Category Archives: Recreation

Time To Get Started On Getting Your 2018 Georgia Bass Slam

Catch five different bass species and you have a Georgia Bass Slam! The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) introduced the Georgia Bass Slam last year to recognize anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch different species of bass in a variety of habitats across the state, while also stimulating interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats and 15 anglers managed to grab their own Slam – will you get one in 2018?

Georgia Bass Slam

“Black bass are the most sought after group of species in North America, and for the Georgia Bass Slam we recognize ten different black bass,” says Matt Thomas, Chief of WRD Fisheries Management. “The Slam challenges anglers to explore new habitats and different techniques to go beyond the species they normally target.”

Georgia’s ten (10) recognized native black bass species are largemouth, smallmouth, shoal, Suwannee, spotted (Alabama or Kentucky), redeye, Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, Altamaha and Bartram’s.  Anglers can find out more about these eligible bass species, including images, location maps and more at

How Can You Participate? To qualify for the Georgia Bass Slam, fish must be caught within a calendar year, must be legally caught on waters where you have permission to fish, and anglers must provide some basic information on the catch (length, weight-if available, county and waterbody where caught) accompanied by several photos of each fish.  Anglers will submit information to for verification. Complete rules posted at

 What is Your Reward? Well, besides bragging rights among all the anglers and non-anglers you know, you will receive a certificate worthy of framing, two passes to the Go Fish Education Center and some fantastic and fun stickers (for vehicle windows/bumpers) to advertise your achievement. Anglers will be recognized on the WRD website, at the Go Fish Education Center, and through a variety of social media platforms. In addition, all successful 2018 submissions will go into a drawing for a grand prize!

For more information, visit

2018 Statewide Turkey Hunting Season Opens March 24

Gobble. Cluck. Purr. Music to the ears of all the eager turkey hunters ready for the season to open on Saturday, Mar. 24, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division expects that the 2018 season will be better than 2017.

GADNR WRD Brian Vickery and Daughter Maggie With Her Turkey
GADNR WRD Brian Vickery and Daughter Maggie With Her Turkey

“Reproduction in 2016 was the best we have seen since 2011, so that should mean a good supply of vocal 2-year old gobblers across much of the state in 2018,” says Kevin Lowrey, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator.

With a bag limit of three gobblers per season, hunters have from Mar. 24 through May 15 – one of the longest seasons in the nation – to harvest their bird(s).  With many pursuing wild turkeys on private land, hunters are reminded to obtain landowner permission before hunting.

What should hunters expect this spring? The Blue Ridge, Piedmont and Upper Coastal Plain should have the best success based on 2016 reproduction information. The Lower Coastal Plain had two good years of reproduction in 2015 and 2016, and despite declines in reproduction in 2017, they should have a great 2018 season. The Ridge and Valley is very stable and hunters will not seem much change in this area compared to recent years.

Georgia Game Check: All turkey hunters must report their harvest using Georgia Game Check. Turkeys can be reported on the Outdoors GA app ( which now works whether you have cell service or not, at, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.  More information at

Hunters age 16 years or older (including those accompanying youth or others) will need a hunting license and a big game license unless hunting on their own private land.  Get your license at, at a retail license vendor or by phone at 1-800-366-2661.

Conservation of the Wild Turkey in Georgia

The restoration of the wild turkey is one of Georgia’s great conservation success stories.  Currently, the bird population hovers around 300,000 statewide, but as recently as 1973, the wild turkey population was as low as 17,000. Intensive restoration efforts, such as the restocking of wild birds and establishment of biologically sound hunting seasons facilitated the recovery of wild turkeys in every county. This successful effort resulted from cooperative partnerships between private landowners, hunters, conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Wildlife Resources Division.

The Georgia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has donated more than $3,800,000 since 1985 for projects that benefit wild turkey and other wildlife. The NWTF works in partnership with the Wildlife Resources Division and other land management agencies on habitat enhancement, hunter access, wild turkey research and education. The NWTF has a vital initiative called “Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt,” focused on habitat management, hunter access and hunter recruitment.

“Hunters should know that each time they purchase a license or equipment used to turkey hunt, such as shotguns, ammunition and others, that they are part of this greater conservation effort for wildlife in Georgia,” said Lowrey.  “Through the Wildlife Restoration Program, a portion of the money spent comes back to states and is put back into on-the-ground efforts such as habitat management and species research and management.”

For more hunting information, visit .

Fire Planned at Tallulah Gorge State Park To Help Habitat, Wildlife

State and federal agencies are planning a controlled burn at Tallulah Gorge State Park this spring to benefit unique wildlife at one of Georgia’s most unique places.

This prescribed fire will cover 1,300 acres of the northeast Georgia park and adjacent Chattahoochee National Forest and Georgia Power lands on the gorge’s north side. Areas near heavily used sites such as the park’s campground and interpretive center will not be burned. Organizers will conduct the burn soon, although exactly when will be determined by factors such as wind direction and humidity levels.

This will be the sixth prescribed fire in the last 15 years at the state park, as managers and biologists work to restore and maintain wildlife habitat in and along the two-mile-long canyon near Tallulah Falls.

Controlled burns have long been used to manage habitat and minimize the risk of wildfires. In addition to these objectives, prescribed fires at Tallulah Gorge are helping plants and animals that thrive from regular sweeps of fire. Previous burns have improved habitat for species considered high priorities for conservation in Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan. The plan is a comprehensive strategy to conserve native animal and plant species before they become rarer and costlier to save and protect.

Senior wildlife biologist Nathan Klaus of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said the fires have restored beetle-ravaged stands of pine – including table mountain pine, which needs fire to open its cones to seed – and opened forest canopies so wildflowers and other native groundcover can flourish. “We’re on the cusp of really seeing some very significant changes,” Klaus said.

Plants gaining ground include white-fringeless or monkeyface orchid, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and roundleaf sundews, which eat small insects. Though rare in north Georgia, both species are found along the gorge rim and need the sunny conditions prescribed fires provide.

A rare lily called turkeybeard also stands to benefit. While the species is possibly no longer found at Tallulah Gorge, habitat has been restored to the point that turkeybeard could be reintroduced, Klaus said.

David Vinson, a wildlife biologist with the USDA Forest Service, is excited about the joint burn with state partners. Conducted about every three years in the gorge, prescribed fire creates a diverse landscape and habitat for wildlife varying from bats, raptors and songbirds to white-tailed deer, black bear, ruffed grouse and eastern wild turkeys, Vinson explained.

Park Manager Jennifer Jones also is looking forward to the ecological benefits the fire will provide. Gorge visitors are “typically understanding of the importance of fire,” Jones said. “They know we are working diligently with burn teams to ensure everyone’s safety, even when they see or smell smoke.”

The burn unit is across from safe overlook spots on the gorge’s southern rim, including along U.S. 441. The location provides a prime opportunity for the public to view the burn and learn about the need for prescribed fire.

The Forest Service and Georgia DNR’s Wildlife Resources and State Parks & Historic Sites divisions will conduct the burn. Participants will also include the Georgia Forestry Commission and Georgia Power.