VOTES: Deer Season Rated By County

Hunters also vote on timing of buck-only days and season close.

Brad Gill | February 3, 2015

Through the GON cover ballot on the January issue, we once again gave sportsmen the opportunity to rate their deer seasons. In addition, readers also could answer three pertinent hunting-related questions. The survey results from those three questions are on pages 59, 60 and 62.

Over the last decade in GON’s Rate Your Season Survey, a majority of hunters have been dissatisfied with their deer seasons, citing things like high deer limits, too many doe days and problems with coyotes. This year’s VOTES results paint about the same picture.

Of the 1,183 ballots sent to GON, 54.5 percent of hunters reported “Fair” or “Poor” deer seasons. However, this season’s ratings are noticeably better than last year’s, when 59.8 percent reported Fair or Poor seasons. Are we headed toward a season when a majority of hunters will once again rate their seasons as “Excellent” or “Good?”

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.). Due to the overwhelming responses, we were only able to publish a fraction of the comments.

Appling Co. G-1, F-1

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

Bacon Co. G-1, F-1

Baldwin Co. E-1, G-5, F-1, P-4

Baker Co. G-1, P-1

Banks Co. E-1, G-2, F-2, P-6
Good: I had many opportunities to harvest a deer and saw a lot more this year while I was on stand.
Poor: Worse I have seen in 26 years. Coyotes.
Poor: Didn’t see any deer during gun season.

Barrow Co. G-1, P-1

Bartow Co. E-3, G-3, F-3, P-2
Excellent: Deer season was stellar. Saw a lot of deer, killed a yote and three deer. Freezer is full.
Good: Saw a big buck but could not get a shot.
Poor: I hunted Allatoona and Pine Log WMAs and did not see many deer and no hogs.

Ben Hill Co. G-1, F-2, P-1

Berrien Co. G-1
Good: I saw a lot more deer this season than in the last three seasons.

Bleckley Co. E-1, F-3

Brantley Co. F-1, P-1
Poor: With the out-of-state dog hunters and corn, local still hunters don’t have a chance.

Brooks Co. E-1, F-1, G-2
Good: I had great activity during the rut due to proper doe-to-buck ratio management over the last 10 years. I harvested a 4 1/2-year-old buck with my bow late November chasing a hot doe.

Bryan Co. F-1

Bulloch Co. E-3, G-3, P-2
Excellent: I have seen more deer this season than I have seen in the past 10 years.
Good: We were able to harvest enough deer to have meat in our freezer that will last us until next deer season.
Poor: We had no acorn crop.

Burke Co. E-10, G-2, F-3
Excellent: I rated my season excellent because of the good number of deer I saw this season compared to previous seasons. I believe this was due to the implementation of buck-only days during December; we need to save more does by permanently reducing the number of either-sex days.
Excellent: Bucked out!

Butts Co. G-1, F-1, P-1

Camden Co. P-1

Candler Co. E-1, F-3, P-1
Excellent: Our management plan is working very well on our club.
Fair: Deer feeding mostly at night.

Calhoun Co. E-1, G-1, F-1, P-1
Fair: We saw more deer this year than last, but we are still taking too many does. We need to lower the limit on doe deer.
Poor: Saw fewer deer this year.

Carroll Co. G-6, F-4, P-3
Good: I think an excellent season is one wall hanger and three does in the freezer. I didn’t get my wall hanger but put three in the freezer, which made it a good hunting season.
Fair: A lot less buck sign this year.
Poor: Saw three coyotes and only four deer.

Catoosa Co. P-1

Chattahoochee Co. F-2

Chattooga Co. E-2, G-3, F-1, P-6
Excellent: I sighted more deer overall than I have the prior five seasons. I also sighted more quality bucks than in the prior five seasons.
Fair: Coyotes getting most of our fawns.

Cherokee Co. E-3, G-4, F-2, P-1
Excellent: Saw increase in does and quality bucks.

