer. Buck-to-doe ratio about 50-50. Saw a lot of movement.

Good: Not as many animals as last year. More pigs and coyotes.

Good: Hurricane damage to trees, roads limited access to some areas of property. Deer seemed to change patterns from years past after Michael. No real rut activity noted.

Fair: Hurricane damage to trees, roads limited access to some areas of property. Deer seemed to change patterns from years past after Michael. No real rut activity noted.

Poor: In about 40 hours in deer stands, I’ve seen just one doe.

Wheeler Co. G-2, F-7, P-2

Good: I check my cameras regularly, and in October, I had two or three deer that I would have taken. I was able to do that on Dec. 30.

Fair: Saw a lot of young bucks, not many mature does and not many mature bucks.

White Co. E-1, F-2, P-1

Fair: I saw  small deer, and it was the same four or five every time.

Poor: I only saw four deer the entire season! I hunted about 12 days on WMAs and didn’t harvest a deer. The rain had a big impact on my hunting days this season.

Whitfield Co. E-2, G-2

Good: My wife killed her first deer ever with a bow! Saw deer almost every time I went out but just selective and never had a kill.

Wilcox Co. E-1, G-6, F-1, P-1

Excellent: I tagged out on bucks. One was a 163-inch buck I had on camera for three years.

Excellent: Lots of bucks on their feet, and rut activity was best I’ve seen in several years. Still think we have way more bucks than does. Would be nice to take a few doe tags away and add another 4-point-on-one-side buck tag. Even drop it to seven does and three bucks would be nice.

Good: Saw lots of deer, some to shoot, some I could not. Enjoy being out in the woods.

Good: Seen numerous deer and bucks, just not the one I wanted to shoot.

Good: Killed a nice buck early November, but never really saw any good rut activity.

Fair: Hunt river bottom land. Rains have led to flooding, which resulted in losing hunting access around Thanksgiving through now.

Wilkes Co. E-5, G-12, F-7, P-2

Excellent: Was able to see bucks and does almost every hunt. Was able to harvest a nice 7-pointer, then fill my freezer with a mature doe.

Good: I am primarily a meat hunter and was able to take two deer for this purpose.

Good: Saw some deer, was good. Too much rain.

Fair: In our area, deer are not as plentiful but seem to be making a comeback. I am seeing more deer.

Poor: I hunted twice and only saw one doe, and it was a buck-only day.

Wilkinson Co. E-2, G-12, F-4, P-3

Excellent: Lots of bucks on their feet, and rut activity was best I’ve seen in several years. 

Good: I put meat in the freezer. Didn’t have any shooters on camera, but we have some good young bucks. So the next few seasons will be better.

Fair: Saw some deer, just no shooters.

Poor: Bad weather and fewer deer sightings.

Worth Co. E-3, G-5, F-1, P-3

Excellent: I had several encounters with P&Y caliber deer. Passed on several young deer that have great potential and harvested a great bow buck.

Good: I was hunting two excellent bucks, had them on camera early season but never saw them in the daylight. I did see several bucks that have potential. I did take a decent 7-point on a property closer to home. I had a good year seeing deer. The best part was just being in the outdoors.

Fair: Decent activity. Poor weather.

Poor: I just did not see as many deer as usual. Some of the land was clearcut and too wet to drive to some of the other parts of the land.

 

Question 2: How did the current Georgia law on baiting for deer affect your deer hunting?

An overwhelming majority of hunters across the state said the current baiting law in Georgia had either a positive impact or no impact on their deer hunting this season.

Directly below we present that statewide results of Question No. 2, but we also broke out the results based on whether hunters hunted in the former Northern Zone, which just experienced its first season where hunting deer over bait was legal, and the former Southern Zone, where hunters have been legally deer hunting over bait now for eight seasons. Those results are farther down in the story.

Response options on the VOTES survey were Positive Impact, Negative Impact, No Impact and I Don’t Know. 

Below is a statewide look at how hunters felt baiting impacted their hunting.  Individual charts for Northern Zone and Southern Zone hunters are low.

Responses below are from hunters who hunt in the former Northern Zone and were allowed to hunt over bait for the first time this season.

• Saw more deer than ever.

• It didn’t—saw fewer deer and more coons.

• Allowed the kids to see deer on almost every hunt. Nothing killed but opportunities were there.

• Deer came to feeders. Placed cameras there. Didn’t kill any deer on feeders, but it gave me the opportunity to see a lot more deer during my limited hunting schedule.

• I feed year-round.

• Used corn/attractants before season to get an inventory of bucks in the area, then quit using it.

• Put out corn and Buck Muscle and got lots of nighttime pictures, so we were able to judge what bucks were around pre-season. We don’t hunt around the feeders.

• Didn’t bait this year.

• I have found that it has allowed me to be more selective on what deer I shoot.

• I haven’t baited myself, but I do hunt some club stands. Most deer have been non-nocturnal, but I’m not sure if that’s the deer on the club or due to baiting. I’ll be interested in seeing the harvest numbers.

• I marked no impact as my neighbors have always baited, and since we do not,  little has changed.

• I did not shoot any deer near any feeders. However, I believe it will have a positive impact overall.

• It allowed me to get much better pictures on cams around feeders and let us know what deer we had and didn’t have to allow us to decide what we were going to shoot. I saw many more does at the feeders, but I am the only one who eats venison, so one or two deer is enough for me.

• Didn’t bait. Maybe next year to see if it’ll help.

