Rate Your Deer Season & VOTES Survey

Plus, questions on baiting and out-of-state hunting.

Brad Gill | December 30, 2023

Ben Baty, of Carnesville, with a elk he killed while traveling to hunt in Wyoming last month. He told GON that he’s actually hunted more out of state this year than in Georgia.

VOTES, which stands for Voice Of The Educated Sportsman, is a GON survey that has been around for more than two decades. A question on the survey each and every year is Rate Your Deer Season, which gives us county-specific ratings that can be compared to historical trends. We’d like to hear how your deer hunting was this season, and we’d like to hear why you gave it that rating. We also want to hear your comments and opinions on how you feel the hunting could be improved.

In addition to the annual Rate Your Season survey, we also ask other survey questions. Here are this year’s additional questions to the Rate Your Deer Season survey:

Question No. 2: Have you hunted out of state in the last three years? This question evolved from a chat with WRD Game Management recently. Their focus, thankfully, remains on CWD coming into the state. They know how many non-resident hunters purchase Georgia licenses, but there’s really no way of them knowing how many Georgians cross the state line and go hunting in other states—which means they could be bringing animals back with them. Some of those hunters are visiting CWD states and must follow proper protocol of bringing animals back home.

As we chatted a little more, several of us got curious about what Georgians do with their hunting vacation days. Are you staying at home or have you hunted out of state in the last three years? Heck, if a surprisingly large percentage of Georgians travel to hunt—something we really don’t have a clue about—it could merit a travel piece every now and then in GON.

Question No. 3: What species did you hunt out of state? (Check all that apply): It’s not just the ever-popular whitetail and elk that has hunters traveling. Believe it or not, I’ve crossed state lines to hunt rabbits more than any other species. I know folks who go to Texas and South Dakota every year to chase longbeards. This is just another curiosity question to see what our GON Community likes to hunt outside of Georgia.

Question No. 4: Since the legalization of hunting deer over feed in Georgia, has the quality of your deer hunting improved, declined, no change, don’t hunt/no opinion?

The long-time debate about hunting deer over feed is pretty much over. Baiting became legal statewide for the 2018-19 season. With a few seasons under the belt, we are curious if the legalization of feed has changed the quality of your deer hunting. We feel this question is applicable to all hunters, even those who choose not to hunt over feed.

How Do I Vote?

There are three ways to get your VOTES responses to GON by the Jan. 19 deadline.

GON subscribers who we have email addresses for have already received an online VOTES ballot through a service called Survey Monkey. The emailed survey will also include a way to write and submit comments digitally. The email survey is super convenient for GON subscribers. If you received an email and did your VOTES survey there, we have your results—there’s no need to use your cover ballot or do anything else.

• You can still fill out, cut out and mail your cover ballot to GON VOTES, PO Box 1379, Madison, GA 30650. A mailed photocopy of your filled-out cover ballot will be accepted, too.

• If you don’t want to rely on the mailman to send us your survey, you can take a photo with your phone and email the picture of your ballot to [email protected]. Simply include your comments in the email along with the attached picture of your cover ballot. Send to [email protected]. In the subject of the email, please type “Rate Your Season.”

I Just Want To Rate My Deer Season

If you only want to respond to Rate Your Deer Season and not answer the other ballot questions, you can send an email to [email protected]. Simply list your rating (excellent, good, fair or poor), the primary county you hunted, and write your comments on why you rated it that way. In the subject of the email, please type “Rate Your Season.”

Again, the deadline for GON to get your VOTES survey responses is Friday,  Jan. 19.

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  1. Terry Sears on December 31, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    Hello Mr. Brad Gill,
    I hope you and the family are doing well. It has been quite a while since we talked. GON was doing video’s on a black powder hunts and I had Jay Guthrie up the tree filming me when I burned powder at Tuckahoe WMA years ago on a deer/hog hunt. I wanted to complete the “Rate Your Deer Season”, but have not received anything in my email and as of Dec 31 2023 as I am reading Jan. 2024 issue just received FYI. I am a subscriber through 2025. Merry Christmas to you & the family🎄🦌

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