Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources will offer federal duck stamps to state waterfowl hunters this year as part of the basic license packages offered online, by phone and through vendors.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer the Federal Duck Stamp to hunters at the same time they are purchasing their other recreational licenses,” said Rusty Garrison, director of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “Being able to get all the licenses you need from one site is a major convenience factor and I think hunters will appreciate that.”
Before this year, hunters needing a Federal Duck Stamp – required for all waterfowl hunters – could not get that license at the same time as their other licenses.
One of the license options available this year is the “Waterfowl Package” which includes a hunting license, Georgia Waterfowl Conservation License, HIP permit and the Federal Duck Stamp, all on a convenient plastic card. If hunting on a Wildlife Management Area, you will need to add a WMA license. For more details, visit GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com.
WOOD DUCK BOXES: The S.C. Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the S.C. State Chapter of Ducks Unlimited and the S.C. Department of Corrections, will continue the construction and distribution of wood duck boxes this winter.
Applications are available online at: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/woodduck/application.html and will be accepted until Nov. 1.
About 1,000 boxes will be available for distribution. The South Carolina Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will contribute the cost of predator shield fabrication, and the Wateree Correctional Institute in Kershaw County will assemble the predator shields and construct the boxes.
Applicants will be responsible for providing the hardware and 10-foot, 4-by-4-inch posts necessary for properly mounting the box and predator shield.
The wood duck is the most important waterfowl species in South Carolina and is the only duck whose breeding habitat can be managed effectively throughout all geographic regions of the state. The project supplements natural production in tree cavities of forested wetlands by providing artificial nesting sites. Fewer natural cavities are available today because of the impacts of human activity upon bottomland hardwoods.
Private landowners wishing to obtain wood duck boxes can download an application by visiting www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/woodduck/application.html. For more information contact the Statewide Wood Duck Box Project at (843) 844-8957. Up to five boxes per applicant (or property) will be available.
The statewide project for construction and distribution of nest box units to requesting landowners began in 1982. Since 1982, more than 35,000 nest box units have been issued to cooperators around the state.
NEW WMA OPENS: Georgia officials opened the state’s newest wildlife management area recently, which includes almost 7,000 acres north and east of the Alapaha River in Irwin County.
The Alapaha River Wildlife Management Area will provide opportunities for outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, hiking, camping and bird-watching, and will serve as a demonstration site for longleaf pine restoration.
“The Georgia Department of Natural Resources consistently seeks to expand available public lands through ground-breaking or innovative partnerships such as this one,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. “The Alapaha River WMA is one of the most important tracts in our state for the gopher tortoise, a species we are diligently working to protect in order to avoid the need for a potential federal listing.”
The Alapaha River WMA was once managed for longleaf pine turpentine production until the 1960s. The area was home to most of Dr. Dan Speake’s (Auburn) pioneering research on the eastern indigo snake and the gopher tortoise.
Gopher tortoise research conducted at the Alapaha River WMA by the J. Jones Ecological Research Center estimated the population at 1,877 adult tortoises in 2011, one of the highest and densest populations in the state. A viable gopher tortoise population is a minimum of 250 adults.
In 2000, Hugh Lentile acquired the tract and increased longleaf pine recovery efforts in partnership with the Georgia DNR.
The availability of this area to the public is thanks to the cooperation of Mr. Lentile and to partner agency efforts, including the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Knobloch Family Foundation, and the Georgia Forestry Commission.