• Believe baiting changed travel patterns. All bordering properties were baiting and we were not.

• It allowed me to hold deer in my area where as before when the corn would run out so would the deer regardless of food plots and acorns. I was able to harvest a mature buck I played cat and mouse with since October. Years past I’d run it for a couple weeks then wait the 10 days until it was gone, and my best deer would show while the corn was there. I think this year I didn’t have as many mature bucks on camera because neighbors were baiting also, and I couldn’t draw them in like I did last year when I would put it out for inventory. It also gave my wife chances at shooting a buck with her bow that she hadn’t had in the past. Didn’t connect but it got her fired up.

• I have approximately 1 mile of river frontage on the Flint River. Baiting seems to have affected the traditional travel patterns of deer on my property. I do not bait. Deer sign was far less this year.

• Baiting has been legal for a long time where I hunt. Can’t tell the difference.

• Very little baiting, used planted food sources.

• For one thing, the meat tastes better, deer seem a little more healthy, and we can feed them year-round now instead of 7 months.

• We had zero acorns and picked up a new lease and didn’t do food plots this year. I bought a feeder, and it brought deer in. I like having the option, but it still doesn’t beat good scouting and getting back deep in the woods.

• Brought more deer that would normally pattern at night.

• People are pouring a bag of corn out and shooting everything that comes by.

• Feeder pulled in more deer to property since neighboring property was running feeders 24/7 anyway.

• I’ve never put bait out and don’t know why I should.

• Did put out bait but plan on baiting more next year. Really didn’t get too serious about it this year.

• Get better knowledge of the deer in my area.

• Deer moved to land of those who could afford to feed corn all season.

• The deer I harvested were the fattest I’ve ever seen.

• I did place a feeder on my property, and the deer do use it, but we have not seen any deer during daylight hours.

• Running two feeders kept the resident does close by so as to attract shooter bucks. They where there when I wasn’t unfortunately.

• Kept deer in vicinity.

• My 11-year-old could take her time and decide if she wanted to shoot or not.

• Definitely saw more deer this year because of the feeders staying tuned on. Just not big enough to be shooters.

• Did not help bring in mature bucks. Just saw the same doe and young buck action as previous years.

• We were able to feed and keep deer around us more.

• Put corn out and bait stations, and when hunting season started, they stopped coming to it.

• Impossible to know until next year. Don’t like it and don’t agree with shooting a deer while its head is in a bucket of corn. 

• Made the deer very predictable early season and nocturnal to adjust to the pressure.

• It’s legal to bait, but I feed with feeders, but stands are in locations to allow for deer movement to and from feeders.

• Planted food plots as normal. Just added a feeder in middle, does ate the corn, and the bucks feed along edges like normal.

• I didn’t put out bait, so I have nothing to base an opinion on.

• I refuse to hunt over bait. Just a sorry way to kill an animal. We have really lowered our standards with this law. Neighbors put out lots of corn. Deer did not have to move much.

• I stayed within the previous Northern Zone rules.

• Maybe less deer seen. Makes them more nocturnal I believe.

• There were a lot of deer seen but no big ones.

• It didn’t really affect me that I know of, but I don’t think it should be allowed.

• Neighbor baited all of them away.

• While I don’t know for certain, it seemed to attract more deer to the property.

• I was able to see more deer, even though the quality of deer stayed the same.

• None that I could tell.

• I didn’t bait, so I don’t know.

• I saw fewer deer and no shooters. I don’t know if that is because a neighboring property owner used bait and killed more deer this year or not.

• It was a great year for my daughter. The deer sure are fat as hogs around my property. Corn and sunflower seed have put weight on the deer.

• I saw deer respond to feeders and when hand thrown.

• Saw deer at the feeder and when I wasn’t around a feeder.

• You’re able to put out cameras on bait to see what animals you have and keep them near your property.

• Made me select a buck. Gave me the quantity of does so I seen heavy rut action.

• Saw more deer.

• Was able to hold deer on my property.

• Don’t do it. Don’t consider it hunting!

• Keeps deer in area.

• I don’t hunt bait.

• Without the ability to plant a food plot, it certainly helped bring the deer in.

• Great to have alternative food sources to go along with food plots too keep deer in area.

• I bait but saw no impact whatsoever.

• Feeders seem to make the deer nocturnal, so don’t run the feeders during hunting season.

• Ate heavily at night, not in daylight.

• Did not see deer big enough to shoot around bait.

• Had feed for them to eat.

• Not sure yet if supplemental protein and corn being utilized all around was cause of less sightings or not. Just know sightings down 30 percent from previous years.

• Saw lots more deer this year and healthy as well.

• I don’t bait deer.

• Neighbors lured deer from my property to their feeder.

• No impact because baiting has always taken place. The only thing that changed was the law.

• Easier to get deer meat. No change in seeing great bucks.

• Baiting is for lazy hunters. Spreads disease and increases the hog population.

• Have quit baiting deer. Have found that when baiting deer over time hogs seem to take over.

• I baited some but couldn’t really tell the difference.

• We did not bait, and our deer sightings went way down.

• Brought in more deer.

• We had more deer on camera but mainly at night. I have enough natural food sources for the deer in my area, so corn didn’t really matter to me.

• More deer came to the area where I hunt this year.

• Did not hunt over bait.

• Made me feel like I was going to get something.

• I’m 68 and don’t care to hunt over bait. Just the way I was raised. I think it hurts the hunter image to the non-hunting public. Some hunters don’t care about the image they portray, but I think it’s very important for the future of hunting.