Clarke Co. F-2

Clay Co. E-1, G-2, F-2
Excellent: Multiple sightings of does and bucks.
Fair: Unseasonably warm.

Clayton Co. G-1

Clinch Co. G-2, F-1

Cobb Co. G-1, P-1

Coffee Co. G-4
Good: Saw a lot of does during buck only and few bucks.

Columbia Co. G-2, F-1, P-2
Poor: Hogs! Coyotes!

Colquitt Co. F-3, P-1

Cook Co. E-2, F-1, P-1
Excellent: Bumper crop of acorns helped. Saw lots of yearlings.

Coweta Co. E-1, G-2, F-5
Excellent: 272 acres, 1,640 deer counted and 351 bucks. We hunt hayfields, pastures, food plots, powerlines. We do not hunt in the woods. We do not leave human scent on the property.
Fair: Coyote problems.

Crawford Co. E-1, G-7, F-6, P-7
Good: I saw six quality bucks on my property and was able to harvest two of them. However, I saw very few does.
Good: Rut was later this year—Nov. 12-22—probably because of the dry and warm weather.
Poor: It seems like the last five years the doe population has been on a decline. I would like to see the number of does that an individual can take reduced to around two or three.

Dade Co. E-1
Excellent: Killed four does with my bow and two bucks.

Dawson Co. G-1, F-1, P-3
Good: Deer herd building back up in our area.
Poor: I have hunted in Dawson County for about the past eight years. This year has by far been the worst ever. I hunted 14 times this year and saw two deer on the same hunt. I think hunters have taken too many deer. Also the yotes and the boom in the bear population is hurting the deer herd more than anyone is wanting to let on about.

Decatur Co. G-1, F-1

DeKalb Co. G-2
Good: Any time I see or kill deer it’s a good season.

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

Dooly Co. E-5, F-1

Dougherty Co. F-1
Fair: The last two seasons have been poor to fair. We have seen far fewer deer both years but saw very few does and doe groups last year and saw a more normal mixture of genders this year. We harvested more deer this year than last, but it was hard going.

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

Early Co. E-2, G-1
Excellent: I saw plenty of deer and killed two nice bucks.

Echols Co. E-1, P-1
Poor: We were flooded all year, plus outlaws all over the place. We had four cameras stolen and one ladder stand.

Effingham Co. E-3, G-1, F-3, P-2
Excellent: Plenty of deer.
Fair: Both my sons killed their first deer this year. We got a little more rain at one time than we could use on our lease.
Poor: I feel that the rising coyote population is partly to blame for the declining deer population.

Elbert Co. E-1, G-8, F-5, P-3
Good: Saw more does, fawns, bucks. Took one 10-pointer.
Fair: The land is so poor that food plots do not do very well, and most clubs don’t even bother to try and plant, at least not around our club.

Emanuel Co. G-2, F-1, P-3
Poor: Coyotes.

Evans Co. G-1, F-1
Good: Finally made a whole season without trespassers.

Fannin Co. G-2, F-2, P-2
Good: Filled freezer with deer meat. Have 11 grandkids. All love deer meat and jerky.
Poor: Too many doe days and too high a bag limit.
Poor: Lack of forest management.

Fayette Co. E-1, G-1, P-2
Poor: Rut seems off. Very few bucks chasing does. Late November and December deer went nocturnal. Not sure if it was the weather. Saw more deer in summer than in fall.

Floyd Co. E-2, G-4, F-4, P-1
Excellent: I rated this season as excellent because I finally got my first deer on a hunt, and I’m 57 years old. My only regret is my dad wasn’t able to share the experience with me.
Good: Floyd County has a very good deer population, which makes it a good place for my grandchildren to see deer.
Fair: There are not half the deer in Floyd County there were in 1990s except at Berry College. The coyotes get many deer, and it’s getting worse.

