5 things to know about Georgia's new official state mammal

Several new Georgia laws went into effect on July 1, including a new law pertaining to the state's official mammal. Here are five things you should know about the decision to make the white-tailed deer Georgia's official state mammal.

1. House Bill 70, a bill created to annotate Georgia's code of state symbols, originally requested the gray fox as the official mammal. The Department of Natural Resources requested that the nominated animal be changed to the white-tailed deer.

2. The bill was brought about by a Boy Scout project, when a group of first-graders realized that Georgia was only one of three states without an official state mammal.

3. Deer hunting has a major economic impact in Georgia, topping $890 million. Hunting also raises over $58 million in state and local taxes and supports over 11,500 jobs, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

4. The Georgia House of Representatives passed the bill 163-2. The only two voters who were against the bill stated that they believed the deer were a nuisance. Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McCall, one of the bill's two opponents, asked, "Is it ever going to be where we can't protect our property and crops just because it happens to be the state mammal?"

5. White-tailed deer are "the smallest members of the North American deer family," according to National Geographic, and the Department of Natural Resources claims that there are currently over 1.2 million white-tailed deer in Georgia.

This law was not the only one to come into effect on July 1. Here is a complete run-down on the new laws and how they may affect you.