Sportsmen Turn Out In Droves To Support Deer Hunts at 12,000-Acre FDR State Park

GON Staff | February 4, 2008

(Seated, from left) Chuck Gregory (Parks), Charlie Killmaster (WRD) and John Bowers (WRD) take comments from a Pine Mountain Trail Association member opposed to “management” deer hunts on FDR State Park.

The long war over hunting on state parks had its first real battle in 1989 in Harris County over proposed hunts on FDR State Park.

It is likely true that the last battle in this war was held recently, again regarding hunting on the huge park.

In 1989 after numerous deer/auto accidents including one that sent a Harris County probate court judge to the hospital, WRD proposed a management hunt on the park to control the out-of-control deer herd on the park.

The Pine Mountain Trail Association — developers and care-takers of an excellent recreational trail system on the park — strenuously objected, the probate court judge decried any hunts on her behalf and the Harris County Commissioners passed a resolution objecting to any hunts on the park.

Those tactics worked; the park has not been hunted since at least 1975.

Georgia State Parks has under-gone a reformation itself over the past 20 years. Under the leadership of Director Becky Kelly, Parks has moved from a desired policy of deer sterilization to an understanding of the good that can be accomplished on a park with a controlled deer herd.

This has not been an easy path for Parks, but it has been one they have trod in a consistent, measured manner.

Now, Parks is tackling the area that most needs hunting and the area where the strongest objection is likely to occur.

More than 180 people attended the public hearing Thursday night, Jan. 17 and most made comments to state officials conducting the hearing.

The largest majority of those objecting to the plan to conduct limited management deer hunts were members of the Pine Mountain Trail Association.

But those people were in the minority of the attendees and those who made comments to the panel.

Sportsmen out-numbered those opposing the hunt.

The results of the hearing will be summarized and a recommendation presented to the Board of Natural Resources. If recent pattern is a guide, managed quota hunts will likely be held at FDR State Park in the late fall of 2008 or early winter of 2009.

If approved, the hunting fee would be $30.

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