The archery season for hunting whitetailed deer opened Saturday statewide in Georgia and runs through Oct. 10. Bow hunters then can continue to hunt during the firearms season, but must abide by that season’s regulations.
Roughly 36 percent of the state’s hunters pursue deer with bows and arrows. Undoubtedly, most of those individuals were in the woods for opening day.
Archery hunting is a more difficult sport because of the short range of the equipment used. Most archers have to be within 30 yards of the deer to be assured of a good shot.
Data compiled by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources shows archers bag only 16 percent of the deer killed each year by hunters. The average number of deer taken by each bow hunter last year in Georgia was just 0.63. The legal limit for the season is 12 per hunter.
The DNR now estimates the number of deer in the state at 1.2 million. The large populations of deer and humans leads to more than 50,000 deer/vehicle collisions in the state annually, based on DNR figures.
Two Georgians died and 731 were injured in deer-caused crashes in 2010 through 2011, according to the most recent data from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties were in the top 10 percent of counties for such wrecks statewide in 2012, according to the DNR. Only archery hunting is permitted in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton.
Deer have no natural predators in these suburban and urban areas, making archery hunting an important herd-control factor. A special archery-only season extends through the entire month of January in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties.
More information and complete archery-hunting regulations for whitetailed deer are available at georgiawildlife.com/hunting.