National Hunting and Fishing Day

No matter if you spend a lot of time outdoors or are brand new to such recreational activities, you will most certainly enjoy any of the many FREE celebratory events scheduled for National Hunting and Fishing Day, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“If you are interested in outdoor activities, such as hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, but don’t know how to get started or want to improve, please make plans to attend one of these events,” said Dan Forster, director of the Wildlife Resources Division.  “Knowledgeable staff and volunteers will help you have the best time possible and then will encourage you to take the activity beyond this one day.”

What is National Hunting and Fishing Day? The U.S. Congress and President Richard Nixon established this day in 1973 to recognize generations of hunters and anglers for the time and money they donate to wildlife conservation programs.

Events offered in Georgia include kids’ fishing events and Outdoor Adventure Days.  Activities will differ at each event – but some highlights include archery and air rifle shooting, trout fishing, snake shows, wildlife programs, exhibits and more.  These events are spread out across the whole state – meaning that one is probably near you!

In addition to these events, a FREE fishing day is offered to all Georgia residents on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.  On this day, residents do NOT need a fishing license or a trout license to fish on any public waters in the state including lakes, streams, ponds and public fishing areas (PFA).  In addition, residents do not need to obtain a wildlife management area (WMA) license to fish on a PFA, WMA or on Waters Creek on this day.

For more information on NHF Day in Georgia, including a complete listing of all events in the state, visit .

After 70 years, ‘Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit’ returns to the stage at Piedmont College Theatre

‘Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit’ returns to the stage at Piedmont College Theatre

History is in the making at Piedmont College, where the play “Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit” is returning to the stage 70 years after its Broadway premiere. Based on Smith’s bold debut novel, the play follows an interracial relationship in a small 1920s Georgia town and speaks to the effects of hate and separation on the lives of people and their communities.

Piedmont’s Department of Theatre and Lillian E. Smith Center are working with New York director Thom Fogarty to restore the play to Smith’s original vision for an October run. “The profound themes and intense conflicts addressed in this play and in the novel are still extremely relevant today and focus our attention on the ongoing struggle for justice and social change,” said Craig Amason, director of the Smith Center. “Producing the play on our campus offers a wonderful opportunity to revive this important dramatic work and highlights Piedmont College’s connection with Lillian E. Smith.”

The late Lillian E. Smith of Clayton was one of the first Georgia writers to shine a light on the South’s ingrained system of segregation. From the 1940s through the 1960s, she wrote a series of novels and non-fiction books that attacked the Jim Crow laws of the era. Her 1944 novel, “Strange Fruit,” was a national sensation, and in 1945 she and her sister, Esther Smith, worked with actor and director José Ferrer to adapt the story for the New York stage.

The original Broadway production had a rather tumultuous history, however, which Smith described as a “bitter and terrible fiasco.” She was disenchanted after facing daily demands for rewrites that she felt compromised the integrity of the play. The production was exceedingly lavish, with realistic sets that were clunky and unwieldy. After receiving mixed reviews, it closed on January 19, 1946, after 60 performances. Smith pronounced that “Strange Fruit” was never to be produced again and held true to her word. Her literary agents and estate have never allowed a new production to move forward.

That changed in 2010 after the discovery of Smith’s unaltered play in her sister Esther Smith’s archive, along with letters that revealed Lillian Smith would have been open to a new production far removed from the version produced on Broadway. Thom Fogarty, artistic director of the New York repertory theatre company 360repco, revised and restored the play to as close a representation of the original as possible.

Theatre Department Chair Bill Gabelhausen said that when Fogarty approached the college about mounting the play, President James F. Mellichamp enthusiastically supported the idea. “The recent donation of the Lillian E. Smith Center to Piedmont College provided the perfect partnership to give the play its rebirth,” Gabelhausen said. “It is beyond exciting for our students and faculty to become an important part of this play’s history and revival. It is rare to be given an opportunity such as this,” he said.

Now, after five years of workshops and readings, the play is finally ready. Directed by Fogarty and produced by the Piedmont College Department of Theatre, “Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit” returns to the stage at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 1–3; and 2 p.m., Oct. 4, at the Piedmont Swanson Center, 365 College Drive, Demorest. The play is intended for mature audiences due to adult content. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Piedmont students, faculty, and staff are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 706-778-8500 ext.1355.




Archers will get the first opportunity at bringing home a deer beginning Saturday, Sept. 12, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

Last year, 128,545 archery hunters harvested more than 64,695 deer. Statewide archery season runs through Oct. 9, although hunters may hunt deer with archery equipment through the entire 2015-2016 deer season.

“Early archery season is an excellent time to pattern deer before home ranges shift towards fall food sources,” said Charlie Killmaster, Georgia’s state deer biologist.  “Mature bucks often haven’t adjusted to hunting pressure yet and may be more active during daylight.”

Many public lands offer specialty hunts, including primitive weapons hunts, adult/child hunts and ladies-only hunts. Dates and locations for these hunts are listed in the 2015-2016 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide. Georgia offers 111 state-operated wildlife management areas (WMAs) for the public’s use.

State-managed public hunting lands are funded through a combination of state license fees and matching federal funds from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Restoration Program.  Hunters account for $977 million in retail sales in Georgia each year with a $1.6 billion ripple effect and almost 24,000 jobs.

Hunters are allowed a season bag limit of 10 antlerless deer and two antlered deer (one of the two antlered deer must have a minimum of four points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers).  Special regulations apply to archery-only counties and extended archery season areas.  Counties in the Metro Atlanta area (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Rockdale counties) offer either-sex archery deer hunting Jan. 2-31.  Additionally, deer of either sex may be taken with archery equipment at any time during the deer season on private land.

To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, big game license and a current deer harvest record (which is free). If hunting on a WMA, a WMA license is required.  Licenses can be purchased online at , 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 .