How many white-tailed deer should we have in Georgia? The answer varies depending on whom you ask. Management of Georgia’s white-tailed deer herd can be a challenging and, at times, controversial topic.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD), the white-tailed deer is Georgia’s most popular game species. Currently, management of regional and statewide deer populations occurs through hunting (81 percent of all hunters pursue this game species) as facilitated and constrained by laws, regulations and hunter access. However, there are a number of key issues and opportunities directly linked to this resource besides hunting; including wildlife viewing, ecological functions, agricultural damage, and deer-car collisions.
WRD’s successful management efforts are informed through biological data, public input and management objectives identified in the agency’s statewide deer management plan, developed through an intensive public participation process. WRD is seeking to continue integrating public involvement by developing the next iteration of Georgia’s 10-year Deer Management Plan.
Toward that goal, WRD is requesting your participation in 10 statewide, highly interactive, open house-style public meetings, scheduled throughout early November. These meetings are one opportunity to allow members of the public to provide input regarding management of white-tailed deer.
During these meetings, citizens will be able to provide thoughtful insight on specific key issues. Some of these issues include: deer population densities; deer-vehicle collisions; urban deer management; seasons and bag limits; hunting methods; hunter access; and education and outreach. Biologists and others will be available to answer questions about the key issues and provide background information if needed.
The public should feel free to come at any time during the open house meetings. The open house schedule is as follows:
Dalton Convention Center
Ga National Fairgrounds
The Newnan Carnegie
Greene County Library
Cobb Co. Parks and Recreation
Dixon Memorial Forest-Herty Building
Gainesville Civic Center
Georgia Southern University
Henry Co. SPLOST Building
For those unable to attend the public meetings, comments will be accepted until Nov. 22, 2013. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/Hunting/Meetings. Written comments may be sent to: WRD Game Management, Attn: Charlie Killmaster, 2065 U.S. Hwy. 278 SE, Social Circle, GA 30025.
For more information on the Georgia Deer Management Plan or to view the key issues, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/Hunting/Meetings or call 770-918-6416.