GEORGIA HUNTERS: Primitive Weapons Deer Hunting Season Opens Saturday, October 14

knoThe week-long primitive weapons deer hunting season opens Saturday, Oct. 14. Last year, almost 42,000 hunters took to the woods with muzzleloaders, bringing in almost 6,000 deer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

“The primitive weapons season is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the woods before the busy firearms season starts,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist with WRD Game Management. “All deer hunters do need to remember that they are required to report their harvest through Georgia Game Check. Deer can be checked on the Outdoors GA app (which now works even without cell service), at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.”

During the primitive weapons season, hunters may use archery equipment, muzzleloading shotguns (20 gauge and larger) and muzzleloading firearms (.44 caliber or larger). Youth under 16 years of age may hunt deer with any legal deer firearm, including during any wildlife management area primitive weapons hunts.

Either Sex Day Map: Hunters can check out the interactive map created to see the opportunities available for the counties they hunt. More info at http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/deer-opportunities.

More than one million acres of public hunting land is available to hunters in Georgia, including more than 100 state-operated wildlife management areas.  Many areas offer special hunts throughout the season, including primitive weapons hunts. Dates and locations for hunts are available in the 2017-2018 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide (http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations).

The season bag limit is 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer (one of the antlered deer must have at least four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers). Special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas.

All deer hunters, including archers, are required to wear a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist during primitive weapons season. Scopes and other optical sighting devices are legal for muzzleloading firearms and archery equipment.

Following are recommendations to ensure a safe experience:

  • Never smoke in the proximity of a muzzleloader.
  • Use an intermediate device, such as a measure, to pour powder into a barrel.
  • Keep flask and powder containers away from flames and sparks to prevent an accidental explosion.
  • Use only powders specific to each muzzleloader and recommended by that firearms manufacturer.
  • Place percussion cap on nipple only when ready to shoot.
  • The gun is safely unloaded only after removing the bullet, powder and percussion cap. If using a flintlock muzzleloader, remove the bullet and powder, and un-prime the flash pan.
  • Use the recommended loading materials, the correct powder charge, the right diameter and weight bullet and the correct lead material.
  • Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.
  • Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.
  • Make sure the projectile is firmly seated on the powder before capping and firing.
  • Never blow down the barrel of a muzzleloader to clear or extinguish sparks.
  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Read the owner’s manual and be familiar with its operation before using a muzzle-loading firearm.
  • Handle every gun as if it was loaded.
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs while handling a firearm.

To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. Licenses can be purchased online at http://georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes,  by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).

For more information on deer hunting seasons, regulations, licenses and WMA maps, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.

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