• Deer eating corn every day.

• Started my feeder in the middle of November. Hogs found it and ran the deer off.

• Bait everywhere. Reduced normal movements. Need to eliminate it and supplemental feeding.

• I don’t bait.

• Still against baiting. It’s called hunting not target practice.

• Hunting private land and did not use bait.

• Helped me hold deer on my property better. Also allowed me to keep them on the nutrition program I have the deer on year-round instead of start/stop during hunt season.

• No perceivable impact on our hunting.

• Not sure that there was any impact. Movements appeared normal.

• Seen more during daylight hours.

• Everyone and their brother putting it out, so most deer on cameras are at night.

• I saw a lot more deer.

• It didn’t affect me as far as I know. I have been doing supplemental feeding for years. I don’t hunt over those areas, but I do feed during the season. I do not and will not hunt over bait. The main thing I saw from the new baiting law was the amount of corn bags littering the roads. A sad sight. I would have rather see the DNR move the north zone to the Florida line and do away with baiting statewide, rather than move the line north and allow baiting statewide. I dislike the fact they gave into Gov. Deal for his political purposes. He should have had no input.

• We use food plots, but I did notice more people killing over corn.

• Seeing deer in a more controlled environment. I was able to make better decisions.

• Able to get a better survey and sightings to take the deer we wanted. I think most folks realize if you over do the corn, your deer will get nocturnal.

• It allowed me to see more bucks.

• I think it helped draw in more deer. The big thing to me is you can’t just shoot whatever walks up.

• Hard to say. I did continue to feed the deer corn this year sporadically on my property this year rather than stopping at the end of August, which probably meant the deer hung around more, but I still didn’t see many deer until the rut. I’m a strong opponent of baiting. I don’t like it, and I will not shoot any deer directly over bait. I wish it was not allowed in north Georgia.

• Just followed the rules, no big deal.

• I am not a brown and down hunter. I trophy hunt.

• Forced to do baiting, since adjoining property is baiting.

• Didn’t hunt over bait but kept feeders and food plots, but it helped to keep deer in the property.

• Deer like food.

• No impact except of the wallet trying to keep feeders full. None of us hunted over bait, though. I still think it’s a horrible idea.

• Was useful in increasing deer activity in a planned way.

• Baiting has really helped this year. By being able to bait, I was able to draw deer out of the woods and into our pastures.

  Healthy deer harvested.

• It could be a good tool for taking does. I don’t see where it has any advantage on taking mature bucks. In some cases on my farm, they stayed clear of any feed stations.

• Bait is pulling deer off of public land.

• None. I did not hunt over bait, mainly because I have hogs on my property.

• Because I’m not hunting over my corn feeder, I’ve kept my feeder in what we call a safe zone (20+-) acres.

• We didn’t hunt over bait but did keep bait on certain parts of the property throughout the year.

• Didn’t hunt over corn.

• Did not get a deer over bait.

• Feed 16 percent protein, attracted mostly does, but they attracted the bucks.

• Deer are a lot healthier, especially the fawns.

  I saw more deer with the mineral licks, and I believe this should continue for the 2019-20 season, as well.

• Some deer have corn in them just like they did before it was legal.

• It brought lots of does closer for longer periods.

• I didn’t bait, so I’m not sure if it was negative or positive.

• To many deer being killed over corn.

• Early season brought less sightings, but after first frost, activity picked up in planted plots. I did not bait, but most hunters in my club did.

• Did not do it.

• Doe and fawns came to feeders but no mature bucks.

• Not sure who used bait, if anyone.

• I shot a doe on private in the middle of October, and I think baiting influenced that somewhat. Deer frequented this spot before baiting, so it could have been coincidence, but it appeared she was going right to it. Otherwise I didn’t witness any adverse impact.

• I hunt over a food plot. I did not see any deer in the food plot during the final weeks of the season.

• Hunting over bait will have a negative impact on the health of the Georgia deer herd. While the law will help keep the population in check, harvesting a mature buck will be even more different because the number of young bucks harvested will be higher.

• I think every one was baiting. Deer didn’t have to move much too feed. Corn was everywhere they went. Wonder what it looked like from the air with all the corn piles. Just added more cost to the season. Don’t like it at all.

• I believe that it turned deer nocturnal.

• Never used corn in the past; do not use corn now. No impact on me.

Responses below are from hunters who hunt in the former Southern Zone and have been allowed to hunt over bait for the last eight seasons.

• I have to, everyone around us does.

• It has increased the hogs in our area though.

• Just did not matter. We feed them year-round, just did not see the deer I wanted.

• Most of the deer were just cruising by food mostly look for does.

• Helps in culling does and cull bucks.

• We try to feed most to all year to promote the deer herd and antler growth.

• I had a regular food source in a travel corridor. This helped my deer activity tremendously. I was also able to keep a camera on my bait to check deer activity. This helped me pattern deer.

• It did not impact me in anyway We feed our deer all year.

• It brought them in and kept them around.

• Been able to bait for years. Big bucks just started using our feeders in daylight this year.

• Keeps deer around.

• I keep eight feeders up year-round. Three of them are in areas I do not hunt. I have a good population of dear on 280 acres of private land, and I think the year-round baiting is a benefit to the deer and myself. Supplemental feeding is a plus for many different animals. Squirrels love corn, also.

