On Wednesday, Georgia’s Board of Natural Resources voted in favor of a proposal that effectively makes it legal for Georgia deer hunters to hunt over bait on private lands statewide. The new regulation will take effect prior to the 2018-2019 deer season.
The decision comes just months after Georgia legislators failed to push a bill through the House that would have eliminated the North/South Deer Zones and made deer hunting over bait legal statewide. Governor Deal recently took matters into his own hands and issued an Executive Order which directed the DNR to fix the disparity between the two zones. However, the DNR does not have the regulatory authority to legalize hunting over bait in the North Zone or to combine the two zones. Both require an act of legislature. What the DNR could do is move the line separating the two deer zones, and that is exactly what the newly passed proposal does.
The Northern Deer Zone will now consist of all federally owned lands within the boundaries of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Southern Deer Zone is all privately owned land outside of the Chattahoochee National Forest. That means private land hunters across the state will now be able to hunt deer over bait starting this deer season, providing they have permission to do so from the landowner. Some private timber companies could still ask leasees not to bait on their properties.
What do you think about this new deer baiting regulation? Join us over on our Georgia Deer Hunting Facebook group to discuss this or any other deer hunting issue.