Forsyth Co. G-1
Good: Several small bucks were taken, and deer were seen throughout the season. No trophy bucks seen or taken, but the freezer is filled.

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

Franklin Co. G-4, F-4, P-1
Good: Bow season I saw lots of deer but no bucks. Gun season didn’t see many deer movement, but game-camera photos showed deer moving at night a lot during firearms. Ended up with four deer, and three were with crossbow.

Gilmer Co. G-1, F-3, P-3
Good: Had a bumper acorn crop this year, which helped. Due to not much crop land in the mountains, we still need to be able to hunt over supplemental feed.

Glascock Co. F-1

Glynn Co. F-1, P-1
Poor: I recently took a trip to north Georgia. I saw more dead deer on the side of I-20 and I-75 than I have seen alive in the woods in Glynn County all season, bow and gun.

Gordon Co. E-2, G-2 F-2, P-4
Good: Plenty of food in the woods, saw a lot of deer, strong rut.
Poor: Too many coyotes.
Poor: Saw five does and one buck entire season.

Greene Co. E-3, G-8, F-10, P-10
Good: Even though I was able to kill the biggest buck of my life in Georgia this year, I really think the deer population is at an all-time low because I don’t see half as many deer as I used to. I will say that the quality of bucks killed in Georgia has truly gotten better with better deer management.
Fair: Antlers restrictions four on one side or better for Greene County please!
Poor: My son and I saw less than 10 deer off of the stand all season.

Gwinnett Co. G-1, F-1

Habersham Co. F-2
Fair: I killed a 1-point and two predators, the least deer I’ve killed in 35 years.

Hall Co. E-2, G-2, F-4, P-5
Fair: Deer hunting is slowly getting better in Hall County, but it still needs improvements. If we could just take what Kentucky does with a one-buck limit and buy doe tags, it would really help. Shorten our gun season to around 16 days, bow the rest of time with a primitive weapons around Christmas. Close the season Jan. 20 or so, and make baiting legal statewide.

Hancock Co. E-5, G-11, F-8, P-10
Excellent: In my 50 yeas of hunting I have never seen a rut to match this year.
Fair: Don’t know why but hunted a lot more days and saw a lot less bucks.
Poor: Did not see one doe.

Haralson Co. E-1, F-5, P-5
Fair: I have hunted same tract for seven years and have seen a major decline in the deer.
Poor: Saw two deer. Yotes, we think.

Harris Co. E-3, G-4, F-3, P-3
Excellent: Saw lots of deer and harvested a 9-pointer and an 8-pointer.
Good: Buck-only dates would mess up the hunting in Harris because we have an over population of does in this county.

Hart Co. F-1, P-1

Heard Co. G-7, F-6, P-11
Fair: Too many coyotes.
Poor: We need a drastic reduction in doe days. Also would love to see the late doe days eliminated. Those deer are already bred. Losing them is something we can’t afford here. Heard County was once a mecca in Georgia deer hunting, and now we have fallen almost off the map.

Henry Co. E-1, G-5, F-2, P-1
Excellent: I killed both bucks first and second weekends of November.

Houston Co. G-1, P-1

Irwin Co. G-2, F-2, P-1
Poor: I saw a lot more deer before baiting was legalized. It has made them nocturnal.

Jackson Co. E-4, G-6, F-4, P-4
Good: I think the deer in Jackson County are out of control. I think that if every hunter shot every deer they saw, they would never kill them all. It was a lot more fun back in the 70s. You might hunt for a week without seeing a deer. When you killed one, you had done something.
Poor: I saw very few deer this year. No rutting signs, no scrapes, no bucks chasing does.

Jasper Co. E-2, G-10, F-9, P-8
Good: Too many coyotes killing fawns, rabbits, quail.
Fair: I believe the coyotes eat more deer than the hunters kill.

Jeff Davis Co. G-1

Jefferson Co. G-4, F-1, P-2
Good: I passed on seven different bucks, and I did take two does. I saw a lot more does and fawns than in the past few years.