• We feed minerals and deer feed. You can see an impact on some of the bucks from last year.

• Providing supplemental feed for deer increases their activity and overall health and body mass.

• See a lot more deer.

• I keep four feeders running year-round for supplement feeding, as well as putting out minerals and planting food plots. If you keep the girls close, the boys will show up.

• Supplementing with corn isn’t a guarantee. It’s just like hunting over acorns or on a soybean field, you have to be in the right place at the right time.

• I honestly believe we have a doe problem that will not be solved by corn or baiting. It’s almost as bad as the hog problem.

• It allowed me to pattern the deer and take an inventory of what was around and still around.

• It helps when you have a poor acorn crop, and I believe it helps the overall condition of the deer. It really helps to know what you have on the land you hunt.

• The one negative is that baiting also attracted hogs. Four of them paid the price.

• For the most part, I did not see as many mature animals during shooting hours on feeders. I do believe that bait helps keep animals in a more near area. On our property, we are feeding more than just bait, which I do believe will help with larger animals, better stature. We plant 12 to 15 acres in food plots, as well as adding feeders. Does not seem to alter the pattern of animals coming in to graze.

• Mostly nocturnal feeding after the opener. Did help hold does on the property.

• More deer sighted.

• Allows us to feed year-round and keep deer on our property.

• I don’t bait, but I do plant food plots each year and spend a lot of money in doing so. The baiting law does not affect me.

• I can’t tell any difference. I see more deer, but since I trophy hunt only, that doesn’t mean I shoot more deer.

• Baiting enabled my family to take four deer from our family property.

• Help you tell what kind of deer you have.

• I don’t hunt over bait and don’t plan to do so.

• One piece of property I hunt doesn’t hold many deer, but they come in when the auto feeder goes off.

• In the Southern Zone, we have been able to bait for a couple years, and it has helped keep deer on our property.

• We’re seeing more daylight activity from deer in general with the ability to hunt over corn. The only negative is that we believe this also introduced hogs to this area.

• We lost a large number OK oak trees due to the storms, so baiting helped keep the deer on our property.

• We have noticed more repetitive visits by our deer to our feeders, but feed troughs are better due to feral hog visits.

• Allows for opportunities to pattern deer when food sources are limited and food plots are impractical.

• See more deer since baiting was made legal.

• I hunt in the Southern Zone, so at this point the deer are used to the feeders, and they come to them (when bears haven’t turned them over) All sex and sizes come to the feeders.

• It didn’t impact my hunting at all.

• I had plenty of deer on deer camera, but it will be better next year.

• I hunt the Southern Zone. We had it for quite a while. It’s very expensive, but if you don’t, your neighbor will have your deer. It’s that simple! Maybe Northern Zone can pull all the pigs out of the south! Trust me, your turkey population will plummet when pigs arrive!

• Baiting does allow hunters to see more game, especially this year following the hurricane when most of the mast food was destroyed.

• It allows the ability to draw deer in close enough to positively identify what you are going to harvest. Example, you’re only shooting does, and it allows you not to shoot buttons.

• I don’t agree with hunting over bait, therefore I only hunt over native food, i.e. wild rye, clover, acorns, etc., and I hunt funnels or trails.

• Corn worked very good.

• Killed deer over corn.

• Plenty of deer, just no harvestable bucks.

• I only hunt public land, and bating pulls deer away from public land and gives people unfair advantage over me.

• Supplemental feeding is a management tool done correctly. It allows the herd the intake of supplements that maintain a healthy herd. Instead of shooting just any deer, it allows the hunter to be selective and harvest only animals that need to be removed from the herd.

• Increased deer numbers.

• People primarily use corn to bait. Corn also attracts turkeys, which attracts predators and makes turkeys an easy meal for a coyote or bobcat. Baiting should not be legal. It is unnatural for such a large amount of whitetail activity in such a small area. Baiting hurts turkey populations. Baiting increases the likelihood for wild animal diseases to spread.

• I hunt private land which has been improved with several large food plots that renders the need of bait unnecessary.

• Baiting allows you to use trail cameras to assess your herd and let’s you know if a big buck is close to where you hunt. This encourages me to let younger bucks pass. Baiting keeps the does close so when the rut kicks in your chance of seeing a nice buck in daylight improves. Just because you’re baiting doesn’t make big bucks stupid.

• I don’t use corn or store bought feeds. I have two small food plots planted in rye grass, oats, clover and peas. I don’t have anything against baiting, just too time consuming for me.

• We normally keep feed out year-round. I see it no different than a food plot.

• Brought does to the field late season and brought bucks out with them.

• Neighbors baiting on property line. Pulling deer off my property. I must bait or be at a disadvantage. Hunters are not learning basic skills just hunting over bait.

• Plenty of deer seen in and traveling to corn pile. My girls are able to see a lot more deer than just sitting in a travel corridor putting in seat time and being disappointed but not seeing deer.

• I keep feeders running all year and believe it helps to hold the does on our lease.

• We saw more deer and were able to harvest two nice bucks chasing does near the feeding areas.

• Saw lots of does, but most were too small to shoot, and the bucks seem to keep their distance from the feeder, so not sure if it’s good or bad. The farther away from the feeder I hunted, it seems the more bigger the deer I saw.

• The mature deer ate out of the food plots mainly and not the corn.

I am the target text.

