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Gun Docc
01-13-2003, 05:58 PM
Georgia asks hunters for help

Web posted Sunday, January 12, 2003 10:02 p.m. EST

Associated Press


MACON, Ga. - State wildlife officials are looking for more than a few good hunters to curb the deer population.
About 1.2 million deer roam Georgia forests, 200,000 more than the ideal number, said Ken Grahl, a regional supervisor of game management for the Department of Natural Resources.

Scott McDonald, a wildlife biologist for the department's Fort Valley office, said hunters are the main tool for wildlife management.

"The consequences, if you let the deer population get out of hand, is damage to the habitat, and every other critter will suffer," he said.

The department is trying to find ways to attract more hunters, who began to decline in numbers in 1994, when about 290,000 Georgians had licenses to hunt deer with guns. By last season, the number had dropped by 50,000.

The total deer harvest - those killed by bow hunters, muzzleloader hunters and out-of-state hunters - averages about 400,000, about half of them does.

No one's quite sure why fewer people are hunting in Georgia, but DNR's assistant director, Noel Holcomb, believes that cultural shifts may be partly responsible.

"To be a hunter, you have to learn it from your father," he said. "What's happening is that our society has moved from a rural setting to an urban setting. You just can't get a kid out on a deer stand. They would rather play Nintendo."

The DNR already has moved over the years to control the deer population as the number of hunters declined.

The season now is longer. And the limit on the number of deer a hunter can kill is higher than ever before.

In the early 1970s, hunters were limited to two bucks and no doe. But restrictions on hunting doe were lifted as the deer population rose from a half-million in 1980, peaking in 1991 at 1.3 million. Last season, which ended in the DNR's Southern zone Sunday and on Jan. 1 in the northern zone, the limit was two bucks and 10 does.

But neither an expanded season nor a larger bag limit might help. The average hunter shoots only one or two deer per year, and only 1 percent of hunters kill the limit.

Opinions varied among 50 hunters who attended a public hearing in Perry on hunting regulations last week. The hunters suggested the DNR board consider encouraging land owners to give them access to their land. Another idea was allowing the use of scopes on muzzleloaders, a type of gun with its own hunting season.

DNR officials say there's never been a better opportunity for hunters. Deer are plentiful, and hunting regulations liberal.

"We really haven't been telling people how good the deer herd is, and a lot of that credit goes to hunters," Mr. McDonald said. "You have to look and say maybe the good old days are right now."

http://augustachronicle.com/stories...432-2.000.shtml

Jim Thompson
01-14-2003, 06:38 AM
Thanks Docc,

Always helps to sign up a few more folks. I have been looking for this article since I was alerted a couple of days ago that CNN was running something similar across the bottom of the screen??? BTW, the link did not find what we are talking about. I'll search a little and repost.

Jim