Jenkins Co. G1, F-3, P-1

Johnson Co. G-2, P-1
Poor: Less deer than in past years.

Jones Co. G-8, F-8, P-3
Good: Nine good bucks and just four does shot on our 1,200-acre lease this past year. Saw fewer does and smaller bucks than in past years.
Good: I saw seven does all season. With the predators we have, we need to protect more does for better fawn recruitment.
Fair: Saw and heard a lot more coyotes this year.

Lamar Co. E-1, G-2, F-4, P-2
Fair: I killed one 5-point, and my friend missed four deer.

Laurens Co. E-1, G-2, F-4, P-2
Poor: I have 71 acres of land, and only three deer were killed.

Lee Co. E-1, F-2

Liberty Co. G-1, P-1

Lincoln Co. E-2, G-3, F-1, P-1
Excellent: Harvested two nice 9-pointers this year.

Lowndes Co. G-2, F-2, P-1
Fair: Fewest deer ever seen. I was one of the lucky ones with two good bucks and a nice doe.
Poor: I hunted in two clubs on different ends of the county and saw very few deer.

Lumpkin Co. G-2, F-1
Good: I did see 17 deer off of the stand, which is really good for us. I didn’t take any because the does were small, and I saw three bucks, the largest of which was a small 8-pointer. Our food plots did well, and we hope to see some larger deer. As a club, we did take a couple of good bucks and several does weighing up to 120 pounds.

Macon Co. E-3, G-3, F-2, P-3
Good: My rating was based solely on the amount of quality bucks that I saw this year. This was the first year that I did not see several quality bucks in about 20 years. The deer herd on my property looked the healthiest it has in many years.

Madison Co. E-2, G-4, F-3, P-2
Good: Too many doe days, still not seeing many does.

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

McDuffie Co. F-5, P-1
Fair: Saw as many coyote tracks as I did deer tracks.
Fair: Rated season as only fair again this year due to even less deer sightings and only six kills on 2,300 acres quality managed. Two bucks and four anterless.

Meriwether Co. E-3, G-9, F-6, P-6
Excellent: I did see the biggest buck ever in my 45 years of hunting and my only case of buck fever kept me from taking him.
Good: I saw more antlered deer on the property this year than ever before and many really decent racks. I did not see as many does this year as in previous years, and when December rolled around, all deer became hard to locate.
Poor: Deer didn’t move.

Miller Co. G-1
Good: I’m 78 years old and killed two nice bucks.

Mitchell Co. E-1, G-4, F-1
Fair: I think Mitchell County should get a management plan like some other counties north have done.

Monroe Co. E-1, G-8, F-8, P-2
Good: Saw 15 different bucks and 20 mature does. No kills, let walk to build herd back up.

Montgomery Co. E-1, G-2, P-2
Poor: Very few 140-plus bucks being killed since we became a QDM county.

Morgan Co. E-3, G-11, F-3, P-3
Good: Did not kill buck but saw several nice ones in 110- to 120-inch range.
Poor: Saw very few deer on the 200 acres we hunt. This has been the worst deer season ever.

Murray Co. G-1, F-1, P-4
Good: I saw a lot of deer this year. Three years ago it seemed we had more yotes than deer. We were able to trap 12, and the results were incredible. I went from seeing no fawns with does that year to almost every doe during bow season and gun season this year had a fawn, many with two. I won’t shoot does with fawns, at least up until Thanksgiving. I believe if you do, you leave the young deer defenseless and more prone to predators.

Newton Co. E-1, G-4, F-7, P-5
Poor: Worst year in 12 years. We had 11 hogs killed and should have killed more. The coyotes and hogs are taking over.

Oconee Co. E-1, G-4, F-2
Good: We had deer movement throughout the entire season. The deer we saw were both bucks and does. On our property we didn’t see huge bucks but some with potential to be good bucks in the future.