Question 3: In 2017, Georgia approved a significant increase in the cost of hunting and fishing licenses and fees, with most increasing by 50 percent or more. GON will be taking a look at how this influx of revenue is spent. What do you feel are the greatest needs for sportsmen in Georgia? Rank each from 1 to 10, with 1 as most important to you and 10 as the least important.

Not a huge surprise that the top-two places that Georgia sportsmen want to see their new license dollars at work is for deer and turkey management and research. After that, hunters are interested in protecting those resources by hiring more game wardens and then working on hunter recruitment to preserve the future. You can view the full rundown of where hunters want their dollars to go, or not to go, is the two charts directly below.

Below are comments.

• I would like to see more public land dove and duck hunting opportunities.

• I think bass fishing in Georgia is terrible compared to other surrounding states. Look at Guntersville, Chickamauga, Kentucky Lake, lakes in Florida and Alabama and Texas even northern lakes with giant smallmouths. Where can you go in Georgia and catch a five-bass limit that weighs 25 pounds or more? I spend more time fishing in Alabama than Georgia, even if I have to drive an extra hour to get there.

• More largemouth bass stocking.

• We need to figure out and fix what’s happening to our turkey population. Thirty years of hunting them in Georgia and a steady decline in the past 15 years in central Georgia.

• Need more saltwater law enforcement. It makes me sick to see how certain groups and people just slaughter beautiful fish that a real angler would love to catch.

• Duck hunts On WMAs.

• Lower the limit of deer to two bucks and five does.

• How about using the revenue question to reduce or eliminate the ridiculous parking fee at almost all boat ramps. I fish out of state a lot, specifically in Tenn., and have never paid a cent to park there, and I’m a visitor in their state.

• We’re losing hunters every year. One reason is many people don’t have land available to hunt on. I think we need more quality public land open to hunting.

• I do believe that the added revenue can be used for any improvements of outdoor rec areas/facilities is good. Reopen hatcheries, education of the public and landowners to help further the outdoor experience, including hunting and shooting sports.

• Largemouth bass shocking should be a higher priority versus hybrid bass. There’s more bass fishermen but no help toward largemouth.

• Find a reason the turkey population is down.

• More doe days in certain counties but not all. Some WMAs need an extra hunt.

• Thankful that everyone is equal in regards to baiting.

• Keep hiring LEOs, return P.O.S.T. certification to WMA managers. If DNR wants more hogs killed, leave gates open during small-game hunts to allow access. Pine Log was gated at the areas with the most hogs last year. Too far to drag one.

• We need to hire more game wardens for each region, along with giving our current DNR guys a pay raise. Pay them more, and the will stay. 

• More dove hunting opportunities.

• Need better management/stocking in reservoirs statewide, Newton County, Cornish creek.

• You have walking trails, bike trails. What about things for ATV users. They’re probably more ATV users that would like a place to ride that was controlled than bicycle riders.

• We need more canoe launches on WMAs. Regulations on shoal bass in all rivers and creeks where they are. Ocmulgee, Yellow, South, Alcovy, etc. Better river access statewide. Look at what Florida has on their rivers and try to copy. We need more and better access to rivers for boats.

• Help private landowners with game management.

• I hunt private land 95 percent of the time. I really think more game wardens on the ground would help keep everyone in line. I follow the rules, but unfortunately we even see trespassing on our land, and I know they spread pretty thin.

• I understand the increase on the license, because I understand it hasn’t happened in a long time and the money can be put to good use. That being said, the increase was way to extreme. I had a 2 year at the time of increase, so I renewed this year. I was so blown away that I was sure it was wrong and contemplated not getting it.

• I always see that striped bass and hybrids are stocked. I would like to see more largemouth bass stocked.

• More places to safely shoot rifles, especially in northeast Georgia.

• We need to increase hunters and also access to hunting land.

• Install aeration in Oconee.

Here’s a breakdown of how GON subscribers answered the question regarding where they want their license dollars spent. If you’ll look at the deer management/improvement stats, you’ll see that 36.15 percent of hunters chose this as priority No. 1, followed by 20.74 percent choosing it as their second choice and so on.

 

Below are miscellaneous comments.

• Out of state lottery licenses. 

• Fall turkey season.

• Antler restrictions.

• I would like to see hog hunts on WMAs instead of a mass killing and wasted meat/game.

• Coyotes need a statewide bounty to reduce their numbers.

• Would like to see limited baiting legalized on private dove hunts. Non-baited hunts that I go on are horrible. There has to be some middle ground.

• It’s all good.

• Deer season should start later and end the last day of January.

• Poaching and trespassing is still a huge issue. No one is afraid of the game wardens being called because they can outrun/out hide them.

• Out of state licences a little high, but I love to hunt Georgia.

• Thanks GON magazine.

• Hunting in Georgia is a privilege. That is why I drive 400 miles to hunt.

• Like the app. Great job on statewide baiting.

• Hunting licenses are too confusing. Need to simplify the types and wording of each.

• Should reduce tags for does and go back to old system of actually tagging deer.

• All year archery hunting for pigs when no deer season is in on WMA.

• I had several deer dumped on roads near my hunting areas and one right in front of my entry gate. People need to realize that the deer don’t care if you take the carcasses back to where they came from. I had deer at my corn hours and days after I gutted my buck within 50 yards of it and left the pile there. They see and smell dead stuff all the time.

• Hunters need better tools to manage hogs.

