No Baiting For Northern Zone Deer Hunters

Key north Georgia representatives kill numerous efforts during final day of legislative session.

Daryl Kirby | March 30, 2018

UPDATE: Gov. Deal signs executive order directing DNR to address “inequity” in zones that regulate distance from feed for Georgia deer hunters.  

No baiting for Northern Zone deer hunters.

Several proposed laws that included language that would have legalized hunting deer near feeders with no distance restriction for Northern Zone hunters failed, with significant political wrangling from both sides during the final hours of the 2018 Georgia legislative session.

GON is still working on details on how things went down and who the key players were, and those details will be included in the May issue of the magazine. The House of Representatives was never allowed to vote on the issue. The state Senate approved the measure by a wide margin. To see where your state representative stood on the issue, find his or her contact information here.

There will be no hunting within 200 yards or within sight of feed for Northern Zone deer hunters this fall.

Bottom line — next year Northern Zone deer hunters could still receive a fine and game violation if found within 200 yards or within sight of placed feed, while Southern Zone hunters have no distance restriction.

Several law changes that could benefit sportsmen did pass, including a new mentor provision and the Georgia Stewardship Act, which will create a permanent source of funding for land acquisition. The Georgia Stewardship Act still faces a major hurdle — it must be approved by voters in a statewide ballot initiative during the November elections.

An extensive recap of the 2018 legislative session will be upcoming.

Please share your comments below. Ultimately, your state senator and state representative decide these issues, so they need to hear your opinion directly.


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  1. Corey on April 7, 2018 at 11:24 am

    @daryl- thanks for the article in April’s GON. Really had fingers crossed on the northern baiting law. As a small tract
    hunter we have seen great growth in size and health of our population. We use feed stations to get great pics of deer and see annual growth and remove them every year prior to bow season. Because the tracks are narrow river bottoms, it’s impossible to be a full 200 yds from the food on most of these properties. This also affects small tract bow hunters, not just lazy hunters ?

  2. JoshuaDGresham1 on April 2, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Guess I’ll just keep paying those fines…

  3. 375HandH on April 2, 2018 at 6:50 am

    I just don’t get why everyone wants to bait. I wish the southern zone would abolish it and make the whole state against it. I have read several articles saying that it doesn’t affect deer populations much at all, but rather turns deer nocturnal around the baiting sites. It just seems like lazy hunters wanting to take the easy way out. I think you should have to earn your kill and I personally would never feel comfortable shooting a deer coming directly to a corn pile. Even if the law passed in the northern zone, I wouldn’t pour out a bag of corn and set up on it.

  4. subligna slim on April 1, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    I’m now 66 and have deer hunted my whole adult life. A lifetime of wear and tear and some health issues has limited my mobility, especially the past few years. The property I hunt has an excellent (for northwest ga.) deer herd with a few decent bucks. There is a mountain there full of mature hardwood ridges that are great hunting but hard for me to get to. Being able to put out a few apples to draw a good shooter or fat doe down where the access is easier would make my life easier and my health better. I know this is a selfish and personal reason to want baiting in the northern half of the state but I also feel I’m not allowed the same rights that the southern guys do either. If you live in north ga. and don’t want to bait, then don’t. But don’t oppose my right to…

  5. MwMorehead on March 31, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Economics Drives the Politicians Vote

    The Farmer was the loser yesterday when the will of the people was left unheard. S.B. 450 was a solid Bill and should have been called up for a vote.

    The honorable members who sponsored and supported this bill are to be commended for supporting a worthy cause in my estimation. We as sportsmen and concerned citizens should look for additional ways that will lend more weight to bear on the legislative body in getting a bill of this nature entitled into an act.

    The farmer, and in gaining the farmers support by the advent of supplemental feeding might be the catalyst that gets one of these bills past the hump. The North GA farmer has been denied to this point a viable cash crop by the continued obstructionism of the opposition to supplemental feeding. This need to be publicized to death and the pundit should be at the forefront.

    One just needs to drive the country roads in the fall months to see all the ‘feed for sale’ signs listed in front of nearly every farm in South Georgia. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and so it should be in this case. Our farmers are a cherished resource who is always one disaster away from ruination and by providing them with a ‘painless additional’ economic resource with the advent of supplemental feeding should have been a ‘no-brainer.’
    We need to promote the economic benefits and move in that direction next time around.

    My 02c

  6. MwMorehead on March 31, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Economics drives votes.

    I think the GA farmers are the ones suffering from inaction by the House this year. Maybe we should have lobbied harder in bringing about economic awareness of how supplemental feeding benefits the always struggling farming community by providing a viable ‘additional cash crop’ to our Northern zone farmers as it does in the Southern zone.

    Our Southern zone farmers are in the loop and directly benefit from supplemental feeding. One just needs to drive the many country roads in our Southern zone and see first hand all the farms with ‘feed for sale’ posted everywhere right from the farmer’s corncribs and silos.

    I applaud or Senators and Representatives who took up this cause up and diligently urged that it be pushed ahead considered for a vote, but it’s our civic duty (in part) to lend aid and support ‘when and where’ they need it. I believe in by gaining a large support from our farming community and possibly other responsible groups the proper attention can be brought to bear in moving the legislation into the reality of law and the benefit of all.

    I’m grateful that some of our Georgia Farmers can earn some extra revenue in the fall season and would like to see benefit extended to those who till the earth in our Northern sector as well.

    This all brings about another viable question why do we have two zones in the first place in 2018 is this something akin to daylight savings time and about as meaningful? Possibly the correct angle is to just erase this concocted imaginary zones?

    My 02c

  7. Adam on March 31, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Easy money for DNR. Find a foot track, find a bait pile and write a ticket. It’s not going to stop people from baiting in the Northern Zone. Never has, never will. Not sure why the State has to be split into zones. Makes no sense what so ever. How can a creek or county line make a difference. I hunt the Northern zone, my brother hunts Southern. His club don’t kill no more than we do and they have feed stations tossing grub year around. Feed is not the cause of CWD. I’ve seen deer go nose to nose, eat in the same spots, acorns, etc. Not right that a bunch of none hunters make up rules for the people that spend countless of dollars on hunting these road goats. Whatever!

    • Daryl on April 2, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Great comments, but just want to clarify that in Georgia our DNR doesn’t receive any money from fines, it all goes to the county where the ticket was written. DNR as an agency was neutral this legislation session on the Northern Zone baiting issue.

  8. deancarter on March 30, 2018 at 11:22 am

    It’s a shame that GON can do a survey and results show overwhelming support for northern baiting, then run an article on CWD the week before voting. Wake up, if you want change, ditch your GON subscriptiion, they are against you

    • maco_outdoors on March 30, 2018 at 11:53 am

      Seems more than obvious if GON was “against you” they wouldn’t have published a survey showing 84 percent of hunters favored it!!! Running article on CWD doesn’t make them against you. Maybe the Missisippi buck was against you. Or maybe it just got CWD.

  9. Chris on March 30, 2018 at 10:56 am

    What a bunch of BS. We pay the same price for our license in the northern zone but unfortunately we can’t hunt around a feeder like they can in the southern zone. Just because you have a feeder doesn’t mean you are going to kill a big buck or tons of deer. Sad that as far as I know Ga is the only state who has this kind of split bait law

  10. hacksaw12 on March 30, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I guess it’s no big surprise. The GON survey showed hunters were overwhelmingly in favor of the change to the northern zone.

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