Oglethorpe Co. E-2, G-12, F-13, P-6
Excellent: We had a lot of deer this year because we invested in food plots which we had not done for about 5 years. We pretty much saw deer every time we went into the stands this year, and we all hated to see the deer season end.
Fair: I think taking some doe days away has helped and will continue to help.
Poor: There are so many coyotes, and shooting them appears to make only a small difference. They reproduce very fast and range over very large distances.

Paulding Co. E-1, F-4, P-5
Fair: Deer population definitely seems to be down. Sign was low and sightings even less. If it had not been for game cameras, I would think there aren’t any deer left.
Poor: Since the liberalization of either-sex days, the deer herd in Paulding County has been decimated. I’ve seen more coyotes than deer.

Pickens Co. F-2, P-3
Poor: Another poor season, and I continue to attribute it to poachers and predators. I also suspect the deer are fleeing to resort communities of Bent Tree and Big Canoe once they know they are being hunted.

Pierce Co. G-1, P-2
Poor: This is the worst deer season I have ever had. I’ve seen three deer from the stand this year and killed none. Too many coyotes, too many stray dogs.

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

Polk Co. F-5, G-4, P-5
Fair: I did have a total of 77 deer sightings in 72 days of hunting. Of theses sightings, only six were bucks.
Poor: Deer population down.

Pulaski Co. E-1, G-1, F-2, P-2
Fair: Saw fair number of young bucks.
Poor: Just absolutely the worst in more than 30 years. The liberal limits on does and the buck-only break are working against hunters in more ways than one. Other impacts on the deer herd are coyotes. I’ve killed dozens chasing deer of all sizes. Bears should be allowed to be taken.

Putnam Co. E-5, G-8, F-11, P-3
Excellent: Lot of deer killed at hunting club.
Fair: People all around us have murdered timber, and with us hunting on farm land, there’s not many hiding places for the deer. I will never rate poor because there’s nothing better than sitting in the woods with family and friends.
Poor: Coyotes need to be controlled.

Quitman Co. E-1, G-1, P-1
Good: We saw plenty of game all season long.

Rabun Co. G-1

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

Richmond Co. G-2, P-2
Good: Plenty of bucks and does.
Poor: I didn’t see any mature bucks this season.

Rockdale Co. G-1, F-1
Good: Buck only in December has really helped deer numbers. The does that are bred are still around to have fawns in the spring. If does are still allowed to be shot after Christmas, shoot the small ones. They’re not as likely to be carrying next year’s deer.

Schley Co. E-1, G-5, F-2, P-1
Excellent: Quality of bucks.
Good: Was able to harvest two does and get in the woods. Happy with that!
Poor: Coyotes and hunting pressure.

Screven Co. E-1, G-4, F-2, P-2
Good: My season was good because I got two deer in one morning on Nov. 14. However, I did not see as many deer this year.

Spalding Co. E-1, G-4, F-1, P-2
Good: Got two deer in eight days of hunting.
Poor: Only saw three deer.

Stephens Co. F-3

Stewart Co. E-2, G-1, F-3, P-1
Excellent: I saw 10 to 20 deer each hunt.
Poor: I saw very few deer this year. The deer lease next to us also had a very poor season. I think the doe limit is too high.

Sumter Co. G-4, F-1, P-1
Poor: Weather on main weekends to hunt was poor.

Talbot Co. E-1, G-5, F-4, P-8
Good: Killed two does with my bow. Missed two pretty nice bucks. Passed a few really nice bucks early that I may should have shot. Overall I saw the most bucks I have ever seen in a season.
Poor: Do not see deer anymore.

Taliaferro Co. E-2, G-3, F-4, P-4
Good: The only reason I put good was because I shot a real nice 10-point. Our season was truly a fair season, with deer sightings way down.
Fair: Too many coyotes.
Poor: Saw two does.

Tattnall Co. E-1, P-1
Excellent: Filled freezer with meat and did harvest a mature 9-pointer.