• I’d like to think this survey will actually have some bearing on the decisions for the DNR. For too long, the DNR and politicians have ignored the FACTS from the field regarding deer and turkey populations. Coyotes are hurting us. The rut has drastically changed over the past 30 years that I’ve hunted in Georgia. It’s not uncommon to see spotted fawns from early May until October. I’m talking about newborn fawns. Drive along a Georgia road during October and November. There are few deer on the sides of the road. This is good for the drivers and insurance companies but a bad sign for hunters. The shortage of wardens also bothers me. Most illegal hunters can practice their activities without worry because the wardens are spread too thin. Please manage our great wildlife resources with good information not political convenience.

• Changing the season dates. I would like to see a break in December how it used to be for two weeks. Make it statewide and take some of the pressure off the deer. Men stay at home with there families right before Christmas, maybe make a little extra money then. Instead cutting out of work to go hunting.

• I am good!

• Georgia has a great deer season. It’s long and liberal. DNR is doing a great job.

• License should cover the season you hunt and not overlap the next season.

• Need tags for cull bucks.

• More doe days in the mountains.

• Georgia needs to shorten firearms season and have longer archery and muzzleloader season and cut the number of does a hunter can kill.

• Wish the entire state was qdm, not just one buck, both bucks.

• No complaints.

• I am a non resident of Georgia. I am a landowner in Georgia. I think the non-resident license fees are too high. I appreciate the ability to hunt in the state and will continue to pay what is required. I have no choice.  However, it would be fine with me if they were to lower the fees.

• Stop taking hunting opportunities from hunters for horse back riders! For example, Oconee National Forest.

• Saw more bucks than does. Would like to have three buck tags and 12 deer total. Quality buck statewide management.

• Maybe bounties on coyotes.

• Like to see more open dates on WMAs for feral hogs. Let hunters come in more often and take them. Not all of us can afford $200-500 hog hunts, but we will be glad to hunt WMAs during the off season and kill hogs.

• I think with the way the temperature has been the past few years the season should open a little later and last a little longer.

• Fewer deer hunting days, more small-game hunting days.

• Increased limit on specks and reds. 

• Duck shooting hours extended to 30 minutes past sunset.

• Incentives for culling wild hog/coyotes.

• I think deer season is too long and gets in the way of other hunting.

• Increase length of primitive-weapons season. Extend archery season past the end of firearms season statewide. Incorporate more prescribed fire into public land.

• Looks like the deer herds are healthy, turkey counts are lower, hogs are taking over, predators are numerous.

• Limit on does needs to be cut back to three.

• Waited 40 years to get my free senior hunting and fishing license and then the state changed the law.

• Bear hunting laws need to be improved.

• Coyotes need much better management.   They are in neighborhoods eating people’s pets.

• Do away with buck only and lessen the number of deer you can take. It should be either-sex all year and less deer to take.

• Change end of season, decrease limits.

• Take a young person hunting.

• Georgia needs to follow Mississippi’s lead and reduce the doe limit to three. Georgia hunters have proven most are incapable of making intelligent management decisions.

• We ought to do away with the idea that the only deer that should be shot is a certain score or age. Kids read that and do not think they will ever measure up, so why hunt. These hunting shows that only record trophy size and shoot over corn piles give us a bad name and try to make it like unless you spend a thousand dollars on their newest camo or gadget you cannot kill a deer. 

• As a law-abiding hunter, it is frustrating to see a buck-to-doe ratio so out of whack. This is a problem, and people should also be fined for shooting buttonhead bucks.

• Make end of deer season buck only because most does have been bred; therefore, you are killing two to three deer in most cases.

• For deer season to open in November and go until February.

• We need to do a better job of catching poachers, night hunters, trespassers and thieves. We have been watching a piebald for four years, and he was finally large enough to take. I was told he was shot with a light next to us. Hope he was taken by fair chase, he deserved that, and so did we.

• It would be nice if there were a non-resident, but Georgia property owner, classification for licenses. The non-resident license is very expensive. There may not be enough of us to make a case for a change.

• Open WMAs up for longer access with bows.

• Assistance with the cost of installing deer fence to protect home gardens would be helpful but only a one-time supervised installation.

• I would like to see archery-only areas to stay open through January.

• Baiting is a bad idea everywhere, it leads to CWD.

• Residents and non-residents should be allowed to trap coyotes year-round on private property without a trapping license. But, I believe wild hogs are a bigger problem than the coyotes. Could GON provide an article on effective traps and trapping techniques?

• Turkey numbers appear to be declining at an alarming rate. I hope the NWTF, GON and state agencies are not behind the curve.

• Organized and well-funded anti Second Amendment efforts are concerning.

• More handicapped hunts. 

• 10-doe limit is too much.

• Need to cut the doe tags back to five.

• In all, Georgia is doing well. Need to lower limit on does and put at least four on one side for all bucks.

• Move season back, extend longer.

• No baiting and no dogs for deer and bear.

• I wish they would increase out-of-state license cost. They are so cheap, now to many out-of-state hunters take up all the leaseable land so local hunters have a hard time finding land to hunt. See social media with all the post looking for land. Also search for land to lease and nothing unless it’s 1,000-plus acres.

• We need stiffer penalties for poaching and bigger fines, jail time. The way it is now I can poach five deer, pay a fine and be free to go, but if I shoot one duck one second before or after, I get crucified to the max. 

• I appreciate that Georgia is making an effort to improve hunting and has a long deer season.

• There needs to be a senior non-resident license that is affordable for those on a fixed income.

• Enjoy hunting on our own land.

