Deer hunting season to open Oct. 14


MACON, Ga. -- Deer hunting season is upon us, and officials are reminding hunters to be safe when taking part in the popular sport.

Bow hunting opened up on Sept. 9, but the time to hunt with firearms begins on Oct. 14 with primitive weapons season. Regular firearm hunting season begins on Oct. 21. Deer hunting season continues through Jan. 14.

Theron Menken, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said safety is a primary concern, especially if you are going out for the first time this season or ever.

Before you head out, Menken said you should check all of your equipment, including tree stands. He also highly recommends following manufacturer recommendations for your weapon, particularly for primitive weapons that use black gun powder.

Hamp Dowling, the owner of Eagle Gun Range in Macon, said that it can fun to hunt with these primitive weapons but that it takes extra work fire these weapons safely because you have to load them a certain way with pouring black powder down the barrel.

Dowling said it is important to remember that black powder is incredible explosive, so you should take extra precautions when using it, such as refraining from smoking around it and your weapon. Additionally, he said you should always follow manufacturer recommendations to make sure that you aren't using too much black powder.

Menken said that this year there are some changes to the way hunters can check in their game. In addition to the traditional way of checking in via the DNR website, in person or by telephone, he said there is now an app to make the process easier.

He said you can enter your county, date and type of animal into the app, whether you have WiFi or not, and the information will be sent to the proper office. That app is called "Outdoors GA."

Additionally, he said it is important to remember that if you take your game to a processor, you need to have a processing number from DNR before you go.

Those that process the game themselves will still need to check their game in with DNR within 72 hours.

Finally, Menken said all hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of hunter blaze orange that is visible at all times and should check the county that they are hunting in to see what type of deer is acceptable to hunt for that day.

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