Taylor Co. E-1, G-2, F-3, P-1
Good: We saw lots of deer. We do our own trophy management and don’t kill all the does.
Poor: Least deer seen since 1975,

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

Terrell Co. E-1, G-3

Thomas Co. G-1

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

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

Towns Co. F-2

Troup Co. E-1, G-3, F-6, P-2
Excellent: Saw many deer every time I went and took a couple of nice bucks and several does.
Poor: Landowner who backs up to me has food plots and feeders. I can’t compete with that.

Turner Co. G-4, F-1
Good: High number of deer sightings and harvested two does and a nice 9-pointer. A 150-plus-class buck killed on the property on opening weekend by a good friend (out of my stand no less, and yes I still call him a friend). This is our second year since the introduction of wild hogs on the property, and based on trail cameras and personal observations I haven’t seen any negative effect on the deer population to date and might add I have a nice supply of pork in the freezer as well.

Twiggs Co. G-1, F-8, P-1
Fair: Did not see any shooter bucks.
Poor: I only saw five deer.

Union Co. G-2, F-3, P-1
Fair: Too long of a hunting season. Have a two-week hunt from the week before Thanksgiving through the end of Nov. Then have a bonus hunt week after Christmas. This would help get our population of deer back in mountains.

Upson Co. G-12, F-9, P-5
Good: Took two plump does.
Fair: Saw quite a few bucks but didn’t shoot because club follows QDM rules.
Fair: I attribute this to a number of reasons, including the influx of coyotes, high allowance of does that can be taken, a grossly understaffed force of DNR/wardens and a lack of any meaningful oversight on bag limits.
Poor: Been hunting since 1969, and this past season was probably my most disappointing season. I saw deer first three weeks of gun season but very few after that.

Walker Co. E-2, G-2, F-3, P-6
Good: Killed nice buck on Crockford Pigeon.
Poor: This was the absolute worst deer hunting season I have ever experienced in 19 years of hunting. I’ve gone several years without taking a deer, but I’ve always seen deer in the woods when hunting. This year I saw nothing.

Walton Co. E-2, G-9, F-2, P-2

Ware Co. G-1, F-1, P-2
Poor: Deer population is way too low. Close season for a full year, and then shorten the season.

Warren Co. E-1, G-3, F-3, P-4
Good: I saw a lot of does with fawns, so I think we have the coyote population under control.

Washington Co. E-3, G-6, F-1, P-5
Excellent: I believe this is just one benefit to predator control.
Poor: Northwest Washington County has a huge coyote problem. When you can hear them in several directions on a frequent basis, you don’t need much more proof. The decline in the deer herd supports the problem. We seldom see a doe with two fawns and see most bigger does without any fawns.

Wayne Co. F-2, P-3

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

Wheeler Co. E-2, G-1, F-1
Fair: Deer numbers were down.

White Co. G-1

Whitfield Co. G-1

Wilcox Co. F-5, P-2
Fair: Please make Wilcox County a trophy-management county.
Poor: After hunting more than 110 hours, having properties totaling more than 3,500 acres and seeing only a few does and one spike, it was the worst in deer sightings in seasons for me.

Wilkes Co. E-3, G-6, F-6, P-5
Fair: Too many yotes.
Poor: We had a poor season because the deer population is so low. The coyotes are so thick all the game has been cleaned out. I have a 13-year-old boy, and he loses interest because we never see anything anymore.

Wilkinson Co. E-1, G-6, F-4, P-3
Good: I saw more deer than in years past.
Fair: Saw fewer deer than ever but saw a few quality bucks.
Poor: I have been surprised by the lack of mature deer I have seen this year.

Worth Co. E-1, G-4, F-3, P-2
Good: Took three does early in season for meat and watched numerous bucks throughout the year but nothing I wanted for the wall.
Poor: In my 17 years in our club, this by, far, has been our worst season.