• The big license cost increase could have turned away potential new hunters. I know that I wasn’t (and still am not) in favor of that increase. Landowners like myself pay property taxes and plant supplemental crops for wildlife and then get penalized by having to pay double for a license, and the ability to buy a multi-year license at a reduced rate was taken away.

• Would like to see more violations reported in print.

• Keep season dates like this year, and don’t change. Thank you to all persons who help manage the WMA hunts at Cedar Creek.

• Buy more WMA land in Northwest Georgia.

• Anterless deer harvest should be limited to three. Fall turkey season should be implemented with a one-tom season limit.

• Decrease anterless deer harvest. Coyotes are reducing the deer numbers.

• Glad that the northern and southern deer seasons are the same length now. Thank you!

• Reduce the number of deer harvested.

• Timber companies clearcutting too much land and removing food source trees for deer.

• Go back to a two-buck, three-doe limit. Close deer season on Jan. 1 statewide. Open bow season last Saturday in September.

• Was a great year for deer hunting.

• Should be less doe days, no spikes.

• Need to ensure changes are based on good science and wildlife management rather than politics.

• Need a WMA in Camden or Charleston County. Nowhere to hunt in these counties.

• I think Georgia judges should have stiffer fines for those who choose to break the law. Heavier fines for trespassers, more game wardens. It would be nice to have several per county in Georgia.

• Longer dove season and/or less breaks in season.

• I would like to be able to ride an ATV on roads in the WMA. Some of the roads are only ATV drivable.

• Hunters and fishermen need to respect others. When you see someone hunting or fishing “your” spot, just find another area. We have become a very disrespectful society. Sad.

• Great job DNR.

• Would like to see more doe days earlier in the season.

• State of Georgia should drop the deer limit to two bucks, both 4 on one side and three does. No reason why anyone should be aloud to shoot 12.

• CWD is knocking on the doors. Baiting and supplemental feeding needs to end. The DNR/legislature needs to get a handle on doe hunting. Doe license need to be purchased at an additional cost to the hunter with a cap per county/national forest.

• I would like to see more counties adopt antler restrictions to help manage buck harvest.

• Extend deer season to end of January. Quality buck only, or primitive-weapons only quality buck and/or antlerless.

• Keep up the good work.

• So much talk about baiting, and I really don’t care. I think too much emphasis is put on rack size and not enough on teaching the younger generation how to hunt. We can’t allow pop culture and society dictate what is ethical and acceptable. We need to teach our young hunters how to hunt and not be ashamed of being an outdoorsman/woman.

• Small game hunting is impacted by the longer deer season. Would be interesting to see the number of Georgia hunters who prefer reinstating the December break in deer season.

• Appreciate DNR stepping up and changing the baiting laws. Also like to see more game wardens to police the hunt clubs. I have several clubs around my privately owned property, and the clubs typically have issues.

• A bounty on coyotes would encourage their removal and benefit native wildlife.

• I think the bag limits are too high on does.

• Change how the licensing is currently done. Need to go to one buck and four does. Tags are waterproof that has to be put on horn of buck or ear of doe. People are not turning in their kills.

• We seem to be losing more and more Georgia hunters and gaining Florida hunters who are buying and leasing up land left and right.

• Up the limit on doves.

• Use some of the 80 percent tax funds to pays for full time trappers to help landowners who need assistance for coyote removal. I would like to see a bump in the fuel tax and use this income to buy more lands for WMA. I would like to see more hunts on state parks. Maybe some open hunts or even more quota. Maybe some muzzleloader hunts on some of the smaller parks? Allow hog/coyote hunting on WMAs year-round with any weapon.

• We need to have an aggressive program against feral hogs.

• We need to reduce the number of antlerless deer taken and attempt to reduce number of yearling bucks taken.

• Keep licences fees money out of general fund. Perhaps do like Missouri, keep hunting and fishing under separate board separate from house and senate. Wildlife money for wildlife.

• Lower the deer limits and one buck.

• Everything is fine. Just leave it alone.

• Need a simple deer management plan. I like something like ages 16 and under and 65 and older harvest two bucks of choice. Hunters 17 to 64 only harvest 4 points on one side minimum or something along those lines.

• I believe the state running a contest to kill coyotes is unethical, and there is no good scientific evidence that they have a significant impact on the deer and turkey population.

• In my opinion, disabled hunters and veterans should have honorary licenses.

• There needs to be more in class hunting safety courses in the Toombs County area for young hunters to take course and ask questions if they have any.

• I wish last three weeks would be primitive weapons only.

• Landowners in Georgia should not have to purchase a hunting license, regardless of where their primary residence is. Non-resident landowners should not be discriminated. Resident landowners do not have to purchase a license. Non-resident landowners are paying the same price for a license as a non-resident/non landowner.  Property taxes should be enough to grant a harvest record.

• Delay the start of season in the southern region until Oct. 1 and extend deer season until the end if January. Make the extended January time bow only.

• Coyotes are a problem.

• Need a shorter gun season. We have the potential for great deer hunting, but with the long gun season, everyone kills everything. And I say this as a gun hunter only. Maybe have a shotgun season.

• When WMAs are closed, they should secure gates. Too many WMAs are night hunted by outlaws during non hunting season time frame. Roads are destroyed by idiots hot rodding

• I would like to see boards at WMA check in stations where hunters could locate their stand for that day.

• Stop dog hunting.

• Extend bear hunts in Chattahoochee National Forest to end when statewide deer season ends. Allow hog dogging on WMAs.

• There needs to be more discounted hunting license for veterans.

• Add one weekend of shotgun/muzzleloader in early bow season. Then go back to regular schedule. Get more hunters out earlier.

• I would like to see a separate fee for trophy managed WMAs, proceeds of which is put into food plots and rack development.

• The hunter numbers continue to drop. Our hunting heritage is in serious danger of becoming extinct. We need to promote the shooting sports in the GHSA to get youth more involved. I was a part of getting the GISA shooting sports program started. It has been without a doubt a huge success involving some 700 plus youth. The Archery In The Schools has been a huge success involving large numbers of youth. I don’t know why it is, but even in the R3 meetings, the leadership is stopping short of trying to involve our Georgia public schools in the shooting sports. The fact is across the country there’s 1,000+ high school teams. I think something is wrong when the Minnesota DNR puts it out promoting a Georgia state High School Team league. Pull it up on the website. I’ve been begging for this happen. Something like this is what it’s going to take to help get families back outdoors. IE, R3 = recruitment, retention and reactivation. I’ve been a part of this since its inception with the GADNR. One problem is no one will listen. Just a one man army fighting for the wonderful outdoor heritage!

• I have always felt that non-resident licenses are too cheap here in Georgia. Something needs to be done to effectively rid Georgia of wild hogs.

• Beautiful state to hunt and fish in. I’m very blessed to live in a state with such bountiful game. Let’s keep it that way and make decisions and pass laws that keep the needs of the animal first and foremost. Thank you GON! You guys are great!

• It’s a complex issue. We don’t want to discourage anyone from hunting, but on the other hand, we have such a great opportunity for taking our mature buck ( trophy ) hunting to the next level. It would be nice if there was a fair way to restrict people from killing immature bucks, even if it was for part of the season, so the opportunity would be there to grow bucks for another season. All in all, we have a great deer hunting state.

• Turkey population is declining, and we need to figure out why!

• WMA should be open more often to allow more  opportunities for deer hunters and to hopefully cut down on the number of hunters at one time on WMAs. Hunters pay the most money and are given less time to use WMAs than people who hike, ride bikes and other outdoor activities that only pay a few bucks to park if any.

• Our lease is now managed by Weyerhauser. They poison the woods and destroy the natural browse and food that the deer need and use to thrive on. It kept them on the lease property. I have heard the poison they use causes deer defects with their hoofs and promotes disease.

• Georgia needs to improve the harvest reporting of large game, particularly deer. I hear of many hunters who don’t call in their harvests, so they can continue to hunt, resulting in overharvest of deer, but particularly bucks.

• Have deer season run until end of January. Reduce limit on deer and put a bounty on coyotes with some of the extra money being charged for licensing.

• Possible hen season during turkey season.

• Change the limit on does to five.

• I beleive there should be a 8 point or bigger regulation. Loss of hunting rights if found in violation.

• Like I mentioned before, take the deer limit back down to three per season. It would be good to see more deer in the deer stand. 1980’s hunting was great, and it would be nice to have it back that way again.

• I understand that license fees should be more for out-of-state hunters, but as an out-of-state hunter who owns his own land who pays taxes every year to the state of Georgia, spends a lot of money for food, gas and lodging and other things, I think the license fees are way too expensive. I also hunt in Indiana where the deer are giants and an out-of-state hunting license only costs $150. If Georgia wants to attract more hunters, which in turn generates more income for the state, you might not want to bite the hand that feeds you!

• Shorter deer season so you can hunt small game longer.

• We need an effort to re-introduce the elk population back into the Cohutta wilderness. I have previously submitted this to the new governor.

• The bag limit for deer should be reduced tremendously. Too many hunters are killing their 12 deer limit over corn.

• How can we encourage landowners to lease their land to hunters/clubs for hunting? I am leaving one club after 25 years and finding other clubs/leases is proving a bit difficult.

• Again I’m disappointed that GON overlooks the small-game hunters opinion.  WMAs are in my opinion more utilized by this group than any other.

• The license price to deer hunt and big game hunt in general has become almost unreasonable for non-residents. I will hunt Georgia next year due to already redoing our lease. I will be searching other states in the years to come due to the license price.

• Property tax credits for timber companies. Counties want more tax money and go after big companies. They will and have sold land in the counties near where I hunt. Getting harder to find lease land.

• Do something about coyotes.

• Chemical removal of yotes.

• Allowing doe harvest after the rut should not happen.

• Try to communicate road and bridge closings better to the public on public land.

• More walleye stocking in Lake Lanier.

• Would like primitive weapons and gun seasons to open one week later. Opens when weather is too hot.

• Reduce deer harvest on anterless deer to three.

• Need to develop a plan for qdm across the state, not just certain counties. We have great genetics here and would like to see potential met.

• Change deer season dates, open on Oct. 1, end on Jan. 31.

• Had a great time deer hunting, just wished the weather would cooperate a little better.

• Statewide, have there been more trophy (maybe book deer) harvested in the state since the inception of legalized supplemental feeding in Georgia?

• Enjoying GON.

• I wish we could got to statewide qdm regulations. Deer are getting better, a lot of does are being seen, but the bucks take a huge hit by killing the 1- and 2-year-old deer. I spend several thousand dollars every year trying to manage the deer and turkeys and it drives me nuts to see a meat hunter take small bucks and jake turkeys. I have a son, but I will teach him to manage the game and not just shoot whatever because you want to.

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