Misc. VOTES Comments

Sportsmen are a passionate bunch! We enjoy getting miscellaneous comments about Georgia hunting. Here a few that folks sent in along with their cover ballot.

• I would like to see elk in north Georgia.

• I don’t think it’s fair to be able to hunt over bait in south Georgia but not north Georgia.

• I think there should only be two weeks of gun season and a one-buck-and-one-doe limit. Look at Kentucky and their record bucks.

• Coyotes are a major part of the declining in deer population, but honestly it’s the massive bag limit.

• I would support a DMAP program. It sounds good to me.

• Corn law should be legal statewide.

• Would like to see golf buggies allowed on WMAs.

• I would be for not shooting any does one year.

• The deer-harvest limits need to be reduced to one buck and one doe until the deer-herd numbers get back to more than 1 million animals.

• I attended the meeting in Rockmart, and there were 145 guests there. Quite a few great ideas.

• Have state install year-round bounty on coyotes.

• The idea that hunters need a bounty to shoot coyote is crazy! Any true hunter can see if they have a problem, they’ll act to address it without a bounty.

• I’d love to see a spring bear season.

• A lot of people only get to hunt weekends, so let’s make deer season Friday, Saturday and Sunday from August to December.

• I am an avid deer and rabbit hunter and would like to see deer season end Nov. 30.

• I would love to see QDM across the state.

Majority of VOTES Respondents Prefer Jan. 15 Deer Closer

A single statewide deer-season closer has undoubtedly been the most emotional issue in the Georgia hunting arena over the last three or four weeks.

WRD has survey results that show a majority of hunters prefer a single statewide deer-season closer, and they used last month’s public meetings to gather hunter input on when that closing date should be. That’s why GON asked the question on its cover ballot.

The majority of the 1,137 VOTES respondents (52.6 percent) said they preferred a Jan. 15 deer closer.

Northern Zone opponents against making a deer-season closer later than Jan. 1 argue that WRD’s surveys aren’t getting a true representation of how Northern Zone hunters feel about extending the deer season past Jan. 1. They say the since WRD hasn’t done a separate survey of just Northern Zone hunters, an accurate assessment of how these hunters feel about a deer-season closer after Jan. 1 hasn’t truly been collected.

They also argue that most Southern Zone hunters when asked about a single deer-season closing date would very likely chose Jan. 15 as their choice, since it’s been that way for years. And in fairness to the Northern Zone hunters against a deer-season extension in the north, GON didn’t break-out its VOTES results by zone either.

But there is another side of this issue that is of equal importance. There are counties in southwest Georgia that experience a late rut. They argue that a single statewide deer-season closing date earlier than Jan. 15 means they will miss some good rut hunting. These hunters have a very valid argument, too.

And some hunters simply want as much opportunity as they can get to kill a deer. Adding one or two more weekends would help them.

Below are the comments on this emotional issue.

• Deer season is too long. Us rabbit hunters have to wait until season is over to be able to hunt.

• Ending the season on New Year’s Day is crazy. At least extend through the weekend.

• Much of December is lost to holiday gatherings and Christmas shopping. I prefer to close deer season the second Sunday in January.

• Late rut in south Georgia. We need until Jan. 15 minimum.

• Jan. 1. Losing two weeks at the end of the season really shouldn’t impact anyone adversely. The weather is usually not suitable at this time of the year, and deer movement is way down.

• The Jan. 1 closing date is good. Our current season is plenty long enough.

• I think the first Sunday in January makes the most sense. We always begin the season on a weekend, so why not end it the same way? It would also be a nice compromise between the two zones.

• The closing date should be Jan. 15 to give hunters more opportunities. A lot of guys only hunt weekends and are out of town on Christmas and New Years.

• If you ain’t killed a deer by Dec. 1, you’re in trouble anyway.

• I would really like to see the overall season changed so it would start on the first day of November and end the